Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On the Dial: Mika

by Mr. Design Girl

I was lucky enough to see Mika perform his unique musical stylings a few months ago at The Orpheum with Design Girl. I knew his first album Life In Cartoon Motion from dozens of car rides with my lady rocking out to timeless pop tunes like "Lollipop", "Grace Kelly", and "Relax, Take It Easy" (which he opened the show with). This new album (it came out last September) is chock full of dancy, up-tempo pop songs that make for an amazing live show.

"We Are Golden" is currently my favorite Mika track by a landslide so I was thrilled to hear it live at the concert. The song has an epic, larger than life feel to it, and the chorus was made to sing-a-long with: "Teenage dreams in a teenage circus/ Running around like a clown on purpose/ Who gives a d*mn about the family you come from/ No giving up when you're young and you want some." By this time in the concert, the energy was palpable and there wasn't a single rear end in a seat.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much is a feel good jaunt through a musical fantasy world that's well worth the listen. Do yourself a favor: rent a convertible, get some over-sized sunglasses, pop this album on, and take a sunny day car cruise, because happiness is here to stay. Other essential tracks off of this EP are: "Blame It On the Girls", "One Foot Boy", and "Dr. John" just to name a few.  Now relax, listen to the whole album and feel good about the world for awhile.

Mika - By Design Girl

Queen is my favorite band of all time.  There's never been a singer quite like Freddie Mercury.  The lyrics, the musical compositions, the flamboyant stage presence.  Everything Queen played had an powerful force behind it.  Need proof, check out Queen's 1985 Live Aid video.  Best live performance EVER!

Gay or not, I'm quite positive Freddie had an illegitimate son and his name is Mika.  There are many times throughout Mika's albums when I have to double check who I'm listening to.  Both men live(d) in a candy-colored world of their own where you can like them or not but their music's here to stay regardless.  Mika even reminds me of Freddie during his performances.  Take a look at the music video for "We are Golden" to see what I mean. If he was alive today, this is the music video Freddie Mercury would have made and the song he would have sung.

Apparently I'm not the only person who sees a little Freddie in Mika.  He's been compared to Mr. Mercury so many times that he included it in his song "Grace Kelly" from his first album Life in Cartoon Motion: "So I tried a little Freddie/I've gone identity mad."  He even does a quick Freddie impression that sends chills up my spine.  Just to set the record straight, the song is about him trying to buck all the molds people were trying to put him in, not about him actually trying to be like Freddie Mercury.

As Mr. Design Girl said, seeing Mika (my favorite current music act) perform live was unbelievably incredible.  First off, he started the concert in a bear astronaut suit.  Afterward, he changed into a white ensemble.  Minutes later, his gyrating caused his pants to split.  No worries, he just changed them on stage.  The crowd, composed mostly of gay guys and 20-something girls, went WILD seeing Mr. Mika on stage in his tighty-whities!

All-in-all, I think Life in Cartoon Motion is Mika at his best; his second release just doesn't have the same magical power behind it.  Many of the songs seemed like leftovers from the first album while others like "Toy Boy" and "Good Girl Gone" seem more like filler than anything else.  Perhaps his third album will be bursting full of fresh ideas.  Still, I enjoyed The Boy Who Knew Too Much.  My favorite song is "Touches You."  The gorgeous harmonies and bouncy melodies make you want to get on your feet and dance.  If you like Prince or Queen you'll love this song.  Next, I love "We are Golden," Mr. Design Girl's's such an empowering song - listening to it makes me want to join together with a bunch of people and paint the world with rainbows!  If you're looking to slow things down a bit, check out the 20's jazz flavored "Pick Up Off the Floor". This song makes me feel like I'm at a speakeasy listening to a songstress on the mic.  I agree, if you're feeling at all depressed or need to know there's good in this world, listening to Mika will definitely make everything better!

*on a design note, the album covers, posters, and shirts on Mika's site are full of amazing colors and whimsical imagery.  This is one time when I'd say it's okay to hang a music poster on your wall, as long as it's done tastefully with a nice mat and frame!

Sounds Like:
  Scissor Sisters
  Lady Gaga
  Lily Allen
  The Ting Tings

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