Perché Sanremo è Sanremo! With only three weeks until the Sanremo Music Festival, juicy new details are coming thick and fast out of Italy.
On January 17 — during a closed-door, invitation-only meeting held at RAI television studios in Milan — journalists and bloggers from the country’s most important newspapers and music websites had the chance to preview the competing songs and to write down their opinions. Without a doubt, these have been among the most read articles in Italy over the last few days!
It has been an annual tradition for twenty years, and a celebrated first taste of what we might expect from the entries. As you already know, we won’t be able to hear the songs until the first performance on the stage, as required by sanremese rules and regulations.
Over two parts, we are going to report the general feelings of the press, sending our big thanks to the Italian Eurovision source Eurofestival News for sharing it with us.
— Ufficio Stampa Rai (@Raiofficialnews) January 14, 2020
Sanremo Festival 2020 Songs: Early reviews (Part one)
Judging by the reviews, it will be a very different Sanremo from earlier editions. Most of the entries are uptempo, with many songs suitable for radio channels. Ballads, which once overrun the Festival, can be counted on one hand.
At least three proposals include cursing, there will be fierce criticism of politics, and sweet songs dedicated to important figures in the family: a mother, a grandchild and a daughter.
Francesco Gabbani – “Viceversa”
The Eurovision 2017 star returns with a good-mood love song that’s very different from his two previous entries. The track builds delicately and the focal point is an earworm of a whistle. The lyrics contain many word plays that alternate between truth and the surreal.
Sample lyrics: “Ma se dovessimo spiegare in pochissime parole, il complesso meccanismo che governa l’armonia delle parole, basterebbe solamente dire senza starci troppo a ragionare, che sei tu che mi fai stare bene quando io sto male e viceversa”
English translation: “But if we had to explain in a few words, the complex mechanism that governs the harmony of words, it would be enough to say without thinking too much, that it is you who makes me feel good when I’m sick and vice versa”
Anastasio – “Rosso di rabbia”
The X Factor Italy winning rapper is one of the most anticipated acts for 2020 — last week he was joint second in the odds. His song speaks to the anger of an entire generation. Spurred on by critics, he will fight for the top spot. Among the press many assigned him a 10, the highest vote. It’s a raw, angry rap number merged with rock music.
Sample lyrics: “C’ho 21 anni posso ancora permettermi di incazzarmi / La mia rabbia non volevo sprecarla così / Panico panico/ Sto dando di matto/ Qualcuno mi fermi, fate presto / Per favore, per pietà”
English translation: “I’m 21, I can still afford to get pissed / I didn’t want to waste my anger / Panic panic / I’m freaking out / Someone stop me, hurry up / Please, for pity’s sake”
Giordana Angi – “Come mia madre”
The Italian-French singer-songwriter seems to be the biggest disappointment of this edition. Her entry is a slow one, with heartfelt but predictable lyrics on a theme already sung about several times in Sanremo since the 1950s: love for mom. She received several very low marks. But there are also those who think that, thanks to the help of the orchestra, her entry will move the audience.
Sample lyrics: “Dammi la borsa che è troppo pesante. Non puoi fare sempre tutto da sola, di persone ce ne sono tante ma col tuo cuore ce n’è una sola / Se un giorno fossi mamma, vorrei essere come mia madre / Ti chiedo scusa se non ti ho mai detto quanto ti voglio bene”
English translation: “Give me the bag, it’s too heavy. You cannot always do everything alone, there are many people but with your heart there is only one / And if one day I was a mother, I would like to be like my mother / I apologize if I never told you how much I love you”
Bugo & Morgan – “Sincero”
They will be among the surprises of the Festival for almost everyone. Their number is a synthpop track reminiscent of the 1980s. It boasts with an indie refrain and lyrics on the masks that we are metaphorically forced to wear in everyday life. It is also a sincere and direct autobiography of a songwriter who is halfway through his life with many things to say and some regrets.
