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Italy has a strong pop tradition, but little of it finds its way to Meta', which is a perfectly global pop/rock record. It still feels sappy -- not the global way, but as if Adriano Celentano lurks beneath the surface -- but this is probably due to the language. The album avoids clear pegging -- it starts off with a couple of quasi-emo numbers, though sunnier than the style usually goes, then dips into balladry that recalls both Elton John and Roxette, throws in a U2-ish larger-than-life number, and even fiddles with bluesy rock, unexpectedly and somewhat irresolutely, as if the Fainello brothers are not sure if they're allowed to like the White Stripes (not that they match Jack White; the whole thing comes across more similar to Whitesnake instead). But it still feels cohesive, the way a good pop record should, held together by crisp, leveled production, vocals straight out of a boy band's songbook, and an overall optimistically romantic vibe. Some of the ballads trade this for deep melodrama, but this is also within the framework of the genre -- how can you be a pop artist and not dramatize about love? On the whole, the album is almost painfully derivative, but in a good way -- you're bound to recognize these tunes, but also to enjoy some of them. Not all, though -- the hooks aren't that big, and the record fizzles and splutters toward the end due to filler, though the beautiful closer with its bluesy licks does much to remedy it.

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