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


Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I don't know if Battiato's music can be defined progressive. Anyway, this is a good prog related album. There are many oriental influences that FB will exploit better in his later works, mainly from the middle east. The lyrics are hermetic, hard to be interpreted and there are lots of references to literature and history. There's an error in the track list: Bandiera Bianca is the correct title, and it's related to a short poetry of the middle 19th century (Bandiera Gialla was a night club in the 60s). The best tracks are "Gli uccelli" and "Segnali di vita", the two that can be defined progressive. All the others are good electronic pop. Maybe it's not essential, but it can be a good starting point for whom wants to approach Battiato's music. 3 stars
Report this review (#97503)
Posted Tuesday, November 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
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".

Report this review (#101202)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's really a beautiful album of Franco Battiato but this isn't a true prog album..It isn't as the precedents album as pollution or fetus but it is equally a valuable disc. All the songs are influenced by the classical sonorities of italian music but the composition is anyhow isn't a more complex album but have a good sound, incisive and it's likable of listening.
Report this review (#130707)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While this Battiato effort has a distinctly 1980s feel, his skill with a well turned vocal phrase or creative tune trumps the dated factor handily. It's Battiato by way of the Buggles, which means solid pop with good musicianship and skilled computer programming. This is especially evident on "Bandiera Bianca" and "Centro de Gravidade Permanente", both infectious pieces in which communication occurs at a variety of levels, not all of which I understand, but all of which I appreciate. They benefit from unusual yet catchy vocal effects.

"Gli Ucceli" is more of a romantic ambient ballad - Battiato can pull this off without sounding schmaltzy - and in fact he contrasts this nicely with a pickup in tempo for a clever instrumental outro. At times Battiato does get carried away by the technology a little, as demonstrated in "Cuccurucucu", which seems a bit cliched and a bit too robotic. "Segnali Di Vita" tries to be sultry but the saxophone doesn't really fit, and the melody is less inspiring. On the other hand, the vibraphone on the closer proves that traditional instruments can be successfully integrated into this electronic concoction.

With few exceptions, this is mostly a well crafted pop album, which, combined with the short running time, limits its rating, but like most Battiato it is so well crafted that I cannot justify awarding less than 3 stars.

Report this review (#170275)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Matthew T
4 stars His Masters Voice and does this album show that. This is the album that put Battiato on the map. It sold over a million copies in Italy and when you listen to the album it is not to difficult to understand why.

The 4th Track Cuccurucucu was a hit and it as catchy as they come.Pure Pop synth driven with the first 3 verses in Italian and the last 2 in English which is repeated and is basically song titles put together:

Lady Madonna With A Little Help from my Friend Ooh Goodbye Ruby Tuesday Come on Baby Lets Twist Again Once Upon a Time you dressed so Fine...Mary Like Just a Woman Like A Rolling Stone..stone

Silly Lyrics who cares if Police can do A Do Do Do a Dah Dah Dah why not.

Throughout this album a Male Choir is used as backing on three of the tracks the above included only on the first 4 lines of the last verse and they are used on track 2 and 6 to a really good effect. I particularly like on Centro Di Gravita Permanete a clap effect which is the main percussion with a sax drifting in and out over a good beat.

Gil Uccelli is the only progressive song on the album with almost a Celtic feel after the first vocals Franco Battiato sings in the song but then the tempo picks up it is brief but was it there. Lovely song and it really helps with the track listing on how it was placed on the album as the third song. It is obvious that Battiato thought highly of it to put it there.

The only song that really does not much for me is Track 5 Segnali di Vita but that is only my personal taste and usually we all find that one track on most albums that does not quite do it

This is a beautifully crafted pop album from 1981 and was the third album he recorded with EMI. I would play this album album to a pop fan if I was recommending Battiato to them for the reason the songs are catchy and these are the kind of albums that get people interested in these artists and before you know it they will out looking for Sulle Corde Di Aries to play.

Report this review (#222037)
Posted Saturday, June 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars On La Voce del Padrone Franco Battiato adapts to changing musical times by applying his vocal gymnastics not to traditional progressive rock of the sort deployed on his earlier albums, but instead adopts a New Wave sound which provides a compelling base for his vocals whilst at the same time offering slightly more twists and turns than more straightforward synthpop releases from the era would offer.

Perhaps the best example of this is Cuccurucucù, which combines a wide range of emotional moods and sections into a four-minute multilingual mini-epic that's crammed with musical surprises and shifts. Prog purists may pine for his early classics, but I think there's more here than immediately meets the ear if you pay close attention.

Report this review (#1184795)
Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014 | Review Permalink

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