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Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Mika's vivid, aptly named debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion, borrows and builds on the glittery, glamorous, and not-so-secretly sentimental musical territory carved out by Elton John and Freddie Mercury, or more recently, Rufus Wainwright and the Scissor Sisters. Fortunately, his name-dropping, shape-shifting pop is usually good, and genuine, enough to come across as eloquent homage rather than blatant thievery or a tired rehash. Mika's singles are his most charming moments, especially the instant sunshine of "Grace Kelly," which crams tap-dancing rhythms, filmic dialogue, Elton's pianos, Freddie's vocal harmonies, and Brian May's guitars into just over three minutes. "Relax (Take It Easy)" is in the same vein of hypnotic, danceable melancholy as the Scissor Sisters' reworking of "Comfortably Numb," albeit less showy, while "Billy Brown"'s brass arrangement, flowing melody, and soft-shoe rhythms give it the feel of an unusually witty show tune about pre-life crises and living in the closet. As Life in Cartoon Motion unfolds, it reveals more of Mika's musical identity, both for better and worse. His classical piano training gives the album an appealing fluidity, especially on "Any Other World," and lilting, Afro-pop-inspired guitars and harmonies pop up here and there, most effectively on "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)." However, while Life in Cartoon Motion has lots of enthusiasm and creativity, it doesn't have a lot of nuance. On songs like "Lollipop" and "Love Today," Mika straddles the line between adorable and annoying. And as the overly long, overwrought "Erase" shows, he also doesn't have quite the masterful touch with gentler songs that his influences possess. As admirable as Life in Cartoon Motion's eclecticism is, it could use more focus -- something that songs like the jaunty breakup song "Stuck in the Middle" and angry rocker "Ring Ring" suggest Mika is developing. While more restraint could've taken the album from good to great, its Technicolor, everything-at-once, borderline overdone feel makes it a fitting portrait of Mika as a young artist. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 4, 2019 | Mika - Republic

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Mika finally takes off his mask: after a long American journey to draw on his roots, he has now rediscovered Michael Holbrook (the real name of the singer behind hits Relax, Take It Easy and Grace Kelly). Admittedly, Mika has stayed true to the extravagant and colourful musical flourishes which characterised him in the 2000s, but the inherent introspection on this fifth album inevitably elicits some intense emotions which are not always pleasant to deal with. Consequently, he does not hesitate to broach his most negative feelings, like jealousy on Dear Jealousy, over a 90s-style production reminiscent of Savage Garden’s biggest moments. On Sanremo, despite the summer lounge-style ambiance, Mika evokes the troubled view of his timid adolescence, regarding his sexuality. As for the song Tiny Love, a track whose style is similar to Freddie Mercury’s, he discusses the feelings of love for both the big and small things in life.My Name is Michael Holbrook is also a vibrant tribute to women: those in is family, first of all on the track Blue; then in a tragically corollary way, the ballad Paloma is dedicated to Mika’s sister, who died in 2010. And finally, Platform Ballerinas encourages women to live however they want: “Dancing like she loves it with her best dress on/Spinning, jumping, messing up her hair, but it doesn’t matter.” Despite everything, the album does carry a fair amount of hope, as seen in I Went to Hell Last Night, a song which confirms that God is always around us, even in our darkest moments. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Pop - Released November 13, 2015 | Casablanca - Mika - Virgin UK

Pop music careers move so quickly that by the time Mika released No Place in Heaven, he was essentially a veteran performer. Between this album and 2012's The Origin of Love, he turned 30 and served as a judge on X Factor Italy and France's The Voice: La Plus Belle Voix, adding to the feel that he was a more adult voice in the pop world. No Place in Heaven confirms this feeling in the best possible way. While most pop music is all about youth and "mature" is often a euphemism for safe and boring, Mika's version of maturity emphasizes what has always been best about his music -- memorable words and melodies served up with a theatrical flair. Where The Origin of Love focused too much on trendy dance-pop, here Mika steps away from the mainstream with songs that explore his roots as a person, a gay man, and an artist in equally heartfelt and clever ways. "Good Guys" even turns one of Oscar Wilde's most famous quotes ("We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars") into a widescreen chorus as Mika pays tribute to other queer heroes including James Dean, Andy Warhol, and Arthur Rimbaud. Meanwhile, Mika's character sketches are even richer now that they're more personal. He confronts his relationships with his parents, asking his father "Do you think that you could learn to love me anyway?" in a way that's pleading but not desperate on "No Place in Heaven," and skewering his mother's wishful thinking on "All She Wants" (the answer: another son). Alongside songs like these and more conventionally confessional songs like "Hurts" and "Ordinary Man" is more escapist fare, proving Mika knows when to lighten the mood. "Talk About You" is so hooky and lyrically developed that it could be a show tune, while "Oh Girl, You're the Devil" is the kind of strutting, falsetto-driven pop Scissor Sisters or even Maroon 5 would love to call their own. A truly mature pop album, No Place in Heaven finds Mika growing into his talent -- which is growing as well. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 31, 2020 | Republic Records

