Francesco De Gregori


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Barely 11 months after the impressive Pezzi, Francesco de Gregori continues his triumphal return to form with the stunning Calypsos. Both musically and thematically, this album could be taken as an introspective, personal counterpart to the rock-oriented Pezzi. The aggression and global despair of his prior album only reappear in "Mayday" and "Per le Strade di Rome" -- and, anyway, these two tracks are even better than those on Pezzi. In Calypsos, De Gregori sings (mostly) about love in a collection of reflective, beautiful ballads that showcases the enormous gulf between a mature, supremely talented songwriter, and the hordes of mediocre wannabes who keep on plowing such a perused subject, in Italy and elsewhere. Amazingly, there is not a single cliché in this album. Instead, De Gregori writes a series of seemingly effortless, elusive, unaffected, yet utterly moving snapshots of a tender and complicated mixture of feelings and thoughts: "In Onda," "L'amore Comunque," "La Linea Della Vita," these are all superb songs. Only the innocuous closer "Tre Stelle" is unworthy of its place in this collection. On the other hand, the opening "Cardiologia" is simply one of De Gregori's finest songs ever, an absolute classic of the stature of "Santa Lucia" or "La Storia." A splendid (and splendent!) record, Calypsos is named after the sea nymph in Greek mythology who kept Odysseus captive in her island for seven years -- subject matter very in keeping with De Gregori's quizzical nature -- and which may or may not be the inspiration for "Mayday."

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