lovetoday

I wanted to write about love songs and chose three songs each describing love from different points of view. Relax is in the middle and inside of the emotion. It’s a love song – and for me definitely the most important love song Mika has written – despite of the background story not related to love at all. Origin is not only a love story but also describes how we are a part of the society and sometimes need to defend our right to love and Love Today is about the energy love creates that shifts from a person to another circulating among us.

The Love Today collage above was actually a doodle, hence the messy look. It was supposed to be a sketch and I planned to make another, more symmetric and more careful version later but drawing it was so relaxing I just continued and added colors and glitter and sequins until the messy result. It’s disturbing to see something so not perfect but it kind of describes how we see ourselves before we finally find someone who loves us exactly as we are. What a tragedy of human life to grow up only to learn we are totally incomplete and full of flaws until someone else sees us differently.

I listened to several versions of Relax before writing this post and noticed how my mood changed from serious to melancholic but still calm and finally smiling when I listened to first the acoustic, then symphony and finally the album version of of the song. Relax reminds me that whatever happens I’m never alone because I have someone who loves me and that is the calmest feeling in the world. The original recorded version makes me also smile because I can remember how hearing the first notes of the song many years ago made me fall in love with this artist and his music and I can still remember it when I go back to that moment and think it’s good to cherish those moments in life in general.

I’ve thought a lot about love lately because my husband and I had our big wedding anniversary last week. Magazines and their relationship articles tell us how there are ups and downs and what a hard work it is but I don’t know what they are talking about. It’s been only ups and not work at all and every day is little bit better than the day before. It never ceases to amaze me how that one day I could immediately knew that someone is right for me and how that certain and sure feeling never goes away.

I believe that with the right person love is a permanent state and also that all the talk about timing, place or circumstances being wrong or growing apart is just nonsense, that with the right person everything is possible and that in a good relationship people can grow as much as they need to. I know that not everyone agrees with me about this. People can’t always listen to their inner voice, maybe because the world is so loud, or they don’t even believe there is one but mine is screaming, would be impossible to ignore it.

The next song I was listening to was Origin and I’m surprised I’m not as close with this song as I am with Underwater which my favorite song on TOOL because it’s actually directly confessing love which I do like a lot. I guess it’s more about facts and less about passion and also more about making things to make sense putting love above everything and less about absurd. However, I love how genuine it sounds and how good it is as a song and have always enjoyed the live version and the airy, flying atmosphere in it.

I made the collage for Love Today sort of abstract and red and blue for several reasons. I got the idea from the psychedelic Imaginarium Tour background animations, I loved the red and blue patterns and can still remember them. The theme in the song is abstract, it’s all about energy, and I like the thought of having a possibility to describe it in many different ways. There are no limits for love, it can be anything and it can take different forms, circulate everywhere and fill our lives if we let that happen.

Love is a fascinating thing, I could endlessly think about it. No wonder there are so many love songs in the world. I have a few more collage ideas but they are not love related and I need some time to finish them so will add them into another post. I’m writing this one on my way to Milan to see Casa Mika recordings tonight and will hopefully write a report about that later as well. Take it easy xxx

goodguys

Some songs feel important the moment I hear them for the first time, some other songs ask me to be more patient. Songs working on two levels are easy, I can relate them immediately but also find deeper meanings during time. If I can’t relate the theme personally it takes time to truly discover the song. I have the feeling there’s something to catch but that something is like slipping away and I have to remind myself to be patient. Finally discovering that important vibe is always rewarding.

Good Guys is one of those songs. I couldn’t relate to the lyrics, I’ve never had that kind of examples in my own life and I knew I have to see the song from Mika’s point of view and it took me time even of course I could understand how important all those brave, bold, genuine artistic examples (which he calls “good guys”) must have been for him when he was a creative young person planning to be an artist. First it sounded he didn’t believe in those examples anymore, that he had become too old to believe in any heroes.

