Renato Zero


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One of the most eagerly anticipated Italian albums of 2009, Renato Zero's Presente is the first release by a major Italian artist to be made, sold, and distributed directly from the artist to the public. The music, on the other hand, does not introduce any radical changes from Zero's recent output: wordy expositions urging people to defend the freedom to be whoever you want to be (in political, personal, or sexual terms), and to stand defiant against any possible sources of oppression, all set to heavily textured midtempo tracks constructed around keyboards and electronic instruments, reminiscent of late-'70s and early-'80s music. In this lengthy 17-track collection, Zero aims to keep things interesting by introducing a few piano ballads, one ska and one bossa nova-tinged number, a cameo by Mario Biondi's unmistakably deep voice, and a lullaby as a bonus track. The bottom line, however, is that, as is often the case with this most idiosyncratic of Italian artists, your enjoyment of Presente will squarely depend on your tolerance for Zero's voice and lyrics. Fans will find it inspiring and entrancing; detractors, pompous and droning. Presente went on to became one of Zero's biggest commercial hits, reaching triple platinum status within a week of its release and staying strong for the entire year and beyond.

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