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Album review: Mika's 'The Boy Who Knew Too Much'

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On "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," British piano-popper Mika tackles the popular songwriters' gristle of teen angst but filters it through a cracked technicolor symphony of show-tune harmonies, careening falsettos and deliciously manic productions.

He covers an awful lot of ground here -- "Rain" is an electro-driven disco tune as sleek as a house cat, whereas "Blue Eyes" is a cheerfully hokey bit of island folk-pop. "We Are Golden" is a chip-shot successor to his breakout hit "Grace Kelly," making the best use of a creepy British children's choir since Pink Floyd.

Mika lets some sly, vaguely Oedipal humor into "Touches You," but lurking beneath the idiosyncrasy is some surprisingly rewarding writing. Ballads like "I See You" sag a bit by comparison, but then Mika will pull out something as gleefully absurd as the gender-tweaking, Sondheim-worthy "Toy Boy" and win you back all over again.

-- August Brown

Mika
"The Boy Who Knew Too Much"
Universal
Three stars

Albums are rated on a scale of one to four stars.

 
Comments () | Archives (3)

Fantastic, strange, psychadelic, vibrant, youthful... and super-catchy! Mika's newest pop album is a must-buy!

I was much anticipating this album, as I am an eternal Queen fan who's crossed over to love Mika. He's the Freddie Mercury of the 21st century, after all. So after candy-coating my ears with Mika's debut album 'Life in Cartoon Motion' for the last two years, I found myself foaming with anticipation over the release date of The Boy Who Knew Too Much.
My first track play was We Are Golden, and IT DELIVERED everything I had been wanting since Mika's first album. Like eating Pop Rocks after a long day at the office, the refreshingly sweet-funky beat of this song is enticingly catchy and makes even the most miserly listener crack a smile.
The rest of the album was equally catchy, but not as refreshing. Mika evokes thoughts of Freddie (the immortal), David Bowie, Robbie Williams, Scissor Sisters, Elton John, The Killers, James Blunt, The Beatles and perhaps everyone in-between. Catchy, campy pop rock never knew a better home. However, several songs instantly put the thought of a different artist in your mind. The great thing about it is that it's not overdone or cheap & cheesy.
Overall, do I think it could be improved upon? Perhaps. Could I or anyone else do better? Nope.
He's a musician who's still growing and developing his sound, so enjoy it for what it is. Some people totally and completely love it and have already donned themselves in golden shoes and white hotpants. Some are a bit more wary about this 'newcomer', and yet some still find him alarmingly similar in all ways to a certain handlebar-moustached glam rock icon.
Whatever the reason you pick up this album, give it a spin and decide for yourself. You may hate it at first, but you'll be humming it at work tomorrow for sure.

About 23 years ago there was an intentionally annoying novelty song that hit #1 in the UK (like many annoying novelty hits) called "The Chicken Song." Buried in the song's third verse was the gem of a line "And tho you hate this song, you'll be humming it for weeks." Whether they were they Musical Nostradamus' of their day or just came up with a funny line, comedy wonders Spitting Image nailed Mika's career two decades before he was born. King of the cutesy pop tarts, his songs are sweet at first and then just the Nutrisweet of music... artificial and devoid of anything real. Ultimately bad for you. How his career is still going is a mystery, but no more of one than how many times the "Crazy Frog" manages another hit single in the UK and how many people think Sunny Dee is "juice" in America. Some people really love fake junk.


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