The Boy Who Knew Too Much (2009)

Whereas Life In Cartoon Motion is full of straightforward themes, classic pop songs and childlike joy, The Boy Who Knew Too Much reminds a teenage mind and is that way darker, much more complicated and even a bit closed. It has absolutely stunning young vocals and many playful, sophisticated melodies. These songs are not average pop songs and The Boy Who Knew Too Much is not an average pop album. Mika albums never are.

We Are Golden continues where Life In Cartoon Motion left. This ultimate teenage dream and the biggest pop classic on the second album tells us the universal young generation message: We are not who you think we are / we are golden / we are golden. Generation after generation has felt the same feeling and told the same message and I appreciate it that Mika has kept the song on his setlist, it’s always an energetic highlight.

Even though the second album is generally more complicated than the first album it has several clear, strong and very emotional themes. My personal favourite song I See You tells about young, insecure love that includes fear and vulnerability. Love that wants to observe from afar, love that probably doesn’t even want to fully learn to know the other person. I have always enjoyed the film soundtrack vibe and the huge, explosive highlight. The main tone in I See You is delicate of course. There’s something delicate in this kind of young love.

Rain has become known as a break up song but the emotion described in the song can be related to other situations in life as well. Sometimes it just rains and we hate days like that and simply want to forget everything and just be surrounded by music.

This ordinary mind is broken / you did it and you don’t even know / you’re leaving me with words unspoken / you better get back ’cause I’m ready for / more than this whatever it is / baby, I hate days like this

Another exceptionally strong song on the album with its playful melody and dark, metaphorical story is Toy Boy. I find Toy Boy one of the most serious songs Mika has written. The lyrics are like a dark fairytale about toys yet it’s impossible not to pick up the thought of a disapproving environment and feeling of not being accepted and it hurts my heart to think about that. A heartbreaking, very serious topic.

But your momma thought there was something wrong / didn’t want you sleeping with a boy too long / it’s a serious thing in a grown-up world / maybe you’d be better with a Barbie girl

Some of the themes on the album are not clear at all. Songs like Dr John and One Foot Boy can have multiple interpretations. My mind creates stories but I am sure the original story in Mika’s head, the image in my head and the image in your head are all very different. To balance the darkness many melodies on the album are extra joyful and extremely sophisticated. The melodies in Blame It On The Girls, Blue Eyes and for example Good Gone Girl sound particularly playful and together with detailed stories and rhyming lyrics ask for careful listening.

He’s got looks that books take pages to tell / he’s got a face to make you fall on your knees / he’s got money in the bank to thank / and I guess you could think he’s living at ease

The special edition of The Boy Who Knew Too Much includes a DVD with a small documentary where Mika tells about making of the album and I find this kind of documentaries extremely valuable and like to watch them again every now and then when listening to a particular album. Feels always surprising to see Mika’s young, very boyish appearance and then hear his thoughtful words, makes me remember he has been a professional and experienced artist since very young age. On the documentary Mika tells background for the album and its different songs, mentions it was written in London and then recorded in LA and also describes how visual inspiration and mood boards help him to create his sonic world.

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