Lorenzo 1999: Capo Horn

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Lorenzo 1999: Capo Horn arguably represents the happiest moment in Jovanotti's career. Not since his riotous teenage days has the singer seemed to be having so much fun making a record, with the bonus of being fully aware he is now making a terrific album, as opposed to a forgettable juvenile prank. Similarly, these songs reflect the joyful maturity of someone who has learned to relax and bask in the simple pleasures of life, rather than the artificial euphoria of a mindless party animal. Capo Horn is the sound of a group of musicians who had been together for years, effortlessly finding the groove time and again. While definitely laid-back and fun, the album is never careless or puerile. Many songwriters have succumbed to the temptation of writing a lullaby for their first child, but few have managed the task as gracefully as Jovanotti's "Per Te," the album's wonderful opening track. Not only does the song miraculously manage to avoid mawkishness; in the process, it also becomes a stellar example of Jovanotti's knack for turning everyday images and activities into signifiers of beauty and tenderness. And it is not even the best track on the album, that honor probably belonging to the delicate letter to a distant lover "Stella Cometa," or the mega-hit "Un Raggio di Sole." The latter is one of Jovanotti's most accomplished music tracks, blending the South African basslines of his preceding record Lorenzo 1997: L'Albero with a dance drum pattern and disco keyboard touches, all combined to tell the irrepressible never-ending saga of an impossibly ill-matched couple who are, in fact, made for each other. While not reaching the same unassailable heights, the album features plenty of good-natured, infectious songs, such as "Il Resto Va da Se," "Dolce Fare Niente," or "Tutto Può Succedere." It is true, however, that Capo Horn loses steam in its second half, with one-too-many trademark raps and funk raves -- these may turn out to be exciting concert numbers, but sound clumsy in comparison with the superbly crafted pop gems mentioned above. The album is also the last to feature Jovanotti's longtime collaborator, guitarist, and producer Michele Centonze. His touch will certainly be missed in all future Jovanotti releases. Fun, catchy, intelligent, and often endearingly poetic, Lorenzo 1999: Capo Horn is one of Jovanotti's stronger collections, and an excellent example of contemporary Italian pop music at its best.

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