Grace Kelly (song)

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"Grace Kelly"
Single by Mika
from the album Life in Cartoon Motion
B-side "Over My Shoulder", "Satellite"
Released 8 January 2007
Format Digital download, CD single,
12" single, 7" single
Recorded 2006
Genre Pop
Length 3:05
Label Island, Casablanca
Writer(s) Mica Penniman, Jodi Marr, John Merchant, Dan Warner
Producer(s) Greg Wells
Certification Platinum (ARIA)
Silver (BPI)
Mika singles chronology
"Relax, Take It Easy"
(2006)
"Grace Kelly"
(2007)
"Love Today"
(2007)

"Grace Kelly" is a song by the British singer Mika, released for download on 9 January 2007. It also appears on Mika's 2007 album Life in Cartoon Motion. Produced and mixed by Greg Wells, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at number three and the UK Official Download Chart at number one. One week later, it jumped to the top of the UK Singles Chart. The track was number one on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks, and ended 2007 as the year's third biggest-selling single in that country.[1] In the U.S., "Grace Kelly" was made available for digital download on 16 January 2007. This song was also #89 on MTV Asia's list of Top 100 Hits of 2007.[2] It was designed to be a mocking satire of musicians who try to reinvent themselves to be popular.

The song is titled after Academy Award-winning American film and stage actress, and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly. The bit of dialogue used in the song is from the film The Country Girl. Mika claims the song was inspired after a bad experience with a record company executive, in which he was told to be more like Craig David.[3] The lyric "So I try a little Freddie" is a reference to Queen's Freddie Mercury, to whose singing voice Mika's has been compared.[4] On at least one occasion, Mika confirmed that he used the main melody from Figaro's famous aria Largo al factotum in the opera The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini.[5] Mika performed the song at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 in Munich, and at the 2008 BRIT Awards at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London where it was nominated for Best British Single.[6] The song has sold 540,000 copies in the UK as stated by the Official Charts Company.

Background and composition[edit]

"The comparisons to Freddie Mercury are fine. They started long before I made the record - I've even referred to it in Grace Kelly." "Grace Kelly was written after these musicians were trying to mold me into what I should be. I was really angry and so I wrote the song and mailed them the lyrics. They didn't call me back, but two years later it's come full circle."

Mika says in an interview on BBC.[7]

Mika wrote the song after he felt frustrated with record label executives that wanted him to change his sound to fit the common pop mold. In the song, Mika points out how he can pretend to be anyone he likes to win approval - in this case the glamorous actress Grace Kelly. He wrote the song after the record company told him that they wanted to model his look and sound on Craig David, who was popular at the time in the UK. Mika rejected this idea and wrote "Grace Kelly" as a way of expressing his individuality.[7] The song's melody is based on the aria "Largo al factotum" in the opera The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Grace Kelly is one of the most bold debut singles in recent years by a pop artist on a major label. The sheer fabulousness of it all flew to the top of the pop singles chart in the UK where Queen's Freddie Mercury is still revered as one of the all-time pop gods. It's anyone's guess whether Mika's kicky, even campy, approach will connect with audiences in the US, but, for those who do pay attention, 'Grace Kelly' is a grand introduction to an exciting talent.

—Bill Lamb in his review of the song for About.com.[8]

The song received positive reviews from music critics. Heather Phares from Allmusic wrote a positive review for the song, stating that "Mika's singles are his most charming moments, including the instant sunshine of "Grace Kelly," which crams tap-dancing rhythms, filmic dialogue, Elton's pianos, Freddie's vocal harmonies, and Brian May's guitars into just over three minutes."[9] Beth Johnson from Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Nothing quite matches the crystal-shattering exuberance of hit Grace Kelly."[10] Christian John Wikane from PopMatters wrote an extensive article about the comparisons between Mika and Freddie Mercury, writing that "he sounds a lot like Mercury and wears the influence like a badge of honor, even name-checking the late front man of Queen in the first verse. Mika vacillates between the affected theatricality of Mercury’s full-throttled voice and his own strong falsetto, where he earnestly implores "Why don’t you like me?" no less than 12 times.[11] John Murphy from musicOMH wrote that "It's big, joyous, dumb pop, and the only danger with it is that you'll be utterly sick of it fast."[12] Lizzie Enever from BBC Music was direct, writing that "Grace Kelly is a great pop song - it's catchy, you can't help singing along and it grates on you after a few days when you can't get it out of your head but you still go back for more - flawless credentials."[13]

Bill Lamb from About.com gave to the song 4.5 out of 5 stars, praising "the sheer audacity of Mika's approach" and the "candy-coated, sunsplashed pop melody", while seeing that "It's difficult to imagine a more effective song to introduce Mika. The lyrics describe an attempt to channel the spirit of the eternal princess Grace Kelly with a touch of Queen's Freddie Mercury to make it all a bit more upbeat. He's willing to be whatever will pull pop fans into his performance orbit."[8] Graham Griffith also from About.com wrote that the song "is an outrageously irresistible and infectious pop gem."[14]

Dom Passantino from Stylus Magazine criticized the track, writing that "it seems to suggest the boy has some level for musicals, being as it is all Broadway flittering and hackneyed attempts at conveying a story with its lyrics. But here’s the problem: he's got no tales to tell, just a tab at his local make-up supplier. "Am I too dirty, am I too flirty?" he sings at one point."[15]

Accolades[edit]

At the 2007 World Music Awards, Mika won for Best Selling British Artist, Best Selling New Artist, Best Selling Male Entertainer, and World's Best Selling Pop Rock Male Artist.[7]

Versions[edit]

Parodies[edit]

  • Rory Bremner recorded a parody version to illustrate the problems of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
  • Scott Mills impersonated Mika and sang lyrics of the song in a prank call to a real estate agency.

