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Released: February 5, 2007

Rating: 3.400 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: dance pop

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Grace Kelly
  2. Lollipop
  3. My Interpretation
  4. Love Today
  5. Relax, Take It Easy
  6. Any Other World
  7. Billy Brown
  8. Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)
  9. Stuck in the Middle
  10. Happy Ending
  11. Over My Shoulder *

* unlisted track

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. 3.0
sales worldwide - estimated 5.77


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart 1 2

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Grace Kelly (2/20/07) #1 UK
  • Love Today (4/14/07) #92 US, #6 UK
  • Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) (7/21/07) #9 UK
  • Happy Ending (10/13/07) #7 UK
  • Relax, Take It Easy (1/08) #18 UK

Life in Cartoon Motion
“Mika’s vivid, aptly named debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion,” HP “debuted at #1 in the UK” WK and “was the fifth best-selling album in the world in 2007.” WK It “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.” HP “Mika will split opinion – but his quasi-soul falsetto is unbelievable, that much is immediately obvious.” JB

“Prior to obtaining his record deal, Mika sent demos to many record companies in Britain, but was never signed. One record label in particular claimed that Mika had a good voice, but insisted he write more conventional songs like Robbie Williams in order to become more commercial. Mika rejected this advice. The song Grace Kelly was inspired by these problems.” WK “Mika stated that the song is a very important song on the album mostly because: ‘’s a flagpole for the record in terms of lyrical content and the whole pop vision I wanted to get across.’” WK “In 2006 Mika signed with Island Records.” WK

As the album’s first single, it “stayed at #1 in the UK for five weeks straight and became a #1 hit in many countries.” WK The song “crams tap-dancing rhythms, filmic dialogue, Elton’s pianos, Freddie’s vocal harmonies, and Brian May’s guitars into just over three minutes.” HP

Relax (Take It Easy) “is a chilled Pet Shop Boys in gold lame;” JB this “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.” HP

“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).” JB This is even a “modern day ‘Fat Bottomed Girls,’” JB which only cements the comparisons to “Freddie Mercury’s theatricality in the voice.” JB

“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,” HP the latter of which “is the missing link between the Bee Gees and Village People,” JB “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.” HP

“There are moments nearing syrupy Feeling-esque normalcy (take My Interpretation), but those aside it’s high camp insatiability all the way.” JB Still, “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.” HP

“Some songs on the album are sexually ambiguous, prompting some questioning regarding Mika’s sexuality. On this, Mika comments that he has no taboos about what he can use to tell a story or what stories he can actually tell. He believes that sexualizing music is great, but politically sexualizing music and making the artist’s sexuality the defining point of someone’s music is ‘boring.’ He says about his own sexuality: ‘...laying myself out on the table to almost a tabloid level and kind of sharing my entire personal life, I’m really not into that.’” WK

“About 130 music critics and broadcasters from the U.K. agreed that Mika was the sound of 2007. It has received highly polarized reviews.” WK “Too cheesy to be a classic, perhaps, but this is just the brand of subversive eccentricity Robbie [Williams] has failed miserably to achieve over his past few albums.” JB

Review Sources:

Last updated September 14, 2009.