I was lucky to be in Milan on Wednesday afternoon and take a part to the special album listening party Mika organized to his fans. I didn’t know what to expect in advance and we found out the exact time and place only night before. The ticket I won to the listening party was for two persons. My husband (who was with me in Luzern & Vigevano) had an early flight home and the person who wanted to come cancelled so I asked a US fan who I met in France and who was staying in Milan to come with me to the party. Thanks Lowell for being such fun company, I hope you enjoyed the listening! Also, was good to see so many Italian and German fans at the same time and have a small meet up!
I don’t think I need to explain you how much I appreciated being there. We didn’t actually know if Mika was going to be there, just hearing new songs felt special enough. The listening party was organized in a little cafe/club that looked more like a small gallery (the place was really unique) and everything was really cozy and intimate and our group was much smaller than I expected. You can imagine how we all felt when we arrived and Mika came into the room and told we would hear the latest version of the album (which is not totally finished yet) from his own laptop, played by him. The listening was a bit late because he had to choose which songs to play to us (we didn’t have time for every song so he had to choose what to leave out). He told us about making of the album and I can honestly say this was the most special Mika moment I’ve ever experienced. When you love an artist a lot this kind of thing is something you never expect to happen for real (but it did happen and I feel really grateful).
We were allowed to have paper and a pen with us so I decided to write a couple of words next to every title. I knew I couldn’t remember much afterwards, I always need to hear songs several times before knowing them well and the situation was really exciting and new. About the album in general. There are some songs I already love more than I love any of his older songs (and that’s a lot because some of his old songs are the ones that made me a huge fan in the first place). There are also songs I don’t love from the first (or second) listening but will learn to love and I’m just happy with that. I like the idea that the album can grow in me and has several levels so it will be a long-time experience and will also be very dear in the end. Some things I wrote during the listening party sound already random and are not making any sense but I still want keep them as a memory and a funny thing to read later (when I know the songs better). I’m actually very curious to see how much my first reaction will change after hearing the songs properly again.
First we heard The Origin Of Love and I realized that Underwater is not the best song on the album. It must be TOOL? I really loved the recorded version, I can read from my notes the recorded song felt softer than the live version (softer?) and that it makes me feel I’m flying. And really, it’s quite amazing any song can make you feel you are flying? I genuinely think that TOOL is everything a good song needs to be, that the way it’s built is just brilliant and that it can be a huge hit. (Edit: The version we heard at the Milan listening party was absolutely amazing and powerful and much better than the version heard in the UK radio day after. He is probably still doing changes. I really hope he will keep the flying feeling in the end, because the song is maybe the best song he has recorded. Am I really saying this? Hahah, I’m absolutely fascinated by it and can’t have enough of it.)
Lola was very different than it is live and it was not a surprise, I was expecting it. But, the whole tone is different, it has a mysterious, dreamlike atmosphere with a stronger, colorful ending (really like it how it grows in the end). Lola will be one of my favorites on the new album and I will probably always prefer the studio version over live versions, to enjoy it without any audience disturbance.
The first really new song was Step With Me and all I could think was that it sounds like a boy band song (with Mika’s voice). I believe my opinion will change a lot when I hear it properly but my English is not good enough to handle the lyrics after only one listening and this is all I can say so far, I’m sorry. This can be one of the songs I learn to love but it wasn’t love at first listening. I’m really curious to see my own reaction when the album is properly out.
The next song was Stardust and I really liked his voice in the song and the line “stardust in your eyes” made me smile every time. I have mentioned his voice twice in my notes so this must be one of the songs that will only grow in me after a few listening. (Edit: I don’t think any song has ever made me smile this quickly, so I have high expectations for this one, really looking forward to hearing it again).
Underwater made me think of I See You. I already know that I will always love the live version more than the album version because there’s some absolutely beautiful vulnerability in the live version that can’t be heard in the album version even it’s well done and even I think it’s one of his best songs ever. So it looks I still have the reason to travel to see his shows live? Congratulations to my husband (hahah, NOT). The UW version we heard in Luzerne was best I’ve heard so far and there’s just no way the recorded version could beat it. Still, the album version is very good and not disappointing in any way and I already know UW is my favorite Mika song ever.
Kids is a song we already heard in Tallinn and it’s one of those songs I was really curious to hear again. I love his voice in the song (but the live version was softer and somehow different). I really look forward to hearing this song with proper written lyrics (again, my English is not good enough to understand everything after only a couple of listening) because I want to know if the lyrics are really as sad as the song makes me feel. (Edit: after a few days and also hearing the song actually three times all together I can’t remember it properly and it’s bothering me. However, I will probably enjoy this song more live, can’t explain it clearly atm.)
Emily was so much fun! Lol! Everyone was smiling, giggling, laughing. I can’t believe he made EMD Emily (but I do love it). Shut up and listen to me, dance with me, Emily!! (Edit: I don’t remember the exact words, it all happened too fast. I still find the whole idea hilarious, it’s like mocking the non French speaking world but in a funny way, I love it that he doesn’t take things too seriously.)
Popular is done together with Priscilla Renea and is my least favorite song so far. Not that it is a bad song (I think it’s a clever song and the way their voices are put together is quite brilliant) but because it didn’t cause me any emotional reaction and I like to have an emotional reaction when listening to music. This is another boy band style song (lol, I admit I wrote to my notes “boy band rap”).
The last song was Heroes and it’s a beautiful, growing/raising song where his voice is absolutely beautiful! Really looking forward to hearing this one again as well as another edition of Make You Happy (high expectations for that one too).
My first impression is that the album consists of very different kind of songs. Some of them will be like treasures to me – the others will be like treasures to someone else (there are many different people behind the songs, there are different sides in Mika). The album sounds more commercial than his previous albums but there’s no doubt it’s made with love and that he’s really proud of it (it was so obvious when he talked about the album). I believe and hope it will do well and bring him new, wider audience. Really curious to hear Overrated (also curious to see if the rumor about BIOTW in French I heard in France is only a rumor or not, haven’t had time to read news properly). Feel v tired now, I might want to edit my post after processing things in my mind.