First Impressions: Mika returns with ‘The Boy Who Knew Too Much’
Mika has a weird place in my musical palette. He doesn’t quite fit in with anything else that I listen to. While that in itself is probably why I’m attracted to Mika, I think there are a few other factors that come together to make me excited to give his new album, “The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” a listen.
There are two big questions right from the get go: How will Mika’s sophomore LP effort compare to the fun and successful “Life in Cartoon Motion?” And how will “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” age and stand up to time?
First, it should be noted that this is my first iTunes LP purchase. Overall, I’m impressed with the format. It definitely beats the old digital PDF booklet that came with full albums before. I’m not sure how often I’ll ever look at it, though, and that worries me. Why waste the hard drive space with these digital liner notes that I may only look at once or twice?
Anyways, onto the music.
I’m listening to “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” now and I like it. Of course, like anything else Mika, it’s pure pop. It took me from a somewhat dismal mood a few hours ago to an ethereal state of happiness. If you’ve listened to Mika before, you know that his lyrics take the songs on way deeper levels than any of his melodies. I haven’t quite gotten to this level with the new album. In fact, now that I put some thought into it, I can’t say that I ever got to that level with his last album either. It’s just too damn snappy and happy!
With my “First Impressions,” I plan to point out songs that jump out to me immediately and then share with you if I think the album will stand the test of time.
Here are a few songs that immediately stick out to me.
I think my current favorite is “Pick Up Off the Floor.” With its foundational piano, peppered strings throughout and the depth that made Mika’s previous album a success, the song tells the story of a girl in love that comes home to find that her “man can’t decide if he made the right choice in life [and with their love], so she comes home one day to find he’s gone away.” Instead of dwindling on this melancholy opening verse, the song turns positive in the refrain, telling the girl (and anyone else that has lost love) to “put your heart back into your pocket, pick your love up off the floor.”
The other song that piqued my interest initially was “I See You.” It has a very 90’s power ballad feel to it, so be ready for synthesizer and echoes. Now that I’m writing about the song, I just glanced at the lyrics. The song is interesting. At first glance the lyrics hint at a stalker-type narrator, probably along the same lines as Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart.” But look a little deeper. It’s about a crush. The narrator has a crush on someone that is just outside of their grasp. That’s about as deep as I’m going at this point with this song.
Finally, I have to point out “Blue Eyes.” Oftentimes when I listen to new music, I immediately think of what would be great for my latest playlist in progress. This song immediately stuck out to me as a good song for a mix. From its catchy solo guitar opening to its equally catchy chorus, the song feels like it would settle perfectly among other songs of similar caliber.
So will this album linger on my musical palette as much as “Life in Cartoon Motion” did? It might take a few more listens to settle than “Cartoon Motion” might have, but I think Mika has definitely produced something worthwhile. In a way, this album seems more like a Part 2 to “Cartoon Motion” than it does its own album. I do find myself resisting the urge to switch over to “Grace Kelly” or “Lollipop.”