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MIKA: Life In Cartoon Motion

For the last fortnight, my life has been consumed by this album. I can’t get it out of my head, so I’m going to review it in depth, as an attempt at therapy. Perhaps by recording my thoughts, my brain will not be so reluctant to keep a tight grip on them, and I may be released.

*Grace Kelly* – I’m not in love with this song, but it’s quite bearable. The chord sequence is a bit uninspired, and his voice annoys me when he goes for the high notes.

*Lollipop* – Trite lyrics, bland chord sequence and melody. Sounds like a really inappropriate advertising jingle. Hey, remember when Iceland approached Bennett to license “Mum’s Gone To Iceland” for their ad, and Bennett said “Uh, I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, mate.”

*My Interpretation* – Please, kill me now. This is one of the most boring songs that I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s like Robbie Williams but without the charm, and I never thought that I’d say that.

*Love Today* – Chorus lyrics so bland that I can’t believe that he is actually of sound body and mind, and aware of what he is singing. This song does not do a single thing of interest – just coasts along from start to end with minimal effort. And his voice still annoys me when he goes for the high notes. It just sounds hideously unpleasant.

*Relax (Take It Easy)* – This song is good one of the best on the album. It’s not *good*, but in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

*Any Other World* – Biggest pile of shit imaginable. The lyrics are really earnest, in a very annoying way, with words clearly inserted just for the sake of satisfying a rhyming scheme, and then repeated a few times to make it seem more substantial than it is. The lack of imagination that went into the music shows Mika up as the talentless soon-to-be-nobody that he is. This song reminds me of the bad bits of Elton John.

*Billy Brown* – The verse sounds like Penny Lane crossed with a nursery rhyme, so he’s getting zero points for that. I usually like songs that tell a story, but this one doesn’t tell it with any panache at all – any appeal that this song may have is solely in the underlying concept.

*Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)* – I’m not going to make the obvious reference to Fat Bottomed Girls, because it’s already been done a few times already. However, I will note that if you listen to this song carefully, you get the impression that Mika sounds like he is actually being quite sarcastic, and is clearly trying to suggest that big girls are NOT beautiful. He’s clearly taking the piss. Incidentally, this song also dispels any doubts about Mika’s sexuality, because he sings about sex with women with absolutely zero discernible enthusiasm. The music is pretty good though, but again it suffers from having little dynamic – it just starts, continues, then stops.

*Stuck In The Middle* – Good song. The lyrics actually seem to have some weight. I’d recommend this one.

*Happy Ending* – Another boring ballad. No risks, no imagination, no effort, no investment. Just no.

*Over My Shoulder* – Shows a great deal of promise, but his voice just doesn’t seem to have the strength to carry the high notes convincingly.

I can’t remember ever being so agitated about an album in my life. Normally, when I dislike something, I can easily dismiss it, but there’s something about all the hype surrounding Mika that makes me furious every time I see his name. I want to grab people by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. I wonder if I’m living in my own personal hell, where this is all a joke that has been concocted at my expense, and you’re all finding it really funny watching me get so irate.

But then, on the other hand, maybe my fury stems from the fact that it could be the other way round. What if other people are seeing something in Mika that I can’t? And I wish that I could listen to his album a bit more, so that I could see it too, but the truth is that every time I put the CD on in my car it makes me want to drive into oncoming traffic.

I take solace in the fact that this second theory is incorrect, and that I am almost certainly right about Mika, and hence in a few months he’ll be known as “Mika. Mika? Oh, that Mika. I’d forgotten all about him.”

Mika has been compared to the Scissor Sisters, but he isn’t as good as the Scissor Sisters. He has been compared to Freddie Mercury, but he doesn’t possess a fraction of Freddie’s talent or enthusiasm. I’ve compared him to Robbie Williams, which I admit is damning with faint praise. And anyone who compares him to Rufus Wainwright is clearly barking mad. If you are considering listening to this album, I’d strongly suggest that you listen to a bit of Scissor Sisters, a bit of Queen, and a bit of Rufus Wainwright instead – you’ll enjoy it much more.

If Mika, or Mika’s people, are reading this article, I’d like to stress that I have nothing against Mika as a person (I am sure that if we found ourselves on opposite sides of a pub table with a couple of beers, we’d get on famously), and I’m not so blinkered as to rule out the possibility of enjoying his future work (in spite of my prediction, above); but Life In Cartoon Motion is, out of all the albums that I have ever heard in my life, definitely the one that has had the most destructive effect on my sanity.

34 replies on “MIKA: Life In Cartoon Motion”

Sounds like how I feel about seeing people eat at An Angus Steakhouse/Garfunkles in London. You want to rush in and yell “Don’t you know their are decent restaurants in London. I mean they have red velour seats people doesn’t that tell you anything”

Maybe this music should be called “Red velour music” or “Garfunkles Music” or some such.

