Lucio Battisti

Don Giovanni

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Almost four years in the making, the challenging Don Giovanni inaugurates Battisti's controversial collaboration with the hermetic poet Pasquale Panella, which lasted for the last five albums of the singer's career. By this time of his life Battisti had adopted a thoroughly minimalist attitude, reflected by the series of white, elementary LP covers; his refusal to promote his albums; and his use of electronic synthesizers for most of the instrumentation. However, the big shock came with Panella's perversely abstruse texts, in open defiance of Italian popular music songwriting standards -- which, ironically, at that point were largely defined by the work of Battisti and Mogol in the 1970s. Judgment about this album depends squarely on where you stand in the Battisti-Panella debate: Don Giovanni has both been hailed as a revolutionary milestone of Italian music and decried as a pretentious, intellectual borefest. Everyone agrees, however, on considering it the finest album of Battisti's late period, specifically because it is the one that best manages to balance Battisti's classicist (most evident on the sophisticated melodies) and avant-garde tendencies.

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