Then I thought that maybe the good guys still existed but the focus point had changed when he grew up and became an example to younger people himself. What made the song alive for me was hearing people talking about the meaning of this song and the importance of his example to their personal lives and I started to see the meaning of the song in reality. I wanted the live version to be soft and dreamy – to transfer me to the atmosphere of the past years – and it did happen even I can’t be sure if there was that kind of evolving in the live version for real or if it happened in my own imagination only.

Another challenging song was definitely Ordinary Man. In the beginning it was performed old-fashioned, musical style and instead of the vulnerability that was meant to be there I saw only some very theatrical self-pity and couldn’t understand why he had made a song like that. I couldn’t get it. I knew there must be another purpose for the song but I really couldn’t catch it.

I remember the exact moment in the end of the show in Cattolica where Mika, after giving almost his everything during the show, breathed a moment, put on a too small hand-decorated t-shirt given from the audience, sat down in front of his piano and did an amazing simple version of Ordinary Man, sounding wonderful, looking sweaty and exhausted, and I finally got the song and realized THIS is how it was meant to be, this is the vulnerability meant to be in the song. What an ending to that concert it was, just brilliant, will never forget that. Some songs are so personal they are best performed (figuratively speaking) naked, being a little bit uncomfortable, having no possibility to hide.

Some songs, on the other hand, work best in special circumstances or settings. Heroes is one of these songs. The theme is so big the song was difficult to even understand before it was done in a huge way with a giant symphony orchestra. I knew to expect it would be a good way to perform it but it turned out to be more impressive than I ever imagined, the song felt like a force of nature. That time it worked in a big way, most times I dream of hearing songs in a small way and assume Beautiful Disaster could be amazingly beautiful done in a simple, acoustic way instead of the dance style we usually hear.

Sometimes I ignore songs myself because I can’t handle them. I never listen to All That She Wants. The theme is simply too sad for me. For some reason even the cheerful melody gives a little bit fake cheerful feeling if that makes any sense. The collage above is for Good Guys, hopefully that was clear without saying. Don’t come after me if the quotes are not totally correct, I just liked the idea and picked my favorites. Maybe Mika will soon finish his journals he is writing and we can travel with that and always have something sensational to read. Take care xxx

lola_2

I was writing a rambling post describing songs and needed something to illustrate it so I decided to do collages using photos, magazine articles and everything else that seemed to fit. I had clear ideas for these collages, I really did, but my artistic skills are very pre-school level so I’m not sure if it’s always possible to see the thought behind. I still added the pics. The collages and this text complete each other so if time please check them both.

For some reason I started with Lola. It’s not one of the most important Mika songs for me but I do like it a lot and saw a couple of fashion pics in my favorite color that reminded me of Lola and started with them. Autumn is my favorite season and watching this collage makes me want to travel somewhere bright and beautiful, maybe New York, to go to a small club and listen to Mika playing piano and singing songs like Lola. It doesn’t seem to happen this year but I would really enjoy it. It would be perfect for October.

npih_2

I used a lot of time and thought to put together the collage for No Place In Heaven and it’s my own favorite of these all. The left side of the collage is dedicated to the year 2009 and the right side to 2015. I can remember Mika gave some vague interviews about his sexuality in 2009. Most fans thought and assumed he is gay since the beginning – his songs refer to it and he has never hide it any way – but he felt very uncomfortable talking about it and respecting that his fans didn’t talk about it either.

I might be old-fashioned with privacy issues but making this collage made me almost feel like stepping into the area that doesn’t belong to me at all even it’s just a few magazine clips and quotes of the song gathered together. I wouldn’t be disrespectful on purpose, everything in this blog is said and done with love. I like this collage even it looks like an artwork by a pre-schooler because at the same time it shows both evolving and continuity. So much has changed during these years. On the other hand, I took the pic of the colorful house in Berlin 2009 and could use it in my collage 2016 for a song released one year earlier.

No Place In Heaven is one of my three dearest Mika songs. It has a genuinely personal feel and all the elements of a good song (melody, lyrics, theme). It also has a lot of soft, pretty singing I personaly love and enjoy. This was a challenging song for Mika to sing live at first and it looked to me he was fighting against the song before finally going to the natural direction of it. This a strong song and works better going inside of it instead of building something around it. I loved the versions we heard in France in July, absolutely beautiful.

