My Name Is Michael Holbrook

Mika's music is full of colors and emotions, his songs tell the message of love, tolerance and freedom. During concerts every color, every emotion becomes even deeper, the energy and interaction are tangible. Seeing live performances has inevitably shaped my thoughts about his music as much as listening to it at home has done. Having everything in front of me, experiencing the live energy, truly living and breathing the music has a huge impact on me, how I see different songs and what kind of thoughts they provoke in me. 

Of all his five studio albums My Name Is Michael Holbrook is the most intimate one.  Topics behind the songs are serious and extremely personal. I listen to it again and again and again and still think it's the most beautiful, most loving, most emotional music ever made. 

Tiny Love is beautiful and complicated and not just a song but more like a theory of love. The more I listen to Tiny Love the more I feel about it, like it could only grow and expand making the single cover art that way particularly appropriate. When Mika talks about this song he talks about self-worth and valuing ourselves. In our hearts we be giants with our tiny, tiny love. The orchestra performance I heard in Lajatico was wonderful and I absolutely loved the pink piano going high during the Revelation show. However, the official music video and the intense, even dark story in it has had the biggest impact on how I see the song.

Ice Cream is about sex in a direct way. The lyrics are descriptive yet something makes me connect them to bigger, more abstract themes. Sexuality, no matter how it’s experienced, is a big and important part of life. It’s also something no one else from outside can define. I listen to Ice Cream and I think of this artist who as a kid went through hard times at school and was later pressured by the media. Then I think of the same man stepping on his rainbow stage full of confidence and I feel so proud of him. In the beginning of the Revelation show I waited Ice Cream to start the show and I waited the song itself. Sentences like the smell of colored plastic bakin' in the sun, sweet just like frustration, my senses on the run might have been written on a hot, sunny late summer day inspired by that moment but when I listen to the song I feel it symbolises more.

There was a long break between No Place In Heaven and My Name Is Michael Holbrook and I can’t imagine how it felt for Mika to be on television on a weekly basis in front of millions of people, go through serious issues in his personal life and at the same time feel pressure to release new music. How far away that situation was from the situation ten years before when he put all his dreams, ambitions and frustrations into Life In Cartoon Motion. How difficult it must have been to find the similar kind of starting point until deciding to create music from a totally new point that exact moment even though it meant sharing things he hadn’t publicly shared before. When I listen to Dear Jealousy I think of all that and how the song can perfectly describe the dilemma and a solution to it. Whenever I listen to Dear Jealousy I feel grateful for the whole album. Dear Jealousy live version makes me think of super heroes. The things done on stage during Mika shows are out of this world. Flying over the stage, going high on the piano, jumping like with boots with springs and kicking so high it looks impossible. I'm jealous of the man I used to be and the man I could become. 

When I listen to this album and especially some songs on it I feel a taste of pain and I feel sadness and they are not mine, they are someone else’s. Music is an incredible way to transfer feelings. When the album was released Paloma was the song that felt the most private. I wasn’t sure it’s there for me to listen to but I convinced myself that as it’s on the album it’s there for everyone to listen to. Somehow, during the Revelation Tour, Paloma became my favorite live song. The live version starts in a very serious and at the same time delicate and pretty way ending with flying on the piano. Fly, Paloma, one day you're gonna fly. The performance gives the vibe of leaving things behind and gradually letting go of the pain. I don’t know if it’s meant that way but that’s how I feel it in the audience. It leaves me speechless and I always need a moment to collect myself after listening to it.

Hearing Sanremo for the first time was like being in the middle of someone’s dream. I wanna go where the nights are blinding, the sun keeps shining.The atmosphere was soft and dreamy, almost drunk. After learning the background story related to the past summer holidays spent in Italy I corrected my thoughts. It wasn’t someone’s dream, it was someone’s distant memory put in a fictional form. And again, it’s someone else’s personal memory, not mine but I feel privileged to visit it and enjoy it. 

