Ivano Fossati

Musica Moderna

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Genovese singer Ivano Fossati has enjoyed a long, fruitful, and above all, heterogeneous career. In Musica Moderna, Fossati has gone back to produce a standard rock album (at least by his standards), a register he mined in the early '80s and that he had unexpectedly revamped for his controversial 2006 release L'Arcangelo. Traces of the atmospheric piano ballads and fascination with Latin rhythms that characterized his '90s output -- arguably his most creative decade -- resurface here and there, particularly in the title track or in the stirring "Cantare a Memoria," but most of the songs are steadily led by washes of electric guitars and 4/4 drums. Even Fossati's fondness for reggae resurfaces in "Miss America." Musically, everything here is irrefutably accomplished, but for those that do not understand Italian, Musica Moderna would probably sound as proficient, if unremarkable. As is often the case with Fossati and other Italian songwriters who speak-sing, it is always the lyrics what makes the difference. Fossati is a committed, intellectual songwriter, and his analysis of contemporary society's ills are always rewarding ("Il Paese Dei Testimoni"), and his dissections of personal disarray are always moving ("D'amore non Parliamo Più"). At his best, as in "Last Minute," he manages to integrate both the personal and the political; at his worst, as in "La Guerra Dell'Acqua" he may come off as trite or pedantic. All in all, Musica Moderna will certainly not disappoint Fossati's fans. While it may not be one of his most innovative works, it is undeniably a very consistent collection of trademark Ivano Fossati songs.

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