MIKA: Mika Vs. Fashion
By Amanda Mills
A local icon and vastly talented multi-entertainer, Mika has been recording music for three decades. ‘Mika Vs. Fashion’ is his seventh album, a record of lounge music underpinned by dance beats. The album was released to coincide with June’s Matariki festivals, and its aim was to bring Maori culture into the present tense, reflected in melding te reo Maori lyrics with dance grooves. Mika’s lyrics are not only in te reo, but also English, French, Spanish and Cuban, creating a multi-cultural sound to the exotic, often urban background music. The sounds aren’t always melodic – the spoken word vocals are oddly affective on Beautiful People. The backing beats and effects are often what you would expect from a dance/remix album (six tracks are remixes or instrumental versions), though the music of Pounamu Diamond is better when the vocals are stripped. Bonus track, a cover of La Vie En Rose, takes the song from a French chanson into a percussive, acoustic guitar number, and with Mika singing instead of speaking the lyrics it becomes a high point. Definitely not to everyone’s taste, ‘Mika Vs. Fashion’ is an inventive dance floor trip.