Last Party is my another big – maybe even the biggest – favorite of all the songs Mika has done. It’s a good song on many levels but for me the melody and his voice are what makes it so important. It’s my favorite kind of singing and sounds like gently explaining something very serious. Serious things are better told in a gentle way, I could spend all my days listening to singing exactly like this.

The lyrics in Last Party work on two levels. I want to be able to relate to songs immediately, the message needs to be clear and easily transferred to real life which is the case here. There will be the day for bad news, for all of us, before that it’s all party. There’s a specific story on the background (important) and the song is dedicated to Freddie Mercury. Every good song has something to go deeper.

I could feel Last Party the moment I heard it for the first time and it touches me so much I practically burst in tears as soon I hear the piano in the beginning. Life can be so sweet. And then it can be heart-breaking. I don’t have words for it. I didn’t have an image to put on paper either. I love Last Party the same way I love Relax but somehow I always hope it would be kept as it is, my mind adapts to different versions of Relax much more easily.

drunk_4

I’ve always seen I Only Love You When I’m Drunk as a situation where someone realizes – maybe a bit pressured – that the love to another person works only in certain, ideal circumstances or in their own terms and want to be clear with that before the commitment is done. The melody makes the song funny and light and the album version with “wedding bells” creating panic in the beginning is cheerful but the final tone is serious, almost heavy. Like we are talking about a fact and not only a silly fear of commitment in the air. The wine circles on the paper are meant to be sad.

For the collage I used a B & W photo taken at Scala club because I connected it to alcohol. I thought the three wine circles could have a double meaning referring to either an extra person or just an extra glass and too much drinking. I asked my husband to buy some Barolo wine and told I need it for my collage and he promised to bring a bottle on his way home. I loved it that he didn’t question if the wine really needs to be that one, it’s one of the reasons I married him. I don’t need to explain everything all the time. I enjoyed having that detail right and it made me think how much I enjoy Mika shows because of the amount of effort he is ready to make to have things right.

wag_3

I made a collage for We Are Golden only to be able to use the glitter pic I took in Japan. I’ve learnt to enjoy this song live a lot even I don’t feel close with the theme. I can’t remember my teenage years well, that wasn’t an important phase in my life at all. I like it how Mika is throwing the glitter in the photo and I used tiny golden stars for my collage and have now those stars all over my house. Even my dog is covered with golden stars. I made the collage for Rain after We Are Golden. I wanted to fill the Rain collage with letters to make it look like the vibe in the song so full of “this thing is coming to the end” feelings.

rain_2

I might make a collage for Boum Boum Boum later. I adore the live version of this song. It has a light and happy sexy vibe which is rare to find in music, films or basically anywhere in today’s world where everything sex related is industrial and aimed to be consumed in an addicted way. This song offers a lovely live moment, it’s gentle, a little bit uncontrolled and makes me smile every time.

I can’t understand the lyrics and in this case I don’t mind, it’s almost an advantage. I focus only on the singing and melody and not a single word can disturb it. I’m picky with words. I’ve disliked some everyday Finnish words since I was a child. I never use them and wish no one else used them as well. My childhood family teased me with those words but my husband is so thoughtful he avoids them. I’m almost embarrassed to tell that I’m so spoilt and lucky I have someone who avoids the words I don’t like.

I really enjoy the BBB atmosphere created by the voice and melody, it’s different than in any other Mika song and makes the song feel a special treat every time we hear it. Even when it’s performed several nights in row I always think that we – as an audience – got something extra. It offers material for interaction between Mika and the audience and the joking is funny but I prefer the chatting kept short instead of a long monologue. The piano in the beginning is incredibly pretty, always one of the highlights.

uw_3

See the merman in my Underwater collage above? This is an emotional song but I didn’t feel like going deep and serious and wanted to do something light instead so I created a merman and added a few ocean facts around it. Have you seen a water character this gorgeous lately? I don’t think so. I was very pleased how it turned out. I have a few more collages left so I might do another collage post later. xxx

The repacked edition for No Place In Heaven with the OSM concert recording was officially out on the 13th November. Many fans had already received their copy so I was eagerly waiting for the night shift courier to deliver my parcel on Friday night and so happy to finally hold the pretty package in my hands! The cover art is absolutely beautiful. I love the blue/green color scheme and especially one of the official Montreal photos used inside, one of my favorite ever Mika photos.

