Lost in Translation – Fran’s Review

It’s always hard to review an album when you don’t understand any of the lyrics. My Italian currently consists of an extensive vocabulary of swear words (courtesy of my Italian housemate), and not much else. This didn’t help much with Ligabue’s Mondovisione, which is a shame because a good run of expletives might have spiced up a harmless but fairly dull record.

My personal album highlights are the optimistic first 20 seconds of first track Il muro del suono, and the closing track, Sono sempre i sogni a dare forma al mondo. The former because the opening guitar and piano combo holds the promise of the kind of light and uplifting populist pop that is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, and the latter because it is clearly a rocked up version of Hoppípolla with added growling Italian. I suspect that if you understood the lyrics, Mondovisione probably is uplifting populist pop, but the style is just a bit too heavy on the guitars and the gravelly vocals. If you want riffs like that to be taken seriously you shouldn’t stick them into the middle of a sleekly produced pop rock record; Con la scusa del Rock’n’Roll indeed! Towards the middle of the album, Il sale della terra once again makes this point, when a pensive beginning with atmospheric backing vocals gives way to yet another too-heavy blast of guitars.

I’m told that Ligabue is typical of the singer-songwriter pop that is hugely popular in Italy, but doesn’t sell anywhere else. Don’t feel too bad for Ligabue though; judging from his extensive discography he seems to be doing pretty well out of it! Listening to Mondovisione was a pleasant enough look at another country’s pop culture, and an appropriate addition to our Tuscany trip. However next time I fancy listening to middle-aged middle of the road pop I’ll stick to Manchester’s finest!

★★★

Mondovisione‘s three star rating reflects the fact that Ligabue has been given the benefit of the doubt on lyrical content!
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