Vasco Rossi

Sono Innocente

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Vasco Rossi had to contend with a couple of health scares around 2011-2012 but, judging from 2014's Sono Innocente, he seems to have recovered well, inasmuch as he sounds as craggy and battered as he always has. Creatively he is also back at the same place of his latest records, churning out albums that will please his longtime fans but that have long ceased to surprise or engage anyone else's attention. Sono Innocente seems to promise something else, but ultimately it flatters to deceive. Rossi had hinted, both in interviews and in his latest tours, a desire to go for a harder sound, almost heavy metal-like. Such an intention is clearly announced at the onset of this record, most ostensibly in the opening title track and in "Lo Vedi," as well as in the addition of guitarist Vince Pastano and drummer Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper) to Rossi's usual crew of seasoned veterans. Upon closer listening, however, such a course does not bear scrutiny. Rossi mixes these harder-sounding tracks with a few of his trademark ballads on the first half of Sono Innocente, and then proceeds to try a little bit of everything on a second half that includes some flirting with electronica, an instrumental track, three newly recorded versions of songs released as advance singles over the previous year ("Cambia-Menti," "Dannate Nuvole," and "L'Uomo PiĆ¹ Semplice"), and two odd bonus tracks, the Angelo Branduardi-sounding "L'Ape Regina" (with lyrics by Rossi's son Davide) and "Marta Piange Ancora," a youthful composition only heard previously as a rare demo. As always, throughout the album Vasco remains true to himself to a fault: caustic, angry, bitter, and busy in a dialogue with his own past or rehashing his own legend ("Duro Incontro" and "Quante Volte" are deliberate dead ringers for "Fegato, Fegato Spappolato" and "Vita Spericolata") and generally not giving a damn about anything, not even if sometimes self-reference comes dangerously close to self-parody.