Life has moved in accelerated motion for Mika, a Beirutborn, London-bred songwriter, since releasing his debut album in 2007. Claiming the space between Freddie Mercury, Elton John, David Bowie and ABBA, Mika's infectious songs – pop anthems such as "Grace Kelly," "Love Today," and "Relax" – rocketed the singer to international acclaim within months of his album's release. Critical praise landed squarely on his shoulders across the globe for his keenly-honed choruses and unmistakable three-octave range, unlike any other voice in pop music. Award nominations followed throughout 2007 and 2008, garnering Mika Grammy's, Brit Awards, World Music Awards, and the UK's most prestigious songwriting honor, The Ivor Novello Award. Fashion designers such as Matthew Williamson and Christian Louboutin designed bright, dazzling stage attire for him to match his own color-soaked, exuberant live show. When the dust finally settled – closing a world tour in Paris, France, where he played to an arena packed with 65,000 people – Mika began to set his sights on his next record.
Following the age-old motto "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," Mika returned to Los Angeles, where he made his first record, and loaded his recording studio with visual inspiration, toys, posters, 60's children's books, trinkets and more to create a world entirely of his own where the songs could grow. The resulting album, a firecracker explosion of effervescent, gorgeous piano pop, shows Mika building upon the strengths of his debut (every chorus is instantly memorable) while expanding arrangements and styles to create a record that is even more joyous and unique than his first.
THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH straddles a line between childish naïvete and world-worn sophistication; Mika likens this transformation as the shift from childhood and LIFE IN CARTOON MOTION's innocence to something more akin to adolescence. As such, the songs on THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH are ebulliently bold, embracing the mysteries, melodramas, adrenaline and vitality of one's teenage years to startling affect. The arrangements are bigger and more beautiful than ever before, and the album is underpinned by an open-hearted and accepting idea of what living in the 21st century means in all its contradictory, complicated glory.
Title track "We Are Golden" opens the album with a chorus that could only be described as "absolutely amazing," featuring a massive choir, defiant declarations and a driving beat.. "Blame It On the Girls" marries skittering percussion with floor-stomping piano and a swoon-worthy chorus, while "Rain" – featuring droplets of violin plucks from Owen Pallett and additional programming by Stuart Price – is a bona fide dancefloor anthem, Mika's stunning voice floating effortlessly over pillows of synths. "Toy Boy" features sweeping, 40's Disney orchestration, and "Dr. John" mixes a 60's sunlit, hand-clapped chorus with a plea for clarity from confusion. Indeed, from stirring ballads to candy-coated choruses, THE BOY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH retains a breadth of vision that speaks not only to Mika's extraordinary melodic sensibilities, but also to the incredible stories he tells within his songs. From Mika, we would expect nothing less.