Antonella Ruggiero

Sospesa

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AllMusic Review by

The single biggest problem with Italian pop music in the '90s was how bland much of it was. Without having a distinct voice in the international pop market, much of their music sounded like watered-down British and American pop. A few performers managed to survive this period because of the sheer force of their musical personality, and one of these musicians is Antonella Ruggiero. She came into the 21st century with a gorgeous voice, several good songs, and a charisma that carried over into her recordings. Take the opening track on Sospesa, "Inafferrabile." The track itself is nothing exceptional, but Ruggiero's strong, distinct voice punctuates every roll of the tongue and subtle nuance. It is her fiery vocals that truly makes this album soar past the limitations of the songwriting. Bringing to mind the solo work of Sarah Brightman crossed with Post-era Björk, Sospesa is a collection of pleasant surprises. Just when a track seems like it might be the first bad song, she kicks up her efforts and at least turns it into an average song. Luckily, she takes this approach with even her best material, resulting in songs like the soaring title track or the sample-happy "Mille Molecole." Because so much of the album is underwritten, there are some boring moments. A great voice can't improve everything, and that is definitely the case with songs like "1999." Overall, Ruggiero has a good sound and a wonderful voice, but as of this album she did not have the right material to make a truly great record.

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