I feel drunken by the new album after listening to it on repeat for four days. I didn’t want to leave my house during the weekend. I quickly did what I had to do and returned to my magical bubble. Already wrote my first impressions about the album here. I have three kind of thoughts on my mind now.

Firstly, I never expected the album to be this sad. There’s always a dark side in his music but it’s hidden and covered with other elements and I never thought he is this vulnerable or at least that he would this openly show it and I feel both heavy (because of strong emotions) and extremely proud of him. I feel so heavy I’ve actually cried a lot but I’m proud and impressed that he had the courage to do an album like this. I saw him describing the new music joyful but that’s not how it sounds to me. I hear serious songs and I think he is handling some very important issues and that whatever he feels at this moment the path there couldn’t always be easy and joyful.

I’m almost equally impressed by the way he is using his vocal range, giving us a taste of every tone and – for once – letting us properly hear it without covering it too much. I love his voice so much I sometimes listen to him speaking a foreign language for hours but I prefer his singing and now when we finally have new music I can’t get enough of it. It’s filling my brain and heart and soul and every cell in my body like a new drug and I don’t even feel guilty of it. I waited this patiently. I’ve earned this.

Thirdly, I am a bit confused about the way the album was brought out now when it’s all there in front of us. They could have offered people the most fascinating and addictive song Promiseland to wake them up, then continue with powerful Last Party, then satisfy them with best-quality, balanced songs like No Place In Heaven and Good Wife or beautiful ballads like Hurts and Porcelain adding some quirky songs like Oh Girl You Are the Devil or more meaningful themes like in Good Guys. Instead of that they released Talk About You and it just doesn’t make sense to me but I guess they have their reasons and I don’t know much about the music industry any way.

I’ve watched him this year in New York, Tokyo and in Europe and he has this totally new confidence that I haven’t seen before. He looks like he is ready to seduce the world and now I want to see him on stage putting all that confidence on Promiseland. It’s the only song on the album where the tone is telling, not asking and there’s nothing more attractive than knowing what one wants and taking it, not in an arrogant way but because it’s deserved. I just want to see him taking what belongs to him (with this absolutely brilliant album). Trying to follow the album promotion via internet as much as possible. I’m off for holidays later this week and need to wait for my next gig for a few weeks. Be well you all xxx

Mika’s new album No Place in Heaven was out in my country on Friday and I was listening to it the whole day and wanted to write down some first impressions before they fade away – as they so quickly do – and before the songs start to grow and get new tones and directions in my head.

In advance he described the album honest, uncovered and stripped-down compared to TOOL. I totally get his words now. No Place in Heaven is like another side of the coin. It’s uncovered on every level. Where TOOL was about the happy, careless side of love, NPIH is about fears and getting hurt. Even the title songs introduce the opposite sides. Origin gives the impression of not caring about church or judgement, No Place in Heaven is begging to be accepted.

It’s a very sad album. I loved TOOL for its careless tone and several of my favorite songs (especially acoustic versions) come from that album. However, I prefer Mika being more honest and simple, less electronic music is more suitable for my personal taste. The majority of the songs on NPIH are strong and very Mika style and I have no doubts he can make excellent live versions of every song on the album.

For me every new album means getting new songs for live performances and I immediately start to pick out my favorites thinking of possibilities they offer for concerts. This time I wanted to do a very careful first listening to the album (as it is) because it’s important and tells about Mika as an artist. Who he is and what he wants to expose and share at this point of his career.

So I went through the album song by song. I listened to Talk about You and immediately smiled like I always do when I hear his voice. Talk About You is quite meaningless (as a song) and far away from the theme of the album but it gets a nice twist performed live and is one of my favorite gig songs at the moment. He is copying bits of Sara perche ti amo (openly and giving credit for it) and for me it’s nostalgia from my childhood and something that brings me happy memories and makes me in a good mood but I know many Italians see it just trash and I still think he took a big risk with the song.

Went from smiling to a sobbing cry with All She Wants which at the first listening felt the saddest song I’ve ever heard. Maybe it’s just too personal for me. I have three sons and in my priorities nothing goes over mother-son relationships and just a thought that any son – especially Mika – has ever felt they are not good enough or somehow not filling their mothers’ expectations is extremely sad. And again, where cheerful EMD was about mother pushing her son forward All She Wants shows the other, more painful side.

I couldn’t stop crying while listening to All She Wants. I wish I could ask Mika not to perform the song live because I don’t want to cry like that at gigs. I saw a Korean interview where he talked about set lists and what he said about “giving people songs they want” was the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard from his mouth. He decides and has always decided what people want to hear. I’ve always thought it’s his privilege as an artist. It’s his show. I can hear from clapping and little hey-heys that he is already planning to do All She Wants live so I better learn to clap in rhythm.