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Pop - Released October 18, 2019 | Mika - Republic

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Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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Pop - Released June 16, 2015 | Casablanca - Mika - Virgin UK

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

Making an album even more vibrant than Life in Cartoon Motion would have been difficult for Mika. On The Boy Who Knew Too Much, he doesn't try to top himself; instead, he reins in just enough of his debut's indulgent tendencies to let his gift for great melodies and hooks be the focus. His multifaceted pop sounds a little calmer and a lot more confident here -- rather than cramming songs with moments intended to impress that end up being overwhelming, "Dr. John"'s finger-popping minor fall and major lift and the calypso-tinged "Blue Eyes" actually are impressive because they're so direct. While Life in Cartoon Motion was remarkably engaging, occasionally it felt like Mika was more skilled at pastiche than presenting his own sound. Here, Mika and producer Greg Wells fashion songs that sound truly distinctive; though touches of inspirations and peers like Elton John, the Bee Gees, and the Scissor Sisters still pop up, the musician Mika borrows from most on The Boy Who Knew Too Much is himself. The album's opening trio of tracks nods to his debut's most vivid moments without copying them: "We Are Golden" is every bit as sunshiny as "Love Today"; "Blame It on the Girls" builds on "Grace Kelly"'s sleek style; and "Rain" is a kissing cousin to "Relax"'s pulsing, melancholy disco-pop. Mika tries a few different sounds on for size, most notably on "Toy Boy," a subversively sweet singsong that lies somewhere between Elvis Presley's "Wooden Heart" and the Dresden Dolls' "Coin Operated Boy," and the torchy finale, "Pick Up Off the Floor." While ballads still aren't his forte, slower tracks like the Imogen Heap collaboration "By the Time" offer welcome breathing room from "One Foot Boy" and the album's other almost ridiculously catchy tracks. Anyone who liked Life in Cartoon Motion's bright, brash approach won't be disappointed by The Boy Who Knew Too Much -- it's clear Mika knows exactly what he's doing. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 4, 2019 | Mika - Republic

Mika finally takes off his mask: after a long American journey to draw on his roots, he has now rediscovered Michael Holbrook (the real name of the singer behind hits Relax, Take It Easy and Grace Kelly). Admittedly, Mika has stayed true to the extravagant and colourful musical flourishes which characterised him in the 2000s, but the inherent introspection on this fifth album inevitably elicits some intense emotions which are not always pleasant to deal with. Consequently, he does not hesitate to broach his most negative feelings, like jealousy on Dear Jealousy, over a 90s-style production reminiscent of Savage Garden’s biggest moments. On San Remo, despite the summer lounge-style ambiance, Mika evokes the troubled view of his timid adolescence, regarding his sexuality. As for the song Tiny Love, a track whose style is similar to Freddie Mercury’s, he discusses the feelings of love for both the big and small things in life.My Name is Michael Holbrook is also a vibrant tribute to women: those in is family, first of all on the track Blue; then in a tragically corollary way, the ballad Paloma is dedicated to Mika’s sister, who died in 2010. And finally, Platform Ballerinas encourages women to live however they want: “Dancing like she loves it with her best dress on/Spinning, jumping, messing up her hair, but it doesn’t matter.” Despite everything, the album does carry a fair amount of hope, as seen in I Went to Hell Last Night, a song which confirms that God is always around us, even in our darkest moments. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 4, 2019 | Mika - Republic

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Pop - Released January 1, 2012 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

Mika has flirted with dance music and electronic sounds since Life in Cartoon Motion, but on The Origin of Love he commits to it in a much bigger way. This time, Mika worked with dance and pop producers such as Benny Benassi, Pharrell Williams, Klas Åhlund, and Empire of the Sun's Nick Littlemore, as well as his The Boy Who Knew Too Much collaborator Greg Wells, and a song from the album's writing sessions, "Gang Bang," even ended up on Madonna's MDNA album. However, bringing the dance elements to the fore doesn't really suit his music overall, and the largely electronic arrangements lack the warmth, charm, and variety of his two previous albums. Often, The Origin of Love ends up reaffirming why most dance hits don't have the kind of clever, intricate lyrics that are Mika's specialty, and at times it feels like the sounds surrounding his words and melodies are competing with them instead of supporting them. Even on his other albums, Mika's style walked a fine line between exuberant and grating, and with less nuance surrounding him, he leans more toward the latter instead of the former. His falsetto, coupled with the relentless keyboards on the Benassi track "Stardust," are a bit overwhelming, and while it's a catchy song with hit potential, it just doesn't show off Mika's skills at their best. "Make You Happy" mixes together several dance-inspired elements -- including a vocodered chorus that sounds like a pleading robot -- that never quite come together (however, the "Miami Edit" of this song has a calmer arrangement that better serves its affectionate and frustrated impulses). The Origin of Love fares better when it sticks closer to Mika's pure pop roots. "Celebrate," the Littlemore-Williams collaboration that served as the album's lead single and hinted at its electro leanings, is still a standout: it fuses the kind of slick beats Williams is known for with Littlemore's euphoric, post-Daft Punk dance-pop, but keeps Mika's sound and persona at the forefront at all times. The album's other highlights show that he's still a keen and witty singer/songwriter, especially when it comes to love's more confusing aspects. He has a darker attitude toward the subject than perhaps he's had before, comparing love to vices like smoking and drinking on the title track and the Buggles-esque new wave of "Love You When I'm Drunk." His character sketches are still sharp, too, with "Lola," "Emily," and "Popular Song" showcasing his knack for pairing detailed lyrics with ingratiating hooks. While it's odd that The Origin of Love doesn't work as well in practice as it might have in theory, it still has enough bright moments to please most fans. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 31, 2020 | Mika - Republic

