Carmen Consoli

L' Eccezione

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While Carmen Consoli may not be well known outside of her native Italy, she is certainly one of the biggest and most respected artists within her own country, regularly selling out concerts and garnering admiring reviews from critics and fans alike. Her 2002 studio album, L'Eccezione, is jazzier and more controlled than her rock-laden Stato di Necessità or Mediamente Isterica, showing a mature lyricist and musician who is more willing and more comfortable delving deeply and more intimately into the complexities of life. "Mulini a Vento," perhaps the best track on the record, is both pretty and haunting, and accents Consoli's expressive and distinctive voice as she discusses the transient nature of things, while "Moderato in Re Minore" is the depressingly beautiful, nearly balladic tale of a lonely philosophy professor who realizes that he has nothing in his life but his books. Equally good are the harder and more spiteful criticisms of the superficiality and hypocrisies of Western culture, "Matilda Odiava i Gatti" and "Eppur Si Muove," the latter quoting Galileo's famous words upon learning he had been found guilty of heresy. The sweet, simple songs of innocent love from Consoli's earlier albums are not found on L'Eccezione, but that's not to say that it's all Sturm und Drang: there are lighter melodies here, full of reflective ninth chords and memories of former lovers, but there is also an underlying and soft melancholy that lines the album like silk inside a heavy fur coat. It's music of subtle contrast, and the timbre and phrasing of Consoli's voice convey this message as well as any of her lyrics, and it's what makes her so good. L'Eccezione is a great album that can easily be understood and enjoyed by both Italian speakers and non-Italian speakers, as long as an attentive and appreciative ear replaces what may be lacking linguistically.

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