Sample lyrics: “Volevo essere alcolizzato, spaccare i camerini / Volevo fare il cantante di canzoni inglesi così nessuno capiva che dicevo / Odia qualcuno per stare un po’ meglio, odia qualcuno che stia meglio”
English translation: “I wanted to be an alcoholic, breaking dressing rooms / I wanted to be a singer of English songs so nobody understood what I was saying / Hate on someone to get a little better, hate on someone who feels better than you”
Diodato – “Fai rumore”
The critics are divided on the Taranto singer-songwriter’s song. For some it’s a superb work of art that will stand out. But to others it will struggle to catch a break. Piano, woodwinds and strings build to a nice crescendo, but it is not immediate.
Sample lyrics: “Sai cosa penso? Che non dovrei pensare / Non lo posso sopportare questo silenzio innaturale / Ho capito che per quanto fuggo, torno sempre da te”
English translation: “Do you know what I think? That I shouldn’t think / I can’t bear this unnatural silence / I understand that as far as I run away, I always come back to you”
Irene Grandi – “Finalmente io”
Described as a liberation hymn, it’s sung by a pair of very famous singers and songwriters in Italy — Vasco Rossi and Gaetano Curreri. The latter won Sanremo 2016 with Stadio. It’s a energetic pop-rock song full of electric guitars.
Sample lyrics: “Da sempre arrabbiata, da sempre sbagliata e ancora così / Ma quando canto… sto da Dio!”
English translation: “Always angry, always wrong and still so / But when I sing… I feel great!”
Paolo Jannacci – “Voglio parlarti adesso”
A piano ballad dedicated to a daughter and about the love that only a father can feel. Sensitivity and poetry in an entry that is perhaps too classic. Critics are not crazy about it.
Sample lyrics: “Ho visto piangere un gigante, figurarsi se non piango io / Voglio parlarti adesso / Solo per dirti che nessuno può da questo cielo in giù volerti bene più di me”
English translation: “I saw a giant cry, let alone if I don’t cry / I want to talk to you now / Just to tell you that no one from this sky down can love you more than me”
Junior Cally – “No grazie”
Surprisingly, the (former) masked rapper is among the most appreciated by journalists. His track, which is actually far from the rap genre and veering more towards rock, will make people talk. Controversy is assured because the lyrics are filled with references to politicians Matteo Salvini, Matteo Renzi and also the political party Movimento 5 Stelle.
Sample lyrics: “Spero si capisca che odio il razzista, che pensa al Paese ma è meglio il mojito / E pure il liberista, di centro sinistra, che perde partite e rifonda il partito / Dovrei puntare il dito contro e fare il populista / Non fare niente tutto il giorno e proclamarmi artista”
English translation: “I hope you understand that I hate the racist, who thinks of the country but the mojito is better / And also the liberal, from the center-left, who loses matches and rebuilds the party / I should point the finger and be a populist / Do nothing all the day and proclaim myself an artist)”
Elettra Lamborghini – “Musica (E il resto scompare)”
Branded the earworm of this year’s edition, it’s in the reggaeton genre with Latin guitar and dance rhythm. The singer plays herself at the Ariston Theatre, without changing her musical identity. The lyrics include lines in both Italian and Spanish.
Sample lyrics: “Mi piace la musica fino al mattino / Faccio un casino lo stesso / Ma non bevo vino / Ridi, cretino / La vita è corta per l’aperitivo / Innamorata di un altro cabron, esta es la historia de un amor”
English translation: “I like music until the morning / I make a mess all the same / But I don’t drink wine / Laugh, idiot / Life is short for an aperitif / In love with another asshole, this is the story of love”
Achille Lauro – “Me ne frego”
He’s another early bookies’ favourite. Unlike “Rolls Royce” in 2019, the singer doesn’t seem to hit the mark this time around. The number starts with a single guitar in support of his voice, but it immediately becomes a catchy eurodance track with vocal effects typical of that genre.
Sample lyrics: “Tu sei mia, tu sei tu, tu sei più / St’