Life In Cartoon Motion (2007)

Life In Cartoon Motion changed the way I see music, it gave it a new meaning. Suddenly I heard an artist who was talking directly to the world. I wanted to listen to him and I believed what he said. Mika was convincing and his charisma came through music powerfully like a force of nature. He was intelligent, sensitive and sophisticated and at the same time articulated words and hit his piano in a way that implied he does things exactly as he wants even to the point of being stubborn and I absolutely loved that. I think that’s what I loved most. That someone did exactly what they wanted.

Grace Kelly was written as a rant towards the music business and the system that makes every artist to fit in the standard format. This day everything is different yet nothing has changed. Artists are still seen as numbers, now in streamings or TikTok fame. Making music those demands in mind is as harmful as it was back then and I can’t see Mika doing that. I trust he won’t do that. Not now when Grace Kelly sounds even stronger than it did 14 years ago. Why would he suddenly please the industry when he has never done that before.

Life In Cartoon Motion is a collection of classics. Grace Kelly and Lollipop are songs that can have a fresh look again and again whenever needed. When I listen to the album and young Mika singing about lollipops in his joyful, excited way I can’t help but smiling. The meaning of the song is not only in his words, it’s equally much in his voice and I can understand why the song became a success story. Time has treated it well. Lollipop at Versailles Royal Opera (2020) with a classical orchestra and a choir filled both the stage and my heart with pure energy and joy of music.

My personal favourite on Life In Cartoon Motion is Relax. Lyrics could be a metaphor of any difficult situation in life but the story is actually quite literal as the song was written about the London bombing attacks a couple of years earlier. Mika has the whole universe in his voice and when he sings about universal love and connection between souls the impact is spiritual, almost religious:

There is an answer to the darkest times / it’s clear we don’t understand it / but the last thing on my mind is to leave you / I believe that we’re in this together.

Any Other World in the middle of the album is fundamental style, something to build on and maybe the most timeless song Mika has written. The world goes from one disaster to another and people are small and lonely in the middle of that. What else can we do than just smile and try to mean it, unite with others and live our life day by day. That’s how it has been and will always be and putting it in music, at such young age and in such a classy, mature way, is incredible. Any Other World under stars was a highlight during the Imaginarium tour (2010) and the performance in I Love Beirut (2020) with the documentary of the city was equally stunning and utterly powerful.

Love Today, Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) and Happy Ending, all classics and on the regular setlist. Makes me happy I have been able to see live all the songs on the list above. My Interpretation, Billy Brown and Stuck In The Middle many times even though the songs haven’t been on the regular setlist for a while. Ring Ring, my most played high-energy song, only twice. The mood in the song is exact. Nothing fights against frustration like blasting Ring Ring:

You got a dangerous obsession / now I’m in need of some protection / that was never my intention / used to love me, now you hate me, say I drove you crazy / well if I did, you made me / won’t somebody save me, from you now

Over My Shoulder is something I see as the purest, most genuine Mika. I love this song and I collect different live versions of it for my mind gallery. Listening to the symphonic version of Over My Shoulder can transfer me to a very particular landscape in autumn, almost wintery time and I always want to think the place exists for real.

Over my shoulder / running away / feels like I’m falling / losing my way

Life In Cartoon Motion has straightforward themes, young explosive energy and timeless class. Every song takes directly to the goal. I listen to My Interpretation and Stuck In The Middle and suddenly I feel I’m there. I’m watching people, I can feel the atmosphere. All the songs on Life In Cartoon Motion are familiar from gigs and I have many special rituals for listening to them at home. When I want to see a cross-section of Mika’s mind from the time he was young and I didn’t know him at all I listen to the full album from the beginning to the end.

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