In its collector’s issue, The Rolling Stones magazine, one of the bibles of rock and roll music, listed Bruce Springsteen’s song, “Born to Run”, in around one of the top 20 of the All Time Greatest 500 Songs. This is an amazing honorary-mention, since even world-savior tunes like U2’s “One” ends up in the 30s rank of that list and an all-nations power-love anthem like Guns n Roses’s “Sweet Child o’ Mine” barely made the top 200s. “Born to Run” is a really cool invigorating anthem, telling about being young tramp and going out of the ‘suicide trap’ – basically a sturdy statement of self-belief and make-do’s, wrapped in beautiful sets of 80’s-style freeway-soundtrack, jeep-riding trumpet. The song is definitely the true personification of being life-passionate, a feel-good spirit song without being overly sentimental – which is perhaps one of the main goals of rock and roll.
Mika’s new 2009 single, “We are Golden”, carries out a feel that’s strikingly similar to Springsteen’s “Born to Run” – in terms of its youth spirit, its wretched-but-optimistic-teenager’s POV, and its anthem feel. The song is segregated into three main parts: the chorus, the verse, and the bridge. According to its online fans club, the song opens with a chorus that can only be described as ‘absolutely amazing’ – with all the voices of a massive choir chanting rebellious statements. The chorus talks about teenage dreams in a circus running wild and free – a perfect linguistic/musical description to paint an imagery of the colorful, carefree life of our growing-up story. This is sheathed in a march-evoking beat that is so catchy it really demands the young to stand up on their feet and ‘want some running around’.
The verse tells about “waking up in the midday sun” and, later in the second one, being like a magpie and living for the glitters. This is obviously a message of deviant flamboyance, which makes the song even ebulliently bolder – an invitation to trespass all inhibitions. Vocally, the sentences undulate effortlessly between two different octaves – an encapsulation of Mika’s breathtaking range and powerful falsetto. No wonder Mika is many times called as the rebirth of Freddy Mercury.
The bridge, containing the repetition of the paragraph “we are not what you think we are, we are golden! we are golden!”, is definitely the nutshell of every self-emboldening statement the song’s adamant to carry. After all, this is the song’s title. It’s interesting to see how the bridge is spoken instead of sung – it’s definitely a summon for all to yell along. So overall, the song is a war gong – an instrumentally-vibrant mars for everyone in the ‘dream circus’ to march gallantly.
Musically, Mika is definitely a breath of fresh air to the pop scene. After his earlier success with the album “Life in Cartoon Motion” which includes songs like “Relax (Take It Easy)” and “Grace Kelly”, his producers were eager to make him release another multi-million-dollar worth record. The demand started to get pressurizing for the artist and it was a bit heated. Unfaltering, Mika refuses to submit to all these industrial pressures, claiming that he is waiting for another moment when he is truly inspired to make music. His principles are worthy at the end, since “We are Golden” is a song – and an album too – that is so memorable it’s very difficult to remove from your system. Perhaps that is because as an artist, Mika reminds people a lot to Queen, but renders the group’s signature of bloody angst into a more cartoon-drawn and vividly-colored look. On top of that, his infusion of disco beats reminisces us of ABBA, only with the synthesis of much brighter musical colors and modern electronic sounds. But most importantly, a music of true inspiration always inspires the best.
Also, this song further justifies the theory about the power of anthems in today’s pop scene. The most memorable recent example of how anthems steal the large bulk of the pop scene would be Rihanna’s “Umbrella” – a song so chanty it became the national anthem of every nation – party and acoustics alike. Success stories of songs like “Apologize” or divas like Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Beyoncé, and Jordin Sparks, respectively with “If This Isn’t Love”, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, “Halo”, and “Battlefield” are just example of a highly successful ‘marching songs’. I guess that nowadays it’s either going singer/songwriter-acoustic, equipping the freshly coined term “mrazzy”, or making people stand on their feet and march along with anthems.
The song has the empowering force, as well as the yell-aloud satisfaction, of a Bon Jovi’s “Living Like a Prayer”. It goes with the same message in the earlier-discussed Springsteen song tramps and circus clowns can’t be stopped to run around. In full vigor! Ultimately, “We are Golden” is definitely an intake of jet energy and thus definitely an iPod must-have.
Oh, and if that’s not enough persuasion, Mika’s visual vibrancy always works to render his artistry even more unforgettable. As an artist, he is truly a unique, awe-inspiring spirit.