23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Mika is pure gold. Yes, his music is pop, but it's music to sing, dance and feel good to, which is good enough for me. And I still haven't got tired of the first album, Life in Cartoon Motion after three years.
If you were worried that Mika's first album was too perfect and that the second album was bound to be a let-down, you can stop worrying now. I received the "Deluxe" (double-CD) version this morning, and I've been listening to it on loop ever since. This is a selection of new songs that are easily recognisable as Mika songs, but they're not clones. The trademark falsetto is still there, the songs are instantly likable, and there's a powerful emotional punch in the lyrics that help keep the songs fresh on repeated listening. It's music to pick you up and make you feel good.
The only slight disppointment is that there are just 13 tracks on the first CD - the bonus track is Lover Boy. There is no acoustic version of We Are Golden.
The second CD is a 17-track live recording from a one-off concert at Sadler's Wells, with a mix of songs from Life in Cartoon Motion and The Boy, plus several rarities from singles and EPs. I have no idea if there were ballerinas on stage during that concert, but it would be typical of Mika's showmanship if there were. The arrangements are quite different from those on the album, so this isn't a duplicate of tracks you already have. The Happy Ending duet with Ida Falk Winland brings me out in goosebumps. The pace and the wildness of the interpretations increases towards the end of the set; the energy is irresistable. Lollipop ends the concert, then there are three encores - plus an abandoned version of Any Other World (I would have liked to hear a full version)!
If you are a Mika junkie like me, there's no choice. You just have to buy this. And for the extra couple of quid, the 2 CD version just has to be worth it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2009
I bought this album on the strength of watching "We Are Golden" on Jonathan Ross a while back.
I first bought "Life In Cartoon Motion," which I now wish I'd done as soon as I'd heard "Grace Kelly," particularly given what I now know about the motivation behind that song.
This is a very promising follow up to a very promising first album.
Plenty of people have one good album in them, but Mika shows real potential of a long career in the business.
I'm 100% sure that his many detractors, who aren't actually listening to what's going in the music and prefer to slag off the man and call that "reviewing" the songs, will one day eat their ill considered words..but that's nothing new, the music press has been laden with such "reviews," every since I can remember reading them.
. What does Mika possess musically, putting all other considerations aside?
. He has a very sophisticated understanding of melody and harmony; demonstrating chord progressions and melodic twists and turns which would leave most writers of Pop and a few Classical Artists flummoxed.
. His vocal part writing is as complex as anything Queen, or anything, which other great pop vocal part writers such as the Beach Boys, ever produced.
. He can write successfully in a wide variety of styles from Gospel, through Vaudeville + Jazz to Soul and even the odd great Pop tune. This is the sort of thing which set a number of Great Artists aside from their contemporaries, Queen and The Beatles among them. But they didn't have the same sort of musical weapons in their armoury. The Scissor Sisters, who I really admire, are attempting to write in that tradition, but they are lacking the ammunition also, going by what I've heard, so far.
. He develops his ideas, plays with them and puts them through the mill while taking you on a real musical journey in most of his songs.
. He has a great understanding of light and shade and musical textures, you get a huge variety of different instrumental and vocal combinations in his songs, yet most of the songs seem to work just as well on the piano alone.
. He's a damn good piano player.
The only thing he needs to add to his command of music is to show he's comfortable with various World Music styles and then he's in the same league as Kate Bush. His piano work already puts him alongside Tori Amos.
There are no weak tracks on this album and I've played it non-stop since I downloaded it, the very day it was released.
Its a long time since I've been able to say that, having been listening to and performing music for over 40 years!
However, 3 tracks stand out for me as particularly impressive.
1. "I See You," is a fine example of his ability to run with an idea, the lyrics are wonderfully naive, who hasn't been here, but the way he plays with the basic musical motifs, right up to the end is very impressive.
2. "Touches You," a glorious "Gospel" romp, with so much inventiveness, its staggering and all that after starting with something as simple as banging out a "middle C," on the piano!
3. "Lady Jane, this isn't available on the basic album, but I'm sure can be downloaded as a separate song. This song is a revelation. Sung entirely in falsetto, just voice and piano, he's written more of a "Classical," song here. However, its a tour de force, of vocal writing/performance, recorded, it seems, in real times as there are changes of pace which aren't consistent with click track recordings and that, in itself, is so refreshing.
I'm fascinated to find out, given this massive range of styles, just who is attending his gigs, but I do intend to find out.
All, I can add is, that I think this talented man will eventually produce something which will stand alongside Kate Bush's "Hounds Of Love." in importance and, until that time, I'm just enjoying the journey, of someone who's clearing enjoying getting there!
There's plenty of time to grow and he has all of the talent and ability to get there and should rightly ignore those who just don't "get it,"..
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2009
The other two reviews written for this (so far) are I believe either ridicoulously unfair on this new album or jumping to conclusions. Both haven't heard all the tracks so they don't really have a non biased view on the album.
Mika was being interviewed on a music channel and as part of the program, performed all the songs. Songs such as "Rain" stood out to me (as well as obvious "we are Golden"). But it is a slightly different take to his orignial debut album. The songs on this album all have darker meanings (in the interview I watched, he was quoted as saying "it's like ring a ring of roses"). Also, as with "we are golden" the choir-esk childen are shouting in the songs more this time around.
I'm sure it'll be a good album and there are some songs that you'll listen to and know immediately that they'll be released as singles, but don't except the happy feel good vibe that came from songs such as "Big Girl" and "love Today" and even "We Are Golden". For example, "Rain" is all about a girlfriend who dumped him via a letter, and it expresses his anger towards her for doing this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a fusion of Abba, Freddie Mercury, and Aha, and for the most part it works. There are two or three dud tracks, where the pop swerves into jazz territory, and is less successful. However, the album has a plethora of exquisite poptastic melodies, including Blame It On The Girls, Rain and Dr John. Some of the songs, including I See You and By The Time, remind me of Aha, indeed if Morten Harket covered I See You, I think Aha could be back in the big time. Blue Eyes is another delight. There are jolly piano melodies throughout, not exactly Chas and Dave, but bouncy and happy. The second half of the album is 15 songs from a live 2009 performance at Sadlers Wells, which help to make this CD very good value for money.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2009
This is my issue with Mika: The songs always sound as if too much has been lifted from the most sugar-coated parts of the pop songbook... But so far the end product has been irresistible.
I have the same issue with "We Are Golden". I cannot decide whether the inspiration for the chorus comes from Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" or, even worse, from Jason Donovan's "Too Many Broken Hearts". But I cannot blame Mika because Jon Bon Jovi and Diane Warren have made a two-decade long career out of the same chorus principle.
In the case of Mika, again, the problem-blessing is that the end result is irresistible. And I give up and surrender to his magic. Overblown? check. Hystrionic? yes. Fantastic? You bet.
I hear reviews of the album so far are mixed. The reviews of his debut were horrific. So no worries. Go Mika! Outrage our purist hearts again with a heavy dose of pop perfection. I surrender