Last Party is still my biggest personal favorite on the album. I love the passion in it and I love that there’s such a strong story behind it. It’s everything I want from a good song and I might even say Last Party is my biggest favorite of all Mika songs. More dramatic/powerful live versions put the album version in the shade though.

Good Guys is a 30s crisis song. It’s about realizing that people you have always looked up to are just human, realizing that the whole thought of having principles and high values is just an illusion, thinking you had role models but suddenly noticing you might be a role model to someone else. What can I say. There are still good people in this world. What else can you do than just try to do the right thing? He is a good role model for so many young people. Good Guys is not my biggest favorites on the album but Mika seems to enjoy singing it live which makes it really enjoyable at gigs.

I have absolutely no idea what Oh Girl You Are the Devil is about. It’s continuation (after Dr John and One Foot Boy) of the series of Mika songs I simply can’t understand. The melody is very teasing and the whole package extremely interesting! This could be great at gigs! I spent my day wondering who makes the low sounds. Mika really can change his voice like that? I’m very impressed.

No Place in Heaven. Did I really think All She Wants is the saddest song I’ve ever heard? I never thought he has struggled with these issues – sexuality, acceptance, church – this much. He has talked about it in interviews so I was aware of it but I never thought he is or has been this vulnerable and I’m only starting to realize how hurtful it must feel not be accepted as who you are. This is the strongest song on the album in many ways and deserves to be the title song. Love his voice in it, so incredibly soft.

Staring At the Sun is perfectly placed after No Place in Heaven. Love is stronger than any fear and beats prejudicing people. Such a sweet, almost cheesy song. I can already see big fangirl moments around the song. The lyrics tell about being far away from the loved one, staring at the same sun, being connected that way.  It’s not a sad song but there’s a longing tone so it fits the theme.

Hurts is one of the most beautiful and saddest songs on the album. I love the piano! Trying to read my little notes about the song but they are messed by tears and can see only little hearts. I would love to hear this song performed at intimate evening gigs as a little less “boy band” version but not sure we will get it, he never did Kids either.

Good Wife is such a clever song and been my favorite since the New York gig! It simply took over my mind and luckily it’s a bit lighter, not really sad but melancholic in a bitter-sweet way. It’s well-done and together with No Place in Heaven the best quality on the album and I especially love how he is using his voice in it.

Rio is like my from my life. My traveling is mostly escaping, not away the from people I love but just the failure I am as a person. The melody is not really interesting (it reminds me of something but not sure what) but I like the lyrics. I might go to Rio some day.

Ordinary Man is about pondering relationship issues and worthless, ordinary feelings and it fits the theme and has its place on the album but it slightly crosses the line between analyzing and self-pitying so it’s not for my personal taste. I’ve thought that since Montreal. It’s one of the rare Mika songs that make my mind wander. It’s not a bad song, I love his soft velvet voice in it. It’s just not my style of a song, I prefer smashing chandliers.

And then it’s time to listen to Promiseland and this is where I got stuck. I listened to it over and over and over again. There’s a song like Promiseland on the album and they make Talk About You as a single?? Seriously? Who makes these decisions? Promiseland is the strongest candidate for a hit he can find on the album. I would say it’s as close to a big international hit as he can go at the moment. It sounds familiar in many parts (I have a digital album and can’t read the credits so not sure if they are given) but so does TAY and personally I really don’t care, it’s quite his style to mix familiar elements. Would be total craziness to waste this song.

Porcelain is another big, personal favorite on the album. Very Mika style. Can’t wait to hear him doing this with piano, will be such a highlight. Such fragile song. Love love love his voice in this.

L’amour fait ce qu’il veut is the last bonus track and contains the familiar “China Boy” snippet I’ve always loved so much. It’s a beautiful song but to be honest I wish it was done more stylish (live version) way. Can’t say anything about lyrics, of course.

These are just my quick, short impressions. I’m extremely happy about the album. It meets his standards which for me means high-quality Mika style songs and there are several extremely good quality songs to make his devoted fans happy. There are options for successful, international hits (I mentioned Promiseland, didn’t I?) which would be useful at this point of his career. It’s a sad album and Mika being sad makes me sad but he is handling some serious issues in a very honest way which is extremely important and something that simply needed to be done. So proud to be a fan.