The terms “red velour” and “Garfunkel” conjure up too many positive images to be suitable here.

There are no single words or phrases that can conjure up how I feel about this album. That’s why I had to write such a thorough blog post.

**UPDATE:** *Robin has come up with the word “poprage” which might be just the ticket.*

Positive images? Have you ever eaten at one?

But I get your point. ” … so bland that I can’t believe that he is actually of sound body and mind, and aware of what he is singing. …” is hard to sum up in less words

Thanks Pete, for pointing out that “CD” is an acronym of “Compact Disk”, something that could easily be misinterpreted in these modern times. 🙂

Also, I don’t believe I have ever heard any song by this “Mika” person. Having read your review, I hope against hope that I never do.

**Adrian:** The positive images of “red velour” and “Garfunkel” that I speak of have nothing to do with restaurants.

**Matt:** As you can see, the acronym on CD is automagically applied by a WordPress plugin. Though I’m thinking that I should modify it to put “Compact Disc” in instead.

No, *ironic* to rhyme with *with intent to entertain*. As opposed to *with intent to minimise the amount of effort required to finish the song*.

Well, although not a mucial maestro like my ami Pedro, I like it!


Disgraceful… hangs head in shame?!

To be honest, Ad, we’ve never had much in common in terms of musical taste, have we?

With the obvious exception of Shiny Tight Stuff, of course.

which is my all time favourie band, if I can just add!!

I’m pretty sure my music was (and probably still is), lets face it, a little, well, gay really! Although in my defence I do have a very eclectic taste!

oh my god. You know what? YOU SUCK. BIG TIME. Mika is the only new artist out there that can be considered REAL GOOD. I mean. It’s not Freddie Mercury. AND? WHAT’S THE POINT? HE is really talented. He has a REALLY REALLY powerful voice. HE IS talented. Don’t you dare tell me that “I don’t feel like dancing” by the scissor sisters is not annoying BTW. Mika knows how to write a song. He knows how to sing it.

Just leave and bring all your Destiny’s child cds with you.

That’s a convincing argument. I think I’ve just changed my mind.

> Mika is the only new artist out there that can be considered REAL GOOD.

In that case, you need to find some new sources of new music. Sticking my neck out a bit here – I’m guessing that you get all your new music from Radio 1.

> He has a REALLY REALLY powerful voice.

Not really. I mean, he makes lots of weird noises with his voice, which could be confused with being powerful, I suppose. And how do you measure powerfulness? I note that you use two REALLYs to quantify this somehow, but I’m a little shaky on the value of each one. For reference, how many REALLYs would Freddie Mercury have?

> Mika knows how to write a song. He knows how to sing it.

Okay, you’re entitled to your opinion, but you present these two sentences as statements of fact, with no evidence to back them up. Unless you mean “Mika knows how to write a song” in the same sense as “Pete knows how to cook an omelette”, in which case I can’t argue.

> Just leave and bring all your Destiny’s child cds with you.

I don’t have any Destiny’s Child CDs. And this is my site, so I hope that you understand how silly it is to ask me to leave.

I would have to disagree with the two singles he has out that I have heard, one being Grace Kelly I am really excited about his album, and wheather he stays in the mainstream I don’t see really mattering, and that doesn’t necesarily define you as an artist. I mean look at Ben Folds he is AWESOME and a geniouse and he is far from mainstream…

But then again I am no musician, nor am I a singer, but I will own his album though, and keep looking for what he has in the future.

Hi, Shane!

My suggestion wasn’t that Mika will go underground, for one reason or another. I was suggesting that if his second album is anything like his first one, then nobody will be able to muster any enthusiasm for it. I predicted that it would happen to *The Darkness* and I’m predicting it again now. Not with 100% certainty, I hasten to add, because his next album could be brilliant, but *Life In Cartoon Motion* fits neatly into a certain pattern.

Ben Folds is brilliant, and a genius. Mika, however, is not.

hi pete is that your name? yeah well if your answering for mika arnt you meant 2 b compleating him and recomending him and all that and your saying ben folds is brillient and mika isnt. heres this for you i dont no who the fuck ben folds is so ha hes not as big as you think. who is he anyway?

Welcome to the site, Clever Clogs.

Your total absence of logic amuses me, especially in the light of your woefully inappropriate moniker.

If you wish to know more about Ben Folds, his page on Wikipedia is a good place to start. He also has a MySpace page if you would like to listen to some of his songs for free. I can’t guarantee that he will be to your tastes, of course.

Ah. I’m afraid I rather like him. “Love Today” sounds like a poorly executed demo version of “Big Girl” and has no place on the album, while “My Interpretation” is a James Blunt B-side at best, but the rest’s good, well-produced, knockabout fun with decent, varied instrumentation and some genuinely touching moments (“Relax”, for instance). But then I was the guy who liked Take That the first time round, before we were supposed to, so I can’t really be trusted…

Clever Clogs, please, PLEASE try and use apostrophes properly as you are bringing me out in a rash.

