First Impressions: Mika In Limbo Between Boyhood and Adulthood

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shrill. Perky. Fun. Annoying. Saccharine. Optimistic. Freddie Mercury enthusiast. Elton John emulator. Lots of words and descriptions, negative and positive have been used to describe British pop artist, Mika and from the sound of things, he really doesn't give a damn, as he continues in the same vein of what was so whimsical about his 2007 debut, Life In Cartoon Motion. Now on album number two, Mika is stuck in that crevasse of finding out how to departure himself from the skip-to-my-lou vibe of debut single, "Grace Kelly" (which still remains lodged in my brain, and I don't mind in the slightest) and the more serious adult musician he's becoming. Slowly he creeps in a little variance, but then dives back into old hat. Not a bad deal, just not that evolving. To those unfamiliar, Mika is the happy-go-lucky guy, the guy that smiles when the sky is gray, the guy you just want to stuff a sock in his mouth for him to hush up because he's so damn chipper. This is why Mika isn't for the pessimistic listener, as he's just gooey, icky and sticky fun. And yes, that's a compliment, because well, someone needs to be the happy camper in the music industry these days and it might as well be the curly haired piano pop sojourner. Mika once again fuels up piano peppered compositions with a theatrical geek flair on The Boy Who Knew Too Much. As he dons the Freddie Mercury canary yellow band leader jacket again, he takes it off every once in awhile to give us an inkling to something much more original. Short hand claps litter the sharp, "Blame It On The Girls" and its a much better single choice than the blistering, "We Are Golden". The spacey "Rain" is sleek as a wet rain slicker and engulfs you in electro bliss. Just a stellar cut. It was interesting to see is Mariah Carey's 1990's right-hand song man, Walter Afanasieff co-writing the blissful, "I See You" and its a highlight due to Mika actually sounding a bit more mature in the delivery and giving him something that could let him cross over into Stateside radio. Singer Imogen Heap adds her feather soft vocal touches to the lullaby of "By The Time", which is a lush track and another highlight. "Blue Eyes" rides on the crest wave of a melodic island rhythm, while Mika goes into his signature falsetto for "Touches You" and sort of gives us "Grace Kelly Pt. 2". Speaking of "Grace Kelly", The Boy sort of has that feel to it throughout, almost as if Mika hasn't quite grown out of making that song as a few tracks sound like variations of it. Not that its bad, it just doesn't show much growth. Yet, songs like "Rain" and "I See You" propel Mika into broader prospects. Mika fans will no doubt enjoy this, new fans may be off set by the sheer whimsy it contains, but as a whole its not a total slump of record. While not much has changed for Mika since he was in cartoon motion, there are still inklings here and there on The Boy, that show he's gaining momentum in the right direction.

Rating: 8.0/10
Release Date: September 22, 2009

Highlights
Rain
I See You
By The Time (ft. Imogen Heap)

2 comments:

  1. Mika reminds me STRONGLY of Leo Sayer. looks and sound.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mika is back! I need to check out this album immediately...Great entry. Got me rotating "Grace Kelly" all over again

    ReplyDelete

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