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Pop - Released October 18, 2019 | Mika - Republic

With each of his albums, Mika lets his listeners a little further into his world. Though he took a few years off from making music between 2015's No Place in Heaven and My Name Is Michael Holbrook, it was all in preparation to give fans some of his most direct and most autobiographical music. In much the same way that the rejection he faced from labels early in his career spurred him to make his smash hit "Grace Kelly," Mika's disillusionment with the music industry sparked My Name Is Michael Holbrook. From its straightforward title to its upfront lyrical confessions, the album is steeped in the kind of honesty that makes intimacy -- whether it's between two people or an artist and his audience -- possible. It's also the kind of honesty that reflects Mika's age. When he released My Name Is Michael Holbrook, he was in his mid-thirties, a time when being true to yourself becomes more important than ever. Fittingly, there are plenty of quintessentially Mika moments here: "Platform Ballerinas" proves he still has as much of a way with catchy pop that dances to its own beat as he did in the "Grace Kelly" days. The suite-like album opener "Tiny Love," which celebrates love's everyday joys with tender piano passages and brass fanfares, is an equally intimate and grand microcosm of his music. The album's self-aware songwriting also reflects Mika's maturity. On "Dear Jealousy," he captures how a relationship with an emotion is just as real -- and sometimes longer-lasting -- than those with other people, and sets it to a slinky groove. Frequently, Mika leans into the more traditional side of his music on My Name Is Michael Holbrook. Earlier in his career, a song like "Cry" might have been hyperkinetic; here, it's a smoothly funky standout. He also manages to find fresh angles on time-tested piano balladry in "Ready to Call This Love"'s mix of hope and hesitancy and in the affectionate details on "Paloma," a song inspired by his sister. Mika tempers all of this maturity with joyous sensuality on the roller disco jam "Ice Cream," the breezy glamour of "Sanremo," and the romantic hedonism of "Tomorrow." While Mika may have balanced these themes and sounds a little more deftly on No Place in Heaven, My Name Is Michael Holbrook is never less than witty and genuine -- and much more enjoyable than if he'd tried to fit into someone else's mold. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Republic Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

Making an album even more vibrant than Life in Cartoon Motion would have been difficult for Mika. On The Boy Who Knew Too Much, he doesn't try to top himself; instead, he reins in just enough of his debut's indulgent tendencies to let his gift for great melodies and hooks be the focus. His multifaceted pop sounds a little calmer and a lot more confident here -- rather than cramming songs with moments intended to impress that end up being overwhelming, "Dr. John"'s finger-popping minor fall and major lift and the calypso-tinged "Blue Eyes" actually are impressive because they're so direct. While Life in Cartoon Motion was remarkably engaging, occasionally it felt like Mika was more skilled at pastiche than presenting his own sound. Here, Mika and producer Greg Wells fashion songs that sound truly distinctive; though touches of inspirations and peers like Elton John, the Bee Gees, and the Scissor Sisters still pop up, the musician Mika borrows from most on The Boy Who Knew Too Much is himself. The album's opening trio of tracks nods to his debut's most vivid moments without copying them: "We Are Golden" is every bit as sunshiny as "Love Today"; "Blame It on the Girls" builds on "Grace Kelly"'s sleek style; and "Rain" is a kissing cousin to "Relax"'s pulsing, melancholy disco-pop. Mika tries a few different sounds on for size, most notably on "Toy Boy," a subversively sweet singsong that lies somewhere between Elvis Presley's "Wooden Heart" and the Dresden Dolls' "Coin Operated Boy," and the torchy finale, "Pick Up Off the Floor." While ballads still aren't his forte, slower tracks like the Imogen Heap collaboration "By the Time" offer welcome breathing room from "One Foot Boy" and the album's other almost ridiculously catchy tracks. Anyone who liked Life in Cartoon Motion's bright, brash approach won't be disappointed by The Boy Who Knew Too Much -- it's clear Mika knows exactly what he's doing. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 19, 2019 | Republic Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

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Pop - Released March 2, 2018 | Mika

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Pop - Released August 28, 2020 | Republic Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Casablanca Records - Island UK

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MIKA in the magazine
  • Mika, uncovered
    Mika, uncovered Is "My Name Is Michael Holbrook" the pop star's most introspective album yet?