Despite his very valiant efforts, absolutely fabulous British fop-popper Mika is still not a superstar in America. It's certainly not for lack of trying. His body-image anthem "Big Girl" was played on Ugly Betty; his Grammy-nominated dance track "Love Today" was featured in a virally goofy and spoofy Motorola Red commercial starring Saturday Night Live alum Chris "Mango" Kattan; his song "Grace Kelly" was famously covered by Josiah Leming on American Idol; and he has memorably performed himself on shows like So You Think You Can Dance.
Mika is truly one of the most fascinating and flamboyant artists working in pop music today--as evidenced by his interview below--and it's a wonder he's not as huge in the States as he is in other parts of the world:
Of course, it's probably Mika's eccentricity and uniqueness that makes him a tough sell in America's conservative market (same with all other sorts of glamtastic U.K. acts, from the Klaxons to Antony Hegarty to Patrick Wolf to even Robbie Williams). But this may--and should--all change with the release of Mika's upcoming sophomore album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much.
While Mika's 2007 debut disc, Life In Cartoon Motion, was the Technicolor soundtrack of his boyhood, that album's sequel is--as Mika himself explained at a recent Boy Who Knew Too Much listening party at Hollywood's Sunset Marquis hotel--an ode to adolescence. From "I See You" (a "stalker song" about an unrequited teenage crush) to the sweet calypso ditty "Blue Eyes," from the obsessive/possessive love lament "Touches You" to the cutesy 1950s-Disney-inspired "Toy Boy," the bolder- and older-sounding new CD is the perfect companion piece to Life In Cartoon Motion. It retains all of Mika's trademark quirkiness, while still having broader commercial appeal.
Case in point: the album's first single, "We Are Golden," aka THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO MUSICAL RECORDING SINCE EDISON. It's the ideal pure pop song--like if the Bay City Rollers recorded a disco mashup of Annie Lennox's "Walking On Broken Glass" and Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven Is A Place On Earth"--and it's so frickin' shiny and happy, I may write a fan letter to the Fox Network demanding that the cast of Glee perform it in an upcoming episode. It is an ANTHEM:
True, the song's Jonas Akerlund-directed video, which is basically four minutes of Mika dancing around his teenhood bedroom in his underwear, may alienate some conservative American viewers. But the video perfectly captures the mood of the song--seriously, doesn't "We Are Golden" make YOU want to dance around the house in your skivvies?--so hopefully it will be the huge, Glee-soundtracked, radio-blasted U.S. hit it deserves to be. Mika should not just be golden, but platinum.