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


Lucio Battisti


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2.60 | 27 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.


VanVanVan | 2/5 |


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