Life in Cartoon Motion



by indietrash USER (27 Reviews)
February 10th, 2007 | 16 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Classy. Funny. Happy. Life in Cartoon Motion.

Life in Cartoon Motion is the debut album by Mica "Mika" Penniman. And what a debut album 'tis.

You might have heard the single, "Grace Kelly". A really catchy and upbeat melody, with Mika's impressing voice singing about how he has "... gone identity mad". It's basically about how you need to change your appearance and sound in order to attract major labels, "I could be brown/I could be blue/I could be violet sky/I could be hurtful/I could be purple/I could be anything you like". This song is one of the songs on this album that isn't necessarily especially happy from the starting point... but. It makes you (the listener) happy anyway! That is kind of the keyword here: happy!
'Cause this guy Mika, he's a real flowerkid. His voice can best be described as the one of Freddie Mercury, if he'd inject lots of helium before going into the studio. The phalsettos are absolutely stunning at times. The music can best be described as upbeat, harmonic and pleasant - most of the time. The lyrics are... special. But all in a good way 'course. From the tale of the man who has it all, but suddenly turns out to be gay in "Billy Brown", to the big girls homage in "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful" - an incredibly fun (and happy!) tune, in which Mika shouts to the big girl in the restaurant ordering diet coke "Diet coke"/I'm on my knees screaming/big girl you are beautiful!". A border-line genius moment. Hilarious indeed.

The whole album is. Hilarious, I mean. It's just funny to listen to. You're bound to be smiling by the end of "Lollipop" (and probably earlier than that), where Mika tells you that "Love's gonna get you down". Not very cheerful lyrics, but still... happy, happy, happy! The song actually features the Spoon Orchestra of Chiswick, led by Mika, who adds a lot to the more... errr... "normal" (or - more normal than the rest of the album) alternrock sound of this album.

Because on most of this album there's vocals, keyboard and/or piano, guitar, drums and bass. Traditional alternrock. But all in a very skillfull and unique way. Upbeat pleasant drumming, pleasingly good basslines that rarely plays the same thing as the equally pleasing guitarriffs. The guitarrifs e.g. towards the end of "Grace Kelly" and "Love Today" will definitely have you thinking of Queen, considering Mika's Freddie-like voice and all. Those two songs along with "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" are not only maybe the funniest and happiest moments on the record, they're also some of the best. All three songs are unbelievably catchy as well as amazingly happy and incredibly funny. You'll find yourselves headbanging to the cheezy "Love Today". If not from the very start, then surely when the chorus - "Everybody's gonna love today, gonna love today", kicks in.

And to add a bit of variation to the album - there's some tracks that sounds like they're from some other, totally different artist - if it wasn't for Mika's very recognizable voice. The song "Relax (Take It Easy)" is a IDM meets pop-like, upbeat track with a disco-like bassline and a funky guitarriff in the background on the choruses, plus some very atmospheric and nice programming. Mika sounds more castrated than ever, singing "It's as if I'm scared/It's as if I'm terrified/It's as if I scared/It's as if I'm playing with fire".
Another stand-out track is the next track on the album - "Any Other World". Containing lots of strings, and Mika's voice and his keyboard. I guess it's kind of a ballad, with ultra-sad lyrics like "Say goodbye to the world/you thought you lived in/take a bow/play the part/of a lonely lonely heart/say goodbye to the world/you thought you lived in/to the world you thought you lived in". But how come that such a sad song makes you feel so happy" It's really quite a question. Mika seems to make you feel happy, no matter what he's singing about. A rare talent. Even towards the end, with the beautiful strings, the passionate background choir and Mika singing his heart out - it makes you feel good!
There are two other songs that are different from the rest, and those two tracks are "Happy Ending" - Another ballad-like sad song, and the magic "Over My Shoulder" - consisting of Mika's voice, piano/keyboard, and Alexander Miller's backing vocals. This song is the most intimate song on the whole album. A very good song, that'll definitely affect you in some way. I don't dare say that it'll make you happy - 'cause, guess what - this song is actually very, very, very sad. It's the complete opposite of the rest of the album. This song is so different from the rest of the album in mood and tone, that they really are almost oxymora. An excellent track.

But the album ends in the more familiar flowerkid style with "Ring Ring". Another happy, happy, happy track. Cool sampling, awesome vocals and wonderful acoustic and electric guitar. A perfect ending to this happy, happy, happy album. This is an album that'll definitely suprise you. No matter what you're expecting. But all in a good way.

