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

LA VOCE DEL PADRONE

Franco Battiato

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.49 | 35 ratings

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jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Helped by Giusto Pio in the arrangements and by a musical ensemble capable of combining melodic symphonism with commercial sound, Franco Battiato showed his strong talent for melody, and an almost impudent creativity in putting together cultured with popular quotations, in "La Voce del Padrone" (The Master's Voice: only seven songs and 31 minutes) that became a bestseller that has made the history of Italian pop (symphonic?) music. La Voce del Padrone was in fact a case not only musical but cultural because it has agreed public and critical and it has sold over one million records, surpassing every italian record, ranking over a year.

"Summer On A Solitary Beach" (4:34) is a beautiful start, with the waves of the sea and the keyboards in the background that gradually rise in volume and evoke a crowded beach, not solitary. Then comes a good rhythm, which then slows down in the refrain, which will remain the highest moment of the album. Tail with a sax solo (Pascoli). It's a Battiato classic. Small masterpiece. Vote 8.

"Bandiera Bianca" (White Flag, 5:19) is a sarcastic ballad, hymn style, with cynical text of social and musical satire (insulted Beethoven, Sinatra, Vivaldi). The quotes are endless and the language passes from the educated (Marcuse) to the jargon. The choir (Madrigalists of Milano) is goliardic, ruffian music. Good instrumental tail, with vibraphone (Scolese). Second classic, Vote 7,5.

"Gli Uccelli" (Birds, 4:43) is wonderful. After a symphonic beginning, punctuated by a simple but beautiful melody, the song starts on the acoustic background, then enter the drums (Golino) and the bass (Donnarumma), to bring it on the ground of the pop ballad with danceable rhythm. Tail at accelerated speed. The arrangement is excellent, thanks to master Giusto Pio. Another small masterpiece. Third classic. Vote 8. End of side A.

Side B starts with"Cuccurucuc¨" (untraslatable, 4:09), track propelled by a disco rhythm from the beginning to the end; it's perhaps the least interesting track, the most functional for radio programming. The text is an association of political, social ("The erotic gestures of squaw Skin of the Moon") and musical citations from the theater of the absurd, that have done history in Italy: "Lady Madonna, I Can Try, With a little Help From My Friends, Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, Come on Baby Let's Twist Again, Once Upon A Time You Dressed So Fine, Mary, Like Just A Woman, Like A Rolling Stone". Fourth classic. Vote 7.

After comes "Segnali Di Vita"(Signals of Life, 3:37), perhaps the least known of the album, the one that represents the typical minor piece. Yet it has an excellent classical contrasting section. Good orchestral ending. Vote 7+.

"Centro Di GravitÓ Permanente" (Permanent Center of Gravity, 3:55) is the masterpiece of the album, mixing text of the absurd with cultured quotations, a title that is a manifesto of thought ("I'm looking for a permanent center of gravity that will not make me change my mind about things and people"), and a relaxed but carefully arranged rhythm. Here we can listen to the electric guitars (Radius), percussion, and sounds similar to trumpet. It's the peak of the album that manages to be cultured, smart and commercial. Fifth classic. Vote 8+.

"Il Sentimento Nuevo" (The New Feeling, 4:18), vote 7+, is an electronic ballad with another strange text ("The tantric shivaism of Dionysian style.... The mythical desires of Libyan prostitues, The sense of possession that was pre-Alexandrian"); it has a very pimping pace, but with taste, and celebrates erotic love. Sixth classic. Battiato continues to associate sacred and profane, both in music and in texts, with extreme ease. The associations of words that he makes were completely unpublished. One more song would have been useful to make the album more consistent, but Battiato was required to produce records for half an hour.

And it was a great success. Young people and adults came together to sing these melodic and danceable songs with texts completely unpredictable and difficult to understand, full of quotes that almost nobody knew how to identify. The ultimate in snobbish and cultured lyrical taste combined with the utmost popular taste of music. The perfect synthesis of intelligence, pop easy to listen and good classical melodies.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,61. Vote album: 7,5/8. Three Stars.

jamesbaldwin | 3/5 |

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