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Lucio Battisti - Il mio canto libero CD (album) cover


Lucio Battisti

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Disappointment after Amore

Late in 1972 Lucio Battisti released this album, recorded in Milan, which would be the biggest selling album in Italy in 1973. I do not have the album between Amore and this one, so I am missing a piece of the puzzle. Yet, "Il Mio Canto Libero" was quite a large disappointment to me after falling hard for the amazing "Amore e non Amore." While it advanced noticeably in one aspect it fell off in another more important way. Sonically the new album was quite a step for Battisti, it has a fuller, smoother professionalism and Lucio sounds so much more confident on this album than any prior one. Vocally he has improved and every arrangement sounds more natural and self-assured. I've read the lyrics from Mogol were another advancement and quite amazing on this disc. So what's the problem? I guess my argument is quite subjective here. Amore was such a unique spin that seemed to move in a progressive direction and it wowed me with the instrumental portions especially (see that review for details). Here it seems like Lucio stepped back toward the traditional, not necessarily a bad thing, but the compositions fail to move me or excite me. It all seems a bit "adult easy listening" I'm afraid and I just cannot find the greatness which other reviewers seem to. Music doesn't always have to do bash me over the head with complexity or thrills, on the contrary, but here the songs are just a tad too reserved for my taste. It flows quite evenly from track to track with stately songs, more mature, gentler, with an increased amount of orchestration. The nervous energy and punch of the previous rock tracks are gone. The title track is the strongest here with a good melody and really tasteful drum work, but it's hardly a consolation by that point. The only thing I really love about this one is the fantastic cover art, just another in a series of cover shots full of wonder and inspiration. I can't get this album to even a modest three star recommendation personally, but I realize Battisti fans will disagree----this title is beloved by many people.

Report this review (#273606)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I think Lucio Battisti is the most important and influent singer-songwriter in the history of italian pop music. It is a matter of fact that almost everyone know, whistle and sing his songs. Almost each of his albums was a mine of hits and singles.

This record is no exception: you can find two stellar pieces as the memorable title track and the deep, romantic, intimate (and favourite of mine) "Io Vorrei... Non Vorrei ... Ma Se Vuoi...". I'm listening to it right now and... hell yes, it's the best one.

"Vento nel Vento" is a small gem: it starts with soft rarefied piano and then it's a slow crescendo until orchestral explosion.

From a prog point of view the album is very frugal and not at the level of AMORE E NON AMORE, IL NOSTRO CARO ANGELO or ANIMA LATINA. "Confusione" is usually referred as a rock number but, to be honest, it is not so biting. I prefer "Gente per Bene e Gente per Male" that has some humoresque vein and, above all, the majestic "L'Aquila" based only on acoustic guitar for the first half and then expanded with somptuous orchestral movements and vocal-echoes.

Report this review (#563446)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars It pains me to give this album such a low rating, because it really is quite good. Like every Battisti album I've reviewed thus far there's not a bad song here, and as usual the vocals and instrumentation complement each other brilliantly.

Why, then, do I give this one two stars when I've given all three of his previous albums higher ratings? The problem is that this is a progressive rock website, and the average prog fan will not find much here that is even remotely related to that genre. Though Battisti's first two albums were firmly pop, they had a kind of "proto-RPI" feel to them and blended many styles together in a way that I feel most prog fans would enjoy. Battisti's third album "Amore e non Amore" was a major step forward, introducing some experimental elements that placed it firmly in the crossover-prog category.

Unfortunately, where "Amore..." was a step forward, this one feels like a bit of a step back. Most of the songs here are pretty standard, melancholic ballads. There's no trace of the extremely interesting instrumental tracks from the previous album and not a sign of any kind of desire to keep moving forward. This is a much "safer" album than "Amore..." was, and while it's still a very nice album, its prog value drops sharply as a result.

"La luce dell'est" begins the album, and it's a very nice track that makes great use of a somewhat stripped down instrumentation (primarily guitar and strings) to highlight the melancholic vocal melody, which is exceptional even by Battisti's high standards in that area. It's rather homogenous compared to some of the offerings on Battisti's previous album "Amore e non Amore."

