Francesco De Gregori

Terra di Nessuno

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A transition album for Francesco De Gregori, Terra di Nessuno finds him hesitating between his cantautore roots and a more rock-oriented sound. No big hits this time but, as customary, at least half the album is excellent. De Gregori's songwriting is becoming more direct as he focuses mostly on themes of social injustice -- a trend that will be amplified in Mira Mare 19.4.89 and Canzoni D'Amore. Indeed, almost every track in Terra di Nessuno is a character study of a suffering outcast or victim (especially of labor exploitation, a recurrent topic of several of De Gregori's songs from this period.) Songs like "I Matti," "Nero," "Pane e Castagne," "Mimì Sarà," all are rendered with the perfect mix of compassion, poignancy, wit, and intelligence that has come to characterize one of Italy's greatest singer/songwriters. The closer "Vecchia Valigia" demonstrates that he is still unparalleled in the nostalgia-love song genre as well. On the minus side, the production sounds a bit too polished. In fact, many of these songs will find their ideal presentation in the De Gregori trilogy of live releases from 1990, Catcher in the Sky, Niente da Capire, and Musica Leggera.

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