Cesare Cremonini

Logico

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Cesare Cremonini enjoyed the biggest success of his solo career with the outstanding La Teoria dei Colori (2012), setting the bar pretty high for its successor. Revealed exactly two years later, Logico similarly managed to unleash a summer hit single in the title track and attract largely positive reviews. Even if backed by his usual cast of collaborators, in Logico Cremonini shows a manifest desire to avoid repeating himself while at the same time remaining true to his music. How to solve that question becomes the album's crux, alas, one that is not always resolved satisfactorily. Interestingly enough, the best tracks are those in which Cremonini tries to do new things with familiar materials, rather than those that play it safe. After a brief instrumental piece, Logico stuns with three terrific songs in succession. The first is "Logico #1," the most striking track of the entire album. Cremonini beats Coldplay at their own game with a keyboard intro that contrasts a three-note motif against an arpeggio, starts building steam with an acoustic guitar, and explodes when the same riff is repeated in unison by a much louder EDM-inspired synthesizer attack, launching the song into full-blast sweeping mode. As the song progresses and Cremonini sings about the uneasy coexistence of logic and love, its beguiling structure keeps promising a chorus that never quite happens, moving instead from one small climax to another. "Logico #1" is not only the obvious first single, it is also an excellent attempt at writing a contemporary hit single that acknowledges international trends without aping or pandering, and the track that best realizes Cremonini's vision of blending British pop music (from the '60s to its latest fads) with the cantautori tradition. Followed by the bouncy "Grey Goose," a humorous account of a one-night stand, and the gorgeous "Io e Anna," a standard love ballad that becomes sonically stimulating thanks to its use of cut-and-paste textures, this initial salvo ends up being counterproductive, as the album subsequently fails to maintain such quality. The rest is devoted to a cluster of fine midtempo numbers, whose only fault is that they tend to sound too much like one another, and a couple of more uptempo ditties whose lyrics are the album's true Achilles heel. Cluttered with pop culture references or misplaced adolescent longings, songs like the Smiths-influenced "John Wayne" may be a wink to those Cremonini fans with a fondness for his younger days, but they clash unfavorably with the reflective mood of "Se C'era una Volta l'Amore," a poignant letter written from the perspective of a son contemplating his parents' divorce. In the end, Logico's only blemish is one of consistency (not unlike all Cremonini records minus La Teoria dei Colori): a collection that comprises some amazing tracks, a strong core of solid tunes, and a few duds. It can only be considered a minor disappointment in relation to his preceding -- and quite extraordinary -- album, but in the overall trajectory of his career, it is actually a pretty logical step.