Carmen Consoli

L' Abitudine di Tornare

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L'Abitudine di Tornare is Carmen Consoli's first studio album in almost six years, a period in which she was busy putting together her first official compilation, the excellent Per Niente Stanca (2010), as well as having her first child. Such lengthy absence in part explains why her return was warmly greeted in Italy, a country in which there has always been an overabundance of female singers, but female singer/songwriters are exceedingly rare, even in the 21st century. Rather than the beginning of a second phase of her career, as some critics have claimed, L'Abitudine di Tornare sounds very much like a condensed version of Per Niente Stanca. In these ten new songs Consoli revisits or combines the different genres she has explored so far, namely pop/rock, electronica folk, and Mediterranean music. As usual, the arrangements display her customary restrained elegance and the lyrics become the album's focal point. Songs are evenly split between her portraits of relationships fatally damaged by boredom ("Sintonia Imperfetta," "L'Abitudine di Tornare") and social issues such as the economic crisis ("E Forse un Giorno"), Palermo and the Mafia ("Esercito Silente"), the plight of African immigrants ("La Notte Più Lunga"), and femicide ("La Signora del Quinto Piano"), all equally dissected by Consoli's clinical gaze and detached, sad irony. It is very dour stuff -- life in Italy is no party in 2015 -- with the only heartwarming moments cropping up at the very end, the wistful love song "San Valentino" and the joy of motherhood expressed in "Questa Piccola Magia." Put succinctly, L'Abitudine di Tornare is a trademark Carmen Consoli album: detractors will keep on cringing at her regular attempts to cram as many convoluted words as possible into a sentence, while fans will rejoice at having her back in such fine form.

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