The tracks

"Grace Kelly"
A great alternrock track with edgy guitarrifs towards the end, and poisonous catchy lyrics. 5/5

A weird track. Starting off almost hip-hop-like. Great lyrics and an overall very happy track. 4.5/5

"My Interpretation"
Kind of a ballad, with acoustic guitar and intimate lyrics. A nice change from the more upbeat opening. 4/5

"Love Today"
Queen, anybody" A wonderful song. Great lyrics. Extremely catchy. Lovely edgy guitar and incredible vocal-performance. 5/5

"Relax, Take it Easy"
This track really makes me feel comfortable. It's laid back, but the funky guitar catches your attention. 5/5

"Any Other World"
Nice little balladish track with great string arrangements and a passionate vocal-performance. 3.5/5

"Billy Brown"
Classy as Rufus Wainwright at his best. A tune that will require a few listens. But once you get it - you'll love it. 4/5

"Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)"
The big girl homage... Very catchy... Very cool... Very good. 5/5

"Stuck in the Middle"
Like "Billy Brown", this is a classy song that'll require a few listen. But a nice song with an awesome vocal-performance, and a great catchy melody" 3.5/5

"Happy Ending"
Little bit of love... Little bit of love... Little bit of love... Little bit of love... Little bit of love... 5/5

"Over my Shoulder"
Sad one, this. Very intimate and personal. Stunning vocal-performance. 5/5

"Ring Ring"
A fine albumcloser to a fine album. Very cool sampling with equally cool vocals and rhythm guitar. 4/5

The album: 4. Excellent. The best album so far this year.

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user ratings (205)
other reviews of this album
Dave de Sylvia EMERITUS (2)
Life In Cartoon Motion falls where most pop albums do- it oozes character but fails to translate it ...

FantasticVoyage (3)
A good pop but lacking originality...

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 10th 2007


Album Rating: 1.5

Nice review, except for your last line. The whole ''best of 2007 so far'' is overused.

February 10th 2007


I've read about this guy, but didn't realise his music was that happy-go-lucky.
Far too nice (lyrics notwithstanding). I'll give this a wide berth. And your review was nice and descriptive. I wish you'd combined the two parts, though

February 11th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Abaddon - you'll have to excuse me. 'cuz this actually _is_ the best album so far this year :P

spiketherevelator - I see your point. I just thought I'd do summat unusual (for me) this time.

February 11th 2007


Great review, but its set off a little strange. Still excellent stuff ive never heard of this, i might check it out.

La Revolucion
February 11th 2007


Oh my lord this album is horrible.

February 20th 2007


Album Rating: 1.0

Sorry , but if you think this album is good you are mistaken. In a few years, when you've grown a pair you'll look back and realise how bad this is.

February 21st 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

actually. I know of a lot of elder people who happen to love this album. and don't gimme those bullcrap prejudices about how all young people are ignorant and blah blah blah. this is an awesome album.

February 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 1.0

I wasn't saying that all young people are ignorant. And, as for the "elder people", i didn't say all adults have good taste in music, cos that's obviously not true.

Also.. how the feck can you call this the best of 2007? This just furthers my point that you like sh*t music, so ur opinion in this review really shouldn't be taken seriouslyThis Message Edited On 02.22.07

February 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

like this. whatch me go.

"this is the best album so far this year".

wow. I pulled it off again. man. I'm awesome.

February 24th 2007


Album Rating: 1.0

Whatever makes you happy..

March 27th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Also.. how the feck can you call this the best of 2007? This just furthers my point that you like sh*t music, so ur opinion in this review really shouldn't be taken seriously

How did that further your point? How can you tell him to grow a pair when your sitting at your computer insulting someone because of their musical tastes? There's nothing wrong with Mika he's a talented artist, I wish someone would take off your 1 rating because you obviously haven't listened to it.

British Kid
May 12th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

this review is a bit too generous, in my opinion. You really hit the nail on the head on certain parts of this review, but in all actuality, this guy is mediocre (now). some catchy songs, but well produced and has a certain appeal.

This album is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and it has inspired my new musical writing. I'm looking forward to what Mika's next album will be like, if there is one.

May 12th 2007


Great review! I like Mika's music, it makes you happy

June 9th 2007


I heard a band play Grace Kelly at a bar last night. It's an awesome song. Love Today, on the other hand, fucking sucks.

August 25th 2007


Damn this dude is annoying.

Digging: Tomb Mold - Planetary Clairvoyance

February 1st 2008


yea very annoying

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