Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sanremo and the Italian "Passion"

I didn't really pay much attention to the Sanremo Music Festival going on this past weekend, and I did not find out about the winner--Roberto Vecchioni's "Chiamami Ancora Amore"--until after the fact. To me, it's like a condensed season of American Idol with more reliable and better performers. However, after listening to the winning song, I am definitely hooked. Poetic, powerful, emotional, and quivering in anger and energy, the song embodied that typical Italian passion without resorting to the syrupy melodramatic overtones of typical Italian pop.

The Italian representative to this year's Eurovision on the other hand was also poetic, but succumbed to the stereotypical romantic passion. It has little of the passion in Vecchioni's song, but has all the Italian charm, slick, and sickly romance expected of anything "Italian". The song even features high notes meant to represent overwhelming passion, even though Gualazzi just yells through them. I heard the song first while sitting at a restaurant in Siena and remembered liking the song, until the screaming bits.

I guess the Italians feel compelled to throw this piece in to the Eurovision competition because it "represents" Italian "passion", and gives the best chance for winning the competition. But the song is trite and contrived. I would have gone for Vecchioni's song, but who wants politics, poetry, and philosophy in a fluff event like the Eurovision?

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