Elisa

Dancing

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    4
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AllMusic Review by

Elisa is a star in Italy, where her previous albums have sold in huge numbers. Dancing is her U.S. debut, and it has to be said that these American ears are having a hard time figuring out what the big deal is. She certainly has a fine voice, a slightly dark and unusually timbered one that is perfectly suited to her big, emotional songs of longing and romantic wonder. The problem is the songs themselves, which are pretty enough and nicely produced, but seem rather shapeless and can't seem to get out of a plodding, midtempo rut. The melodies are bombastic without ever being especially catchy: notice, in particular, the soggy textures of the title track and of the slogging, inane "Rainbow." "Broken" injects a little bit of energy into the proceedings along with a nice rhythmic changeup, and on "Life Goes On" she succeeds in morphing into an understated loveliness that works very well and suggests that with better material she might be a world-class talent. But "Rock Your Soul" almost sounds like an ironic title given the song's complete lack of energy, and "A Little Over Zero" features bizarre samples or synthesizer parts in the background that aren't even in the same key as the rest of the song. Then there are the lyrics. For better or for worse, English is the international language of pop music, and I suppose American listeners have no one to blame but themselves for that fact. But no matter what your native language, there's no excuse for lines like "Then I wish to brake it but just for a while/A saint for each bound" and "Life goes on/Here and beyond that horizon/It goes on and it changes/And it changes you too." There are a few impressive moments scattered through this album, but nowhere near enough of them to justify purchase.

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