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Ligabue's 2014 release Mondovisione was announced as something of a change of pace from his 2000s output, a return to a harder, snarling rock sound accompanied by angry, politicized lyrics about the dire current state of affairs in Italy. Such an impression was mostly founded upon the lead single "Il Sale Della Terra," which had begun to storm the airwaves two months before the album was unveiled. A biting description of a particular kind of arrogant, criminal mentality unfortunately all too common in Italy was set -- surprisingly for Ligabue -- to a catchy vocal loop intercut with powerful electric guitars; the single certainly delivered on the album's premise. Alas, Mondovisione as a whole tells a different and very familiar story. Never mind that Ligabue chose a new co-producer in his keyboard player/programmer Luciano Luisi, or that he'd spent close to a year in laying down these tracks with his band in search of that elusive perfect sound, the truth is that this is yet another standard Ligabue album. Yes, some tracks rock hard and some could be considered protest songs, but the effect is pretty much the same as on any of his records. This is by no means a problem since his records are all pretty great, but in all fairness, Mondovisione seems lacking in those instant classics that turn his best albums into something special. Rather, it's mostly composed of solid, deep album cuts which not only make for compelling listening but also enhance Ligabue's main weakness, namely that he is one of those artists who is always rewriting the same two or three songs over and over again. Mondovisione has them all: a manifesto of rousing social indignation ("Il Muro del Suono," "Il Sale della Terra"), a portrait of life as a rock star ("Con la Scusa del Rock'n'Roll"), a portrait of a woman who carries a lot of baggage ("Il Volume delle Tue Bugie"), a love song (second single "Tu Sei Lei"), a message of hope ("Sono Sempre i Sogni a Dare Forma al Mondo"), and an autobiographical confession (the moving "Per Sempre," about his parents, arguably the album's finest moment). All of the above, in fact, all of the songs on the album, are quintessential Ligabue tracks whose only fault is not being definitive Ligabue tracks, but the album will probably catch fire performed live and thus contain the emotional potential to resonate deeply with his many fans.

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