"Luci-ah" follows, and it's more uptempo then the somewhat restrained opener. Nonetheless, I feel like it lacks a lot of the energy that made Battisti's early pop songs so charming. The chorus especially feels like it needs more behind Battisti's voice then just some minimal piano, bass, and drums. Personally I think some horn sounds could have done this song wonders. The track also features a brief choir interlude, which, while I can see what the intent probably was, just doesn't feel necessary.

"L'aquila" is another sorrow-tinged song, and one that works with the stripped down instrumentation much better then the previous two tracks did. Battisti's voice is accompanied by little more than guitar and some minimal percussion for most of the songs, though there are some understated strings toward the end as well.

"Vento nel vento" I think is easily one of the best songs on the album. Beginning with a soft piano part accompanied by vocals, a beautiful orchestra part appears about halfway through and continues to accompany through the end of the song. A wonderful emotional performance from a singer who can do emotional performances better than almost anyone else.

"Confusione" makes use of a bass and percussion part that to me almost sounds tribal. I think this is one of the more generic songs on the album, but it's certainly not bad, and the distorted guitars provide a nice sonic contrast from the strings of "Vento nel vento." The horns appear again here, but only very, very briefly towards the end.

"Io vorrei ... non vorrei ... ma se vuoi" is another very understated song, but like "L'aquila" it works very well. The use of strings as a background instrument rather than as the foremost element gives the song a very nice ambience, and the lack of heavy orchestration gives Battisti's voice room to shine, which of course it does. The man could sing a grocery list and it would still sound great. The song also goes into a nice crescendo towards the end and closes with some great soaring vocals from Battisti.

"Gente per bene e gente per male" is next, and it's a very interesting one. Battisti is joined on the track by some female vocals and that gives the song a unique feel, since Battisti rarely has any accompanying vocals. Like quite a few songs on the album, "Gente..." begins with very minimal instrumentation but gradually builds to include strings and a very nice piano part. The second part of the track serves as a great finale for the song.

I think that one of Battisti's greatest strengths is coming up with songs to close his albums that have a very "final" sort of feel to them, and the title track here is no exception. "Il mio canto libero" is infused with a sense of finality rarely found anymore at the end of albums. Like pretty much everything else on the album it's fairly melancholic sounding, though the ending of the song does have a fairly triumphant sound to it, featuring a great string and horn part accompanying the vocals.

Again, this is great music, but unless you're a fan of vintage pop on its own merits instead of on its prog-value you won't find much to like here. A very pretty, well put together album, but prog-related it is not.


Report this review (#578712)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Lucio Battisti is virtually a household name in Italy, but for some reason or another I had never heard any of his music until I stumbled upon a cheap secondhand vinyl copy of Il Mio Canto Libero. It seems like the man's massive popularity in Italy has never been extended to America, but nevertheless, Il Mio Canto Libero was a massive hit in Italy - it was actually the best selling album in the country in 1973. While I do think this is an inconsistent and often times tepid effort, it has sparked my interest in further investigating Lucio Battisti's body of work.

The music you'll find here is gentle, romantic, and emotional Italian pop with a few ventures into rock territory. While this is admittedly not a style of music that typically excites me, songs like "La luce dell'Est" and "Io vorrei. non vorrei. ma se vuoi" are simply beautiful. As a matter of fact, the pastoral and subtle portion of Il Mio Canto Libero is what I enjoy most - I wish the album didn't contain a few rather boring rock tunes like "Confusione" or the first half or so of "Gente per bene e gente per male". None of the album is poor, but I find that when Battisti delivers the more emotional tracks, his true talent shines through. The upbeat tunes just strike me as uninspired by comparison. Of course, Lucio Battisti is a gifted vocalist, and his delivery throughout the album is quite impressive. His singing is probably what most people will walk away from this album remembering.

Il Mio Canto Libero is a good album, but it strikes me as pretty average throughout the majority of its duration. There simply aren't a whole lot of great tunes here, and the inconsistent changes in mood between songs leads to a rather disjointed album flow. Still, the production is great, the vocals are impressive, and the musicianship is professional, so 3 stars are fair here. While I wasn't blown away by Il Mio Canto Libero, I'm curious to hear other albums from Lucio Battisti.

Report this review (#589829)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink

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