Album Review: Mika – No Place In Heaven

In trying to sound more personal Mika has ended up sounding a bit dull, writes

819iKQtyH8L. SL1500 Rating:  ★★☆☆☆

It’s easy to identify why this album hasn’t made much of a splash. The colourful characterisation and overt theatricality that made Mika’s first albums so appealing has been pushed definitively to the side lines; an attempt to create a more ‘personal’ sound takes centre ground. The result is an album that is fairly consistently disappointing, moving along unmemorable track by unmemorable track through to its conclusion.

The album begins worse than it finishes. ‘Talk About You’ has cute sentiments but the underdeveloped chorus makes the whole track feel rushed. ‘Last Party’ is a bleak, disillusioned song about clubbing – a sort of drunk misery that Mika has decided to impose on us. It definitely isn’t a party. ‘Good Guys’ is possibly the low point, with the artist complaining that he can’t find himself a man he’d be happy with. We lose our patience when half way through he begins to list touchstones for what he’s looking for, including ‘Auden’ and ‘James Dean’.

It isn’t all bad though. Track five, ‘Oh Girl You’re the Devil’, is fun to listen to. The familiar, energetic artist of past albums bounces back, even if it is only for a couple of minutes. This teasing track is cleverly juxtaposed with ‘No Place in Heaven’, a fairly lyrically simple song about religious disillusionment; it isn’t outstanding but its conviction is just about enough to win listeners over. The last real highlight is ‘Rio’. It captures a wanderlust or fear of commitment that might explain precisely why the musician’s style has changed so dramatically. It’s unapologetic and abrasive and this gives it a bit of an edge; whilst musically different, it shares an extraordinary sense of self-confidence that made tracks like ‘Grace Kelly’ and ‘Big Girls’ initially so charming. ‘Ordinary Man’, the album closer, is fairly personal too, but the music itself is excessively plain.

You can tell that the record was written in his kitchen. There’s something very ordinary and simple minded about the album’s content; The lyrics are the kind of half-awake idle chatter you can image the artist having with his sister over the morning coffee. The issue is that these songs don’t really have any appeal to the rest of us, and there’s not much you could do with them on stage. In trying to sound more personal, Mika has only ended up sounding a bit dull.

13 comments

  1. You seem to be completely clueless about what the subject matter of the songs are. Last Party is an ode to Freddie Mercury, and the party he had when he found out he was ill. Good Guys is about the influences in Mikas early life, and how there don’t seem to be anyone like that emerging today. Maybe you need to listen to his interviews a little more closely before blindly blundering into doing a review!

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  2. Why Mika disturbs you so much in UK?
    Very bad article. You understood nothing in this magnificent album

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  3. Your comment hasn´t basis. Do you really hear the songs? I don´t believe it.

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  4. Emmm… its true that it is a personal album, so to understand Mikas music u should listen some interviews so u can understand Mika but still… too hard review for a good album… (Tool was also personal & sorry to the fans but worst) :o)

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  5. Forgot to say that I like the album but its true that the album is too personal, and also very sad. I love Mikas music, but this sad side not so much. Even if he was always dark in his lyrics this time went too far… another depresive artist, for that we have Sam Smith already… sorry.

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  6. It’s really doesn’t seem like you have actually listened to this AMAZING album, so I’m not going even to bother with you. Just wanted to say that Mila is one of the only Artists that is left today, that are true to themselves, and I think this album is absolutely beautiful! Yes it is very personal, but that’s the beauty in it. Please give it a chance!

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  7. I know that you are a critic and your job is to be critical, but seriously you haven’t researched the album very well, and it seems like you haven’t even listened to the entirety of Mika’s earliest albums, because some of Mika’s songs on those are, in my opinion not as advanced as the ones on this album. I mean, when you think about it, the critics critic is the public, and I know that you have your own opinion but theres a difference between opinion and research. If you watch the last party music video it is not meant to be a party tune like you suggested, its a tribute to Freddie mercury and the rumour that he had a 3 day long rave in a nightclub when he found out that he had hiv. In my opinion, as someone who has grown up listening to Mika music since I was 10 , this is Mika’s strongest album yet

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  8. It’s clear you gave the album a cursory listen and then dismissed it. To truly understand Mika’s music you have to ruminate on his lyrics. What is he telling us? This album is his most personal and also his best. Listen and understand.

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  9. Obviamente de música tienes preferencias,al menos has escuchado el álbum, no es aburrido, Mika tiene el album todo el dolor y las tragedias de su vida convertido en algo muy hermoso para hacer un buen album no necesita ser ostentoso y brillante necesita un cantante real que ame la música.

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  10. I agree on everything you said. SO disappointed with this album, especially as a follow up to The Origin of Love, which is one of my favourite albums ever.

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  11. 17 Aug ’15 at 4:56 pm

    Georgia Francis

    This is actually my second favourite mika album! :) IMO, the only ‘bad’ album he’s done was for me, TOOL. That, apart from the songs Emily and Underwater, which i adore, did dissapoint me. But I adore this one. I would say its true Mika showing his softer, more whimsical side, BUT there are plenty of old school mika OTT theatrical moments in there too And I would highly recommend it to anyone who loved LICM, his best album, which has sadly yet to be equaled. I think that’s the problem, none of his subsequent albums have been quite as good as his debut…:( truth I’m afraid, and I’m an enormous fan. This comes pretty damn close though. So yes, ignore this shitty review, buy it, and judge for yourself people. Enjoy him, he’s fabulous and I flippin lurve him!

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  12. This is NOT a review of his album. This is you saying ‘I’m not a fan of his work’
    The whole text seems like a joke.

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  13. I’m glad someone finally said it. This album is horrible.

    I have been a long-time fan of Mika. I’ve listened to every album he’s produced, fallen in love with each one more and more with every release. I love his upbeat and poppy songs like “Grace Kelly,” “Love Today,” and “Live Your Life”, but I also love the less popular songs like “One Foot Boy,” “Rain” and “Lola.” But what I really appreciate about his past music is that not only did it have something to say, but it also pushed the envelope in musicality. I could appreciate the tunes and the lyrics at the same time. The only great thing about “No Place in Heaven” is the lyrics. And I commend him for that. But it’s lost something: it’s colour. This album is depressing to me. And I preferred the music like “One Foot Boy” and “Rain,” that while discussing something rather serious, also maintained a catchy tune, even if it wasn’t a happy one!

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