My Name Is Michael Holbrook
MIKA exists in the middle of pop music’s spectrum between “mature” and “fun.” His 2007 debut Life in Cartoon Motion delivered “Grace Kelly” and “Lollipop,” two textbook examples of his ability to touch on profound topics while maintaining a high-spirited flair. In the four years since his last release, No Place in Heaven, the singer has compiled notes on his history to introduce the man behind the bubblegum pop: Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.
My Name Is Michael Holbrook opens with “Tiny Love,” a celebration of the small, underappreciated moments in relationships. Throughout his career, MIKA has gained a reputation for his likeness to the late Freddie Mercury—not only in the realm of their vibrant personalities, but also for their wide vocal range, which he showcases on “Tomorrow” while singing, “Oh, who gives a shit about tomorrow/When you know how lucky we are.”
Despite his penchant for delivering ceremonious anthems, the singer gives somber moments the quiet they deserve, such as on “Paloma,” a hushed recounting of his sister’s brush with death after she fell from an apartment building in 2010. Rather than succumbing to the grave moments in his life, he pushes on with “I Went to Hell Last Night,” a ballad that spotlights MIKA’s emotional perseverance as he croons, “When you’re dark and you’re sad, and your future’s just as bad/There’s a little bit of God in everything.”