Of all the songs on the album Tomorrow is the most defined by the live version of it. I love this song and while listening to it can picture every gesture done on stage during it. It’s all about the atmosphere. Backseat, light off, window open, stereo on. I blast Tomorrow loudly in the car which is unusual for me and my husband laughs and reminds me that backseat of any, even a stylish vintage car is the most uncomfortable place and I say I know and I don’t care. I love the mood in this song. Live performances for this song are amazing. Even the lights are perfect, the atmosphere is exact. I have little videos filmed during different gigs and I can’t stop watching them.

Ready To Call This Love is a beautiful and vulnerable song. Let's be brave turn the light off. I appreciate it that for once we saw a male collaboration and I do like Jack Savoretti and find his voice very pleasant. At first this song felt distant to me but listening to it as a part of the album has made me see it in a different way. It has found its right place and the same has happened to Cry that right after releasing of the album was a challenging song for me. Cause I can't be your slave to the rhythm, I've got shackles on my feet. I feel this album is meant to be listened as one piece, that way every part of it makes sense to me.

During Platform Ballerinas I let myself imagine a full drag queen party as that fits the lyrics so well. Mika says he wrote Platform Ballerinas about the women in his family cooking Lebanese food together, listening to music, dancing, singing even without knowing the lyrics and I love the cozy thought of his family doing things together. I can almost smell the spicy food, I can almost hear their laugh. I love the live version of this song. Obviously, my favorite live performance is from Brisbane, Australia, where in the middle of the amazing show a drag queen was invited on stage and finally, the scene I had imagined in my head, happened in real life. And her hips, she moves, grooving to the music like a woman do, throws her body in it not for me, not you but for her.

When the album was released I went To Hell Last Night was one of my biggest favorites on it. Hearing several other songs live left that one a little bit in the shadow of them but listening to the whole My Name Is Michael Holbrook again and again has made it one of the most comforting songs on the album for me. There's a little bit of God in everything. I like the spiritual tone. What makes this song so intriguing is talking about going through hell in such a soft way. I love Mika’s voice in this song, so pleasant, so enjoyable, so contrasting with the topic of the song. Even though only a detail in the song “bastards back at school” keeps playing in my head and I think about those people - either other pupils, teachers or both - a lot. Traumatic bullying memories from school times, they never leave the person do they. They never fully go away.

The song on My Name Is Michael Holbrook that has become like medicine to me is Blue. The first notes of it can immediately calm me down. It gives an ideal rhythm to my breathing and makes my muscles totally relaxed. Blue is a mysterious song, the color is referring to gender (blue is a feminine color) but also state of mind. There’s such pure, absolute beauty in Blue that I forget everything else when I listen to it and can sometimes reach a certain meditative state even in the middle of the gig, in the middle of the crowd. Blue is deep and bold, blue is like no other, as sacred as it's old. 

Stay High is becoming the anthem of the time we are living around the world at the moment. No matter how hard it is we need to keep our spirits high. During gigs this song is one of my very favorite moments. It’s almost like I had waited for the end just to feel the adrenaline in it. Don't let me down, not now 'cause I've been high for so long that I don't know how to come down, don't try, I don't even care if you lie, you and me. We gonna stay high. 

Tiny Love Reprise with Mika's mother and sister as guest performers in the very end of the album after Stay High is the most incredible and most touching song I’ve ever heard. It’s a piece of art that describes life in a beautiful and at the same time very realistic way and it includes so much love it’s impossible to even fully comprehend it.This tiny love it might be small but it's the greatest of them all. It took me a while to accept why this enormous love was called tiny but I guess it describes how we take our everyday love for granted until we realise it’s the most important we have. It’s been a while since the album was out and I listen to Tiny Love Reprise and cry and still can’t help but thinking that succeeding to put all those emotions in one song Mika is even more talented than any of us can understand. Way more talented. 

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