There are two different country specific two disc editions available: the French edition with several new French and two additional English songs and the Italian edition with collaborations with Fedez and Battiato and the English songs. I decided to order them both and buy separately the two extra symphony songs (Heroes, Ordinary Man) available only on the one disc Canadian symphony edition.

I received my copy and immediately listened to my favorite symphony songs. I cried and laughed (at myself for being that emotional) and was totally amazed by the powerful symphony atmosphere. I didn’t expect to be that impressed after being lucky enough to experience all the three concerts live in February. I hadn’t finished listening to the album when the first shocking news from Paris reached Twitter. I couldn’t realize what was happening. Reading news felt like following a nightmare.

I felt especially shocked for France even similar cruelty happens around the world. Not because any life could ever be more valuable than some other life somewhere else – destroying life in general is too difficult for human mind to understand – but because violating an iconic place like Paris meant somehow violating everything that represents love and beauty and that way raised my fears on incomprehensible levels. I was worried about people I know in France. I knew my  friends were not in direct danger but not safely at home either so I waited for their updates before turning off the news. It came to mind Mika could already be in Paris for the Voice and his distressed tweets confirmed that. We could all see the anxiety in his words.

The Saturday morning felt an appropriate moment for listening to some specific symphony songs. Relax was originally written in the same kind of tragic atmosphere. In Any Other World we say good bye to the world we thought we lived in. Feels Like Love (an additional track on disc 1) felt selfishly soothing and comforting. It’s a sweet and tender song and I’m grateful I could discover it so unexpectedly with the repacked edition. In the middle of the original album I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now.

Took me two more days to listen to the whole symphony recording. Now trying to find the right words to describe my feelings about it. I’m used to listen to music as a two dimensional experience. I enjoy pleasurable sounds and see songs and their stories as images in my head. This is why Mika is my favorite artist. I love his voice and can relate to his songs so well. Joy, happiness and other emotions come as a natural side effect with good music.

Symphony versions make his songs 5 dimensional. I’m not only listening, suddenly I’m in the middle of the stories. I’m in the middle of every single situation. I can hear and watch. I can feel the cold and wet. I can smell the autumn ground during Over My shoulder. I can taste the the salty water while struggling for real to keep my head above the wave in Underwater. I can feel a real physical force in the beginning of the Boum Boum Boum. During Rain I’m holding my umbrella with my both hands and oh how I hate days like this!

And this is not my usual musical experience. It’s extraordinary to feel music in this scale with the whole body and every sense. There’s a classical sound in his singing especially in certain songs and that alone is ecstatic! While listening to Heroes my whole body can feel it. My heart is beating, I can hardly breath! My every muscle is tired after hearing it just one time. After hearing it twice I collapse on the table feeling exhausted!

At the moment my favorite symphony songs are (in the album order) Underwater, Boum Boum Boum, Relax, Last Party, Happy Ending, Over My Shoulder, Good Guys, Any Other World and Heroes (last one from the Canadian edition). If I had to pick just one song it would be Relax. It’s always Relax. Took me a long time to get inside Good Guys even I now list it among my favorites. I could figure out what he was after with the song but I couldn’t catch the vibe. I wanted to see the illusions fading away like the lyrics tell but it didn’t happen until the late part of the Heaven tour. Finally the song opened up and I felt lucky to hear the symphony version again after that in Como.