Appears in...[edit]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song "Grace Kelly" was directed by Sophie Muller and starred Mika and Holly Muller. The video was filmed in early November 2006 and has been nominated for numerous worldwide awards. The instrumental introduction in the video is an extract of the acoustic version of the song found on certain releases of the album.

Tracklisting[edit]

Australian CD Single
  1. "Grace Kelly" – 3:08
  2. "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Radio Edit) – 3:20
  3. "Over My Shoulder" – 4:44
  4. "Grace Kelly" (Video)
UK CD Single
  1. "Grace Kelly" – 3:08
  2. "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Radio Edit) – 3:20
  3. "Over My Shoulder" – 4:44
Limited Edition 7" Vinyl
  1. "Grace Kelly" – 3:07
  2. "Satellite" – 4:15
UK 12" Vinyl
  1. "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Full Vocal Remix) – 6:46
  2. "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Dub Remix) – 6:40
  3. "Grace Kelly" (Tom Neville Full Vocal Remix) – 6:48
  4. "Grace Kelly" (Tom Neville Dub Remix) – 7:08

Official versions[edit]

  • "Grace Kelly" – 3:07
  • "Grace Kelly" (Acoustic Version) – 3:07
  • "Grace Kelly" (Bimbo Jones Remix Edit) – 3:00
  • "Grace Kelly" (Bimbo Jones Remix) - 6:26
  • "Grace Kelly" (Les Grandes Gueules Version) - 3:07
  • "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Radio Edit) – 3:20
  • "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Full Vocal Remix) – 6:46
  • "Grace Kelly" (Linus Loves Dub Remix) – 6:40
  • "Grace Kelly" (Pull Tiger Tail Remix) – 4:26
  • "Grace Kelly" (Tom Neville Full Vocal Remix) – 6:48
  • "Grace Kelly" (Tom Neville Dub Remix) – 7:08

Charts and certifications[edit]

It reached number one in the United Kingdom and in Ireland. The song was only the second single ever to top the UK chart without selling a physical copy. "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley was the first.[7] In the U.S. market, it peaked at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100. The December 2007 Observer Music Monthly asked Mika how it felt getting to #1 in the UK with this song. The Lebanon born singer replied: "Very unreal. It still feels unreal. It's just a song I wrote in my room. By the time I'd written 'Grace Kelly' everything in my life had been called into question. Trying to find out what I was going to do with my life, trying to be a musician, to be independent, to give myself the remote chance of any kind of a relationship. I was just sorting every thing out in my head. That song sums it all up."[7] It went to #1 on the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Turkey singles charts.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top 40 Singles of the Year 2007". BBC Music. Retrieved 2007-12-27
  2. ^ MTV Asia. "Top 100 Hits List". Retrieved 2007-12-27
  3. ^ Times UK - "Oh, Mika, you're so fine". Retrieved 2009-5-15
  4. ^ BBC News – "Sound of 2007: Mika"
  5. ^ Mika in "Taratata" TV Show (part 2) on YouTube
  6. ^ "The BRITs 2008" Brits.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2012
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Grace Kelly by Mika Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Lamb, Bill. "Mika - Grace Kelly - Review of the debut single "Grace Kelly" by pop singer Mika". About.com. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Phares, Heather. "Life in Cartoon Motion - Mika | Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Johnson, Beth (30 March 2007). "Life in Cartoon Motion Review | Music Reviews and News - | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Wikane, Christian John (26 March 2007). "Mika: Life in Cartoon Motion < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Murphy, John (5 February 2007). "Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion | album reviews | musicOMH". MusicOMH. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Ennever, Lizzie (2 February 2007). "BBC - Music - Review of Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion". BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "MIKA - Life in Cartoon Motion". About.com. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Passantino, Don (6 February 2007). "Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion - Review - Stylus Magazine". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Mika – Grace Kelly". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  17. ^ "Mika – Grace Kelly – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mika – Grace Kelly" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mika – Grace Kelly" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  20. ^ "Mika Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Mika.
  21. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200735 into search.
  22. ^ "Mika – Grace Kelly Hitlisten.nu" (in Danish). Tracklisten.
  23. ^ "Mika Album & Song Chart History" European Hot 100 for Mika.
  24. ^ "Mika: Grace Kelly" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – Mika – Grace Kelly" (in French). Les classement single.
  26. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  27. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 2010-12-08.
  28. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Mika – Grace Kelly". Top Digital Download.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Mika – Grace Kelly" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  31. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Mika – Grace Kelly". Top 40 Singles.
  32. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Mika – Grace Kelly". VG-lista.
  33. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200718 into search.
  34. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Mika – Grace Kelly". Singles Top 60.
  35. ^ "Mika – Grace Kelly – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  36. ^ "Mika" UK Singles Chart.
  37. ^ "Mika Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Mika.
  38. ^ "Pop Rock" (in Spanish). Record Report. 2007-04-27. Archived from the original on 2007-04-26. 
  39. ^ "Single Jahrescharts 2007". MTV Germany.
  40. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal
  41. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/ARIACharts-Accreditations-2007Singles.htm
  42. ^ ultratop.be - ULTRATOP BELGIAN CHARTS
  43. ^ http://www.hitlisterne.dk/tracklisten.asp?w=29&y=2007&list=t40 Uge 29 2007
  44. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Grace Kelly')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  45. ^ The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community
  46. ^ "British single certifications – Mika – Grace Kelly". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 31 March 2014.  Enter Grace Kelly in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  47. ^ "RIAA – Searchable Database: Mika". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 

External links[edit]