The Boy Who Knew Too Much
Casablanca Music/Universal Republic Records
The cover of the album resembles the fantastical outer space wallpaper of a seven-year-old boy’s room. Inside the CD jacket are cartoon replicas of children’s storybooks and childhood fantasies. But upon closer inspection, all of these vibrant images have a slight acid-trip feel to them. I was left confused and had no idea what to expect when I finally listened to the music.
The Boy Who Knew Too Much opens both sunny and happy with a catchy ‘80s British pop feel. The opening track “We are Golden” had me fearful for a minute that the album was meant for teenyboppers to scream and giggle along to with lines like “Teenage dreams in a teenage circus.“
As the album progresses, it takes on a feeling reminiscent of WHAM! without the fast-paced dance beats. Songs like “Blame it on the Girls” and “Rain” use the classic ‘80s formula of starting out with a slow synthesizer beat that suddenly picks up speed and goes up a couple of octaves. The electronic/pop sound is very light and proves that it’s not solely meant for teenage girls after all.
In his second album, Mika provides a range of slow crooning ballads and quick poppy songs by using drums, keyboards and clap beats. In almost every song he makes sure to show off his wide range of vocal talents hitting high-pitched notes unexpectedly at key moments.
The overall effects of the happy, childish ‘80s pop undertones are both appeasing and satisfying. Mika has created a sound that seems very unique to him with the ability to change one’s mood completely. While it has the happy undertones of a childish world, he talks about love, new experience and worries.
In “We are Golden” he sings, “I am now a boy at an open door / Why are you staring? / Do you still think that you know? / I looked for treasure in the things that you threw / I was like a magpie, I lived for glitter / Not you.” Stanzas like this grow the songs up a bit while keeping the cheerful synthesizer musical accompaniment that makes them so entrancing. The album’s original pop numbers and happy glow definitely deserves a chance.
Give these tracks a listen: “Blame it in the Girls,” “Rain,” “Blue Eyes“
For fans of: WHAM!, The Kinks
– Elena Buckley