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I spent a lovely, two-day mini holiday in Rome with my husband on our way to see Mika at the Caribana Festival and wasn’t supposed to blog about it – it’s obviously off-topic – but saw pictures of Mika with cats from the document filmed in Japan and thought maybe I could share my cat pics as well. I had planned myself a visit to the same cat cafe in Tokyo but couldn’t fit it in my schedule and was delighted when Myriam – one of the local helpful Mika fans – suggested going to a cat bistro in Rome.

The place is called Romeow and it’s quite popular and was therefor fully booked at dinner time both nights so eventually went there for lunch. Such a beautiful, peaceful place! Perfect for couples, a meeting with a friend or quiet reading time. The excellent food was vegeterian/vegan and I found several gluten-free options and got delicious flat-bread with vegetables, green perfectly cooked risotto and a piece of an amazing avocado cake with almond milk latte. Loved the beautiful colors and cozy atmosphere and was happy to see how the cats seemed to have a possibility for privacy with hiding places high on the walls and will definitely visit the place again when next time in Rome. A few more pics below.

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So pleased I decided to go to this smallish (compared to the other Italian dates) gig at Fabrique in Milan last night. The same awesome, positive stage vibe we experienced in Switzerland on Sunday, this time at a proper, intimate venue. Many ways a very extreme experience. Pouring rain, little thunderstorms, burning sun, humid heat, huge lack of sleep, crowded queueing and the most screaming and loudest audience I’ve ever seen or heard. Well done Italian fans for keeping everything organized during the day (not an easy job). Practically no chaos at all even we were worried about it in advance and even most long-time fans had decided to come last minute to avoid the rush.

I arrived Milan late Tuesday night and the first thing saw Saskia and Karin from Team Germany in front of the apartment we had booked. So happy to see them again and had so much fun on Wednesday, thanks girls!! Before and after the concert met also almost all Italian fans I’ve learnt to know during these years and very much enjoyed meeting and catching up with everyone. Hope to see you all soon again!

Mika was in a great stage mood, chatting, dancing, flirting with the audience and looking more confident and sexy (in a provocative way) than ever before. A thousand Italian fans were screaming at his flirty dancing and there was me thinking “Mika, isn’t your mother watching this??”. Lol! However, it’s good to see him that comfortable and free to do whatever he likes and he looks good and has a great sense of humor so it’s always a pleasure and entertaining and funny to watch his stage presence and follow his interaction with the audience.

His singing was not yet as effortless as it normally is (after being ill) but he sounded still good and I enjoyed the show fully like I always do in my own, very patterned way, listening to my biggest favorites extremely carefully (Undewater, Last Party, surprisingly now also Boum Boum Boum), dancing and having fun with the most energetic songs (Relax, WAG, EMD, Love Today) and focusing being a fan/a part of the audience during the most familiar (Billy Brown, Happy Ending, GK, BG) or fan action songs (this time TAY and Good Guys, waving little hearts and stars prepared by some Italian fans). We heard the Italian version of Stardust and AOW as extra songs, loved them both and was especially happy to hear Stardust after not hearing it for a long time. I didn’t take many photos this time, a little random gallery above.

The view

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Had a beautiful day at Caribana Festival near Geneva on Sunday. Everything went well and was perfectly organized as always at Swiss festivals. The festival took a good care of people during the day making sure we had enough water, shadow, sunscreen and toilets available. The security was surprisingly strict during and after the gig though, didn’t allow most cameras in front and actually pushed people in an unpleasantly hard way when couldn’t understand their instructions given in French quickly enough but generally the atmosphere was cheerful and relaxed with lots of families and kids in the audience. So much fun to meet so many people I haven’t seen for a while!

Meeting people

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The line up

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The line up was good and both my husband and I enjoyed watching the acts before Mika, especially young Marcos Cabanas (so sweet and sympathetic) and Jetlakes (very energetic). James Gruntz is surely popular and a great artist but maybe not the best possible choice for this particular audience.

Mika

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Already posted some Mika photos here. He came on stage and looked tired (making me a bit worried about him as we all know he wasn’t well a few days ago) but managed to do an excellent, full-lenght show with an extra French song I hadn’t heard performed live before. I really enjoyed his performance and had my fangirl mode on from the beginning of the show to the very end of it.

I simply loved everything I saw and adored not just every single song but also his dancing, facial expressions and every little gesture he did with the audience (which was much better than average festival audiences btw). Embarrassing and a bit silly but it’s good to know that after all these concerts/shows I’m definitely not immune to his stage charm, lol! My husband was very impressed as well and actually pointed out how some songs he thought he didn’t like that much made totally sense seen/heard live (very pleased with his reaction of course). A few pics and some vids I took with my mobile below.

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