Lorenzo 1992

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Jovanotti's meteoric rise to fame in the late '80s was only comparable to his rapid descent into has-been territory and derision. Much to his credit, Jovanotti kept the faith and started an unlikely personal crusade to get rid of his brainless teenager rap sensation image, and rebuild himself as a mature songwriter. Against all odds, he succeeded where most novelty/fad acts fail. Lorenzo 1992 is usually identified as the album where the "new," "adult," or "much improved" Jovanotti emerged. In this respect, many point to the inclusion of his real name on the title (Jovanotti was born Lorenzo Cherubini) as a declaration of the artist's desire to claim a new, authentic identity -- and of course, discard the former one that at that point reeked of commercialism. In truth, this album is by no means the shocking revelation of a considerable talent, as it was perceived at the time. Rather, Lorenzo 1992 is the logical continuation of a steady progress, already in evidence in Jovanotti's two previous records, 1990's Giovani Jovanotti, and particularly 1991's Una Tribù Che Balla. Throughout Lorenzo 1992, and most specifically in the first track, Jovanotti vindicates his passion for rap music as a powerful means of expression, albeit in a much more articulate manner than before. At the same time, he keeps on expanding his musical palette to include funk, soul, and ballads, with the able aid of bassist Saturnino, producer Luca Cersosimo, and guitarist producer Michele Centonze. Most of all, signs of a newfound maturity and sense of direction are unequivocally present in the lyrics, that begin to address political and social concerns in a surprisingly intelligent manner. See for instance "Sai Qual é il Problema," his take on the issue of safe sex, a controversial issue of early-'90s Italy. The album's many hits only highlight its diversity of themes and styles: the raucous rap "Non M'annoio," the urban love song "Chissa Se Stai Dormendo," and last but not least, the irresistible party fave "Ragazzo Fortunato." Soon to become one of Jovanotti's signature songs, it features the killer opening couplet "Se io potessi sarei sempre in vacanza, se io fossi capace scriverei "Il cielo in una stanza" ("If I could, I would always be on holidays, if I had the talent, I would write cielo in una stanza"), an unexpected reference to the Gino Paoli standard that became a monument of '60s Italian music, and supposedly everything that Jovanotti's rap music was not. After Lorenzo 1992, it was only a matter of time for Italian critics and audiences to realize that Jovanotti was actually not that far away from the mainline of Italy's great songwriters -- and that he certainly had talent to spare.

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