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Music / Mika

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He can be anything you like.

Michael Holbrook Penniman, Jr. (born August 18, 1983), better known as Mika, is a very sparkly British singer-songwriter of American and Lebanese parentage who burst out in the music scene in 2007 with the song "Grace Kelly".


  • Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)
  • The Boy Who Knew Too Much (2009)
  • The Origin of Love (2012)
  • No Place In Heaven (2015)
  • My Name Is Michael Holbrook (2019)

Recurring tropes in Mika's works:

  • Always Camp: Since reviewers always describe him as camp! However, his vibrant songs, flamboyant trappings, and eccentric tendencies more than justify it.
  • Bad to the Bone: In America, his songs have been used in countless movies and advertisements, but while his albums and songs have occasionally charted on Billboard charts this hasn't translated into further success.
  • Messy Hair: His signature look.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: From time to time. With a voice that can (allegedly) reach about four or more octaves, who wouldn't?
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • The video for "We are Golden" has him prancing about in only his boxers.
    • Also, sometimes in concert. Admittedly, it must get hot in that clunky spacesuit.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Considering how, erm, squeaky his voice gets in some of his songs, you'd be expecting a whole lot more moe when it comes to his appearance. He's actually somewhat sterner looking in reality (see page photo).

Mika's songs displays examples of:

  • Anti-Love Song: "Lollipop" and "Erase".
    • And "Overrated", and "Love You When I'm Drunk". He likes these.
    • Though "Lollipop" is less strictly an antilove song perse and more about not rushing into romance or sex too quickly.
  • And a Diet Coke: "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" has a refrain of
    "Diet Coke and a pizza, please!"
  • Armored Closet Bi: "Billy Brown"
  • Big Beautiful Woman: "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)".
  • Camp: Yes.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: "I See You".
  • Colorful Song: "Grace Kelly", at least in the chorus.
  • Crisis of Faith: The narrator of "No Place In Heaven" is either having a crisis of faith (addressing a God that he believes has turned his back on people like him) or a crisis of atheism (addressing a God that he rejected or doesn't believe in, just in case). It's hard to tell.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Both versions of "Relax (Take It Easy)" feature this style, as does the cover art for his CDs.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Behold, Grace Kelly in French.
    • Also "Elle Me Dit", one of his more recent songs.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: "Happy Ending".
  • Gender Flip: In the song "Loverboy", he flips between directing his statements to either a girl and a boy.
  • Hidden Track: His first album (Life in Cartoon Motion) features "Over My Shoulder," a hidden track after "Happy Ending." So if you weren't depressed enough after the Lyrical Dissonance and misleading title of "Happy Ending", there was the haunting bonus track to back it up.
    • The track was also a bit of an Ensemble Dark Horse for reviewers, with many preferring it to the "main" songs.
  • Hikikomori: The son in "Elle Me Dit" and the title character in "Emily" are accused of this. Although, with all the other things that they're scolded for doing, it doesn't seem particularly accurate — particularly in "Emily", where the narrator's constant whining about Emily's habits is either genuine concern, Manipulative Bastard tactics, or completely failing to get the hint that she's not interested in him.
    Emily, live your life in a balloon
    Lock yourself up in your room
    Where the world can never reach you.
  • Intercourse with You: In "Big Girl, You are Beautiful":
    Big boy come on around and there we're gonna do baby.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: He seems to love pairing cheerful, bouncy tunes to lyrics about disillusionment as one grows up and how love is pointless and only causes pain. To be specific...
    • "Lollipop" is a childish, upbeat tune about a mother telling her son how love will ruin his life and he's better off single.
    • "Happy Ending" is an odd variant — it starts out downbeat and miserable, but then the gospel choir kicks in towards the end with a triumphant rendition of the chorus. You might expect the lyrics to change accordingly, and the song to actually have a happy ending...but nope, the lyrics are still miserable, and the last few notes are quiet and defeated.
    • "Billy Brown" is a happy little tune about a man completely dissatisfied with his life, who discovers that he is bisexual, cheats on his wife, has a bit of a mid-life crisis, runs away from everyone, cheats on his wife and his male lover, and we don't even find out what happens to him in the end.
    • Perhaps never more present than in "Toy Boy," a very sweet-sounding song that reads like a fairy tale but tells a story heavy with clear subtext about an abusive, homophobic, overprotective mother tearing apart a gay relationship and destryoing the narrating character's (her son's lover) entire sense of self.
  • Musical Nod: The chorus in "Popular Song" is lifted directly from the song "Popular" from Broadway's Wicked, albeit with some changed lyrics.
  • My Beloved Smother: A reoccurring archetype — one turns up in "Lollipop," "Elle Me Dit" and "All She Wants". The person addressed in "Stuck In the Middle" and "My Interpretation" could be one, as well as the mother in "Toy Boy."
  • No Ending: So...what happened to "Billy Brown" in the end?
  • Quirky Girl, Quirky Tux: The dancers in the video for "Blame It on the Girls" have one half tuxedo with the other half wearing a dress, fitting for his eccentric bubblegum pop image.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: The beginning of "Grace Kelly" comes from The Barber of Seville.
  • Sampling: The chorus for "Popular Song" appropriates the verse melody of "Popular" from Wicked. A remix of it appeared on the tenth anniversary re-release of the cast album.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Underwater", "Step With Me", and "Talk About You", among others.
  • Take That!: "Popular Song" - to childhood bullies
  • Video Full of Film Clips: "Kick-ass" was written specifically for the movie of the same name. It makes sense that the majority of the video is clips of the movie, though Mika does make an appearance in between.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: A regular theme — Mika's narrators often have family issues...
    • "Elle Me Dit" is about a mother constantly criticising her child by complaining that what he's doing is the opposite of what he should be doing. The English counterpart "Emily" is an admirer complaining that the object of his affections is contrary and unsociable.
    • "All She Wants" concerns a mother who has browbeaten her son into a "proper" marriage and life that he doesn't want. He ends up leaving his wife and fleeing in the end.
    • "Stuck in the Middle" has similar implications, with a very traditional matriarch figure demanding the same values from her far less traditional descendant.
  • Yandere: Being stalked by one in "Ring Ring", but is one in "Touches You".
  • You Know What They Say: From "Lollipop":
    "I was walkin' with my mama one day, when she warned me what people say:
    Live your life until love is found, or love's gonna get you down."


Video Example(s):



In addition to the old-school artstyle, the music video for "Lollipop" by Mika takes the chorus very literally, displaying the lyrics via candy and various animals in love.

How well does it match the trope?

4.44 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurrealMusicVideo

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