And ignore Pete, he’s an old curmudgeon: you’d actually really like Ben Folds. Just don’t knock him till you’ve heard him.

Wow, you certainly have your strong opinions.Personally, I don’t think some of Mika’s songs are as bad as you made them out to be;true,they are are pointless,but half the music these days are, and if you can’t appreciate music just for being music and having no meaning…well,you’re going to find a lot of albums/songs as bad as this one.But hey,you’re entitled to your opinion (and I agree with you on ‘Billy Brown’ and ‘My Interpretation’ being rubbish.They really did suck.I’m going to have to listen to ‘Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)’ again to find this hidden sarcasm you mentioned,’cause I definitely didn’t get those vibes, and ‘Happy Ending’,a ‘boring ballad’?? That is the best song on the album.)
Anyway,my point is that ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’ is not the best album in the world;but it’s a hell of a lot better than some noise called ‘music’.

Hi, Georgia!

I’m not usually this vitriolic about albums. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this strongly before. There’s just something about *Life In Cartoon Motion* that makes me want to strangle somebody. It might be just because he’s been so phenomenally over-hyped, but then he’s not unique in that regard either, so that doesn’t explain it.

My criticism of *Happy Ending* wasn’t that it’s unpleasant to listen to – just that it’s such a bland and heavily-trodden format, it fails to draw my interest.

Some people think that Mika’s a genius, because all of his songs have that “Oooh, I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before” quality. I say that he’s a plagiarist, because you **have** heard that somewhere before.

It´s so clear what happens here… You just can´t get it out of your head coz deep inside yourself, you know you like it, and you´ re criticizing Mika just to convince yourself that it´s not that way…

But… If you think you know what music is about, why don´t you write something? So we can all compare your work with mika or someone else


Hi, One who knows the truth! Welcome to the site.

Your logic is interesting, but it’s not the simplest explanation on offer. How about this for a theory: I hate it for all the reasons that I’ve outlined above. Why is that so hard for you to grasp?

Your “why don’t you write something” challenge probably seemed really cool when you were composing it in your head, but I’m afraid that it misses the mark for one very good reason: I’ve been writing music for nearly ten years now, and there are numerous examples of my work on this site and scattered around the web. Please feel free to listen to it, but bear in mind that, by your own logic, you’re not allowed to criticise it until you’ve written music of your own.


Um,hello again!Your reply made me laugh a lot (in a good way).I still can’t get the sarcastic side of Big Girl…but I have to say, after about 3 days of having the album, ‘Life In Cartoon Motion’ has kinda lost my interest.From the old to the new!You write music?:-) I have no idea what this website is,so you’ll have to forgive my lack of knowledge.I’ll look around though, so expect a few comments from me here and there 😀

Welcome back, Georgia.

This site is my weblog, which means that it’s quite non-specific. I put photos on it, music reviews, my own music, and sometimes when I just have a thought in my head that I want to splurge out in a big mess, I publish that.

Well, I gotta say that Mika is fantastic. He makes me feel so happy. His music is great as is he. Takes me back to the sixties. I am nearly 60 and can appreciate good music when I hear it.

Well well, if I may say it is very very good to get your thoughts written down and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having opinions! I love Mika, simply because he makes me happy and he really is special (and I’m not talking only about his appearance but also his personality and talent). You can not, you just can’t, deny someones pereferences but you can always question them. This may be a tiny weblog in the internet world, but opinions anywhere(almost) should be heard, because it’s all good! you can question, not only others, but your own preferences. And this is good in getting to know yourself and other people. Anyhow, as long as you let poeple love/like/adore Mika if they want to, whithout you being a “others prefenrence hater/denyier”, it’s alright! 🙂
and by the way, I had quite a good time, laughing, as I read your text about Mika’s Life in cartoon motion-album. You write with a great sense for humour, but maybe that’s just how you really write unintentionally… ? haha 😀

that’s funny the way you feel about mika, i feel the same about rufus wainwright: overrated

I have no objection to you having your own opinion on Rufus Wainwright, Lvr. As a matter of fact, since writing this article in early 2007, my own opinion of him has diminished slightly. I didn’t find *Release The Stars* anywhere near as compelling as his previous work, and his recent projects aren’t up my street at all. They’re practically in a different district.

Man, are people still talking about Mika? I think you (and now we) are all doing this album a disservice by discussing it at any length. If we’re going to draw any Freddie Mercury comparisons (which I really rather wouldn’t being as Queen are one of my favourite EVER acts), I’d like to submit this quote by Mr Bulsara for consideration:

“My songs are like Bic razors. For fun, for modern consumption. You listen to it, like it, discard it, then on to the next. Disposable pop.”

And I think Mika should be treated in the same way. Except for the liking it bit. That’s not compulsory.


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