Monday, August 10th, 2009

Mika – We Are Golden

Don’t make Brian May angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry…


Michaelangelo Matos: This sounds like the song “Common People” was written as a pre-emptive answer to.

John Seroff: I suppose every decade gets the Bowie they deserve and it likely just marks me as old and cranky that I preferred Hedwig when he was bitter, thrashing and lipstick-smeared rather than shiny, happy and wearing glasses without lenses.

Colin Cooper: What do Billy Corgan, Leo Sayer and Crystal Maze-era Richard O’Brien have in common? Why, they’re the three main impressions Mika does on his new single, of course. The chorus melody is almost definitely stolen from a kids’ TV show theme that I just can’t put my finger on – a sensation almost as frustrating as just listening to it. I do quite like the guitars though, which are at once noodling and brash, but nicely understated in the chorus. Conceptually, though, it’s absolute tosh, and as such it’s probably going to be huge.

Chuck Eddy: “Who gives a damn about the family you come from?” — So this song wants somehow to be about class, right? And inspirational for, like, the youth? Good for it, I suppose. Don’t hate the swishy hooks. Do hate the dumb title line. Never knowingly heard Mika before, though I remember some Billboard folks liking him, which means he must be biz’s idea of, uh…something.

Matt Cibula: Knew about the Freddie Mercury connections, vocally and culturally and all the rest of it; didn’t know he wanted to be Marc Bolan and Jonathan Larsen (Rent) too. I don’t know if I buy this forever-a-teenager thing he’s doing, but I approve of this, even the massed choir part.

Edward Okulicz: There aren’t too many artists for whom the second Scissor Sisters album would actually constitute a step upward, but Mika truly is one of a kind, adding to his usually unappealing palette a suite of new atrocities: horrific parlando, silly voices, a mass of choir-ish backing vocals that are just creepy and a succession of terrible lyrics not so much sung as yelped. You can literally sense the fingernails scratching your ears out.

Martin Kavka: When Xenomania produces songs that are all chorus (e.g. “The Show”), they’re seamless, glorious pop orgasms that last a full 220 seconds. This tries to do the same thing but ends up sounding desperately patched together; its fundamental limpness is evidenced by the need to bring Andrae Crouch and his Minions Of Gospel to the rescue. Mika should not have spent time in his underwear prancing through his bedroom (as he does in the video); he should have hung around the kitchen, acting like a lady.

Alfred Soto: Music theater — blech.

Martin Skidmore: This feels more like a parody of a musical – not by being funny, but by being so blatantly dated, hamfisted and poorly sung.

Alex Ostroff: Cloying, inspirational, candy coloured and childlike. Mika overenunciates his way through, towing the line between twee and Top 40, and getting gospel choirs to joyfully sing about teenage sexual awakenings. Even so, only he could make a video in which a queer-coded singer dancing half-naked scans as totally asexual and non-threatening. Who else is still making music that feels this safe? Mika has an ear for melody, so underneath all the quirk there’s a pretty good pop song. I could judge, but he “lives for glitter, not you.”

Iain Mew: It tries and tries but cannot obscure the key truth – Mika is really irritating.

Additional Scores

Anthony Easton: [4]
Kat Stevens: [2]

One Response to “Mika – We Are Golden”

  1. Oh God that video.