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Franco Battiato - La Voce Del Padrone CD (album) cover

LA VOCE DEL PADRONE

Franco Battiato

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.56 | 26 ratings

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andrea
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "La voce del padrone" was one of the Italian "top sellers" of the eighties and had a profound influence on the Italian pop scene. So, at length, Battiato's years of obscure hard work resulted in considerable commercial success and financial rewards. In this album Franco Battiato achieved a perfect balance between his new "pop-rock vein" and his "prog roots": "La voce del padrone" was recorded with the help of an excellent group of musicians and it sounds fresh and easy without being banal...

The opener "Summer on a solitary beach" begins with the sound of the waves on a beach, the rhythm is sprightly with keyboards in "new wave style" and Caludio Pascoli's sax in the forefront. The verses contrasts with the melancholic refrain. "Sea, sea, sea I want to drown / Carry me away to be wrecked / Away, away, away, from these shores / Carry me away on the waves." Battiato's lyrics are weird and "experimental" as usual but here the result is pleasant and funny. A great pop song with a strange "summer flavour".

The following "Bandiera Bianca" ("White flag") is a pop song that features a peculiar choir in the refrain giving to it an "odd effect". The title quote a poem of Arnaldo Fusinato ("The last hour of Venice") written in 1948 when the city of Venice surrendered itself to the Austrian army. "To you Venice the last song, the last kiss, the last cry. Our voices are gone / The disease rages on / We haven't got bread / On the deck waves white flag". But Battiato's lyrics deal with a less tragic surrender in an ironic and clever way, the surrender to the music business and to the society of the consumes. (By the way, PFM recorded a version of this song in their album "Live in Japan").

"Gli uccelli" is by far my favourite track in this album, almost a little hidden "prog oasis" in the "pop desert" of the eighties. Suggestive the piano and orchestra introduction and the instrumental final "crescendo". Lyrics invite to reflection describing the flights of the birds drawing "codes of existential geometry" and fit perfectly a music unexpectedly "complex" for a pop album.

"Cuccurucucu" is light and easy and the peculiar use of the choir (a kind of trademark of this album) comes back. Lyrics are funny nonsense, they keep jumping from one thing to another and in the end they "switch" from Italian to English just quoting titles of famous songs. "Lady Madonna I can try / With a little help from my friends / Oh goodbye Ruby Tuesday / C'mon baby let's twist again / One upon a time you dressed so fine, Mary / Like just a woman / Like a rolling stone". It was a smashing hit and it remains one of the best known songs of this artist, although not the "deepest" one.

"Segnali di vita" (Signals of life) is more calm and "metaphysical". Lyrics are about the desire of changing and the awareness of the immensity of the universe, while the music has a "slightly classical touch" . "Time changes many things in the life / The meaning, the friendships, the opinions / What a wish of change I'm feeling inside me / You feel the need of your own evolution / Getting away from the common rules / From this false personality."

The last two tracks are more in the pop-vein with "hermetic" lyrics and catchy melodies and refrains. "Centro di gravità permanente" features again the use of the choir to give emphasis to the refrain, while "Sentimiento Nuevo" features a relaxed and "exotic" rhythm and an interesting interaction between guitar, keyboards and vibraphone.

In the whole a good album, although not essential from a "prog point of view".

andrea | 3/5 |

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