I can remember the first concert from Montreal as a flawless and totally focused performance, but there were variations and emotions already in Montreal and the Como performance was extremely warm and intimate. I love hearing Ida and Max in the recording, definitely missed that in Como. This collaboration has been the most beautiful experience for a fan to follow. The direction is too good to turn away, hope there’s more to come in the future and the sooner the better. Go and listen to the Montreal recording if you haven’t heard it yet. I can warmly recommend it. xxx

I spent my Saturday listening to No Place In Heaven trying to choose my favorites. Nothing helps my mood and takes me out of my own, sometimes too little circles like listening to Mika’s music and I love it how serious the new album is and how it helps me to focus on important.

I already have my own routine with the album. I always listen to Last Party separated from the other songs, it’s such a piece of art on its own. This wasn’t originally my own decision. My iTunes simply plays Last Party from a different file than the rest of the album (I got it in advance after pre-ordering the album) so it’s not included in the album file. I’m fine with that. It’s passionate, depressive and so strong that the best way to listen to it (at least for me) is to focus on it as a song and not as a part of an album.

It must be my all time favorite Mika song if anything can ever be more favorite than acoustic Relax. It’s everything I want. I love the melody and the structure of the song and enjoy how it grows and gets more powerful towards the end. I love the lyrics and that there’s a story behind, even it’s a tragic one. There’s one or two tiny moments when I feel a small interruption with the lyrics and I like even that because I always look for something tiny out of place.

There are two more songs I prefer listening as individual songs: Porcelain and Les baisers perdus, both among my favorite songs on the album. Porcelain because it’s so fragile. I don’t want to mix the mood with any other song. Les baisers perdus because it’s so special and I like the moment when I listen to it. I can’t understand French but I love the idea behind this charming song and find the atmosphere incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful.

I start my proper album listening with Promiseland simply because it’s the easiest way to reach the Mika mood and because it has the same spirit and energy I fell in love in him so many years ago. It reminds me of Rain and it’s not a sad but incredibly determined instead with the message “I’ve had enough, you can’t treat me like this”. I love the determination and Promiseland is the first song I listen to every single time I listen to the whole album and I always think it would be perfect as an opening song at gigs.

After Promiseland it’s a turn for No Place In Heaven which is by far the most touching song on the album. I’m not religious and according to Mika’s own words the song is not written only to Father in heaven but also to his own father (if I got the interview right). I think he is showing the child in him – with all his fears – in this song and it was a huge surprise because I’ve always thought he doesn’t feel comfortable being this direct and rather says things more indirectly or hidden instead. Even his voice describes a child talking to his father and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it this soft.

If he wants to define the album with words “open” or “direct” No Place In Heaven is definitely the right choice for the title song. I literally cry every time I hear the song and find it both the most moving and the most important song on the album.

After No Place In Heaven I jump to Hurts which is (for me personally) almost equally important song on the album. Not sure if it’s because of the beautiful melody/the piano or because I can so well relate to the song and the lyrics. There’s a hint of “boy band sound” in it but I ignore it and definitely put the song high on my personal top song list.

These two songs are not only incredibly beautiful but also extremely emotional so after listening to No Place In Heaven and Hurts it’s time for something uplifting like Good Wife and Rio.

Good Wife is a balanced song and no matter how many times I listen to it I simply can’t find a tiniest thing out of place in it, it goes smoothly from the beginning to the end. It’s such a great song. The biggest reason why it’s not on my personal top3 list is that Mika is singing it as an outsider – watching the situation from outside – and I’m listening to it as an outsider – not relating to it – so it doesn’t touch me the same way some other songs on the album do. I still always enjoy it and people generally seems to like it a lot so I hope it will be on his regular set list.

Good Wife is clever and somehow cheerful even melancholic so it’s a suitable step before Rio which is the most comforting song on the album. Not the best or the most beautiful or my biggest favorite, just the most comforting. I’m not going to Rio. I don’t even want to go there right now but if I wanted I could do it. At least some day. Get lost and find an alter ego there. It’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?

Those are my favorites and the ones I listen to most at home but I’m looking forward to hearing also other new songs at gigs! As an album this is my favorite Mika album so far. Not a bad way to go. I feel I love his music more than ever and I’m still amazed that his new music is this direct and open. X