Carmen Consoli

Confusa e Felice

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The second full-length album by Italian singer Carmen Consoli, Confusa e Felice, released when she was 23, shows the development of the young artist as she was just beginning to come into her own. Consoli wrote all 12 tracks, and while musically they don't stray much from the late-'90s adult alternative path (there is none of the jazz or blues influences that accent her later work), one can sense that lyrically she, both consciously and unconsciously, is really searching to find herself. She's not at the level she would reach further into her career (the fantastic irony and poignancy found in L'Eccezione, for example), but she's exploring themes and ideas while also exploring her own self. Confusa e Felice is about discovery and definition, love and anger; it's about incongruence and contrast, and throughout the record, Consoli seems to be struggling with how to reconcile herself and her own desires with her relationships to others and what they want from her. In "Diversi" she acknowledges how the differences between her and whomever she's speaking to are hurting her, but then in the lovely "Blunotte" she can't seem to leave someone who's been indifferent, or even cruel, toward her attempts to give a part of herself ("hai trovato i miei gesti ridicoli," she states, which translated means, "you found my efforts ridiculous"). It's touching, and probably because Consoli seems so sincere, she's able to address these difficult subjects from many perspectives and never come across as false. Unfortunately, there are a few tracks that fall short of the intended mark: while the lyrics and Consoli's voice on "Per Niente Stanca" are certainly powerful, the intense '80s drum machine-inspired beat over which she sings is distractingly bad, and the short closing track, "Bonsai #2," just barely under a minute long, tries too hard to be clever, with Consoli singing, "credo in me/...nel mio amore/...per arte si muore" (which means, roughly, "I believe in myself/...in my art/...we should die for art"), backward syllabically, and just sounds cheesy, albeit believable. Despite these flaws, Consoli is obviously very dedicated and honest about herself and her music, both admirable traits, and it's not a bad thing that you get to listen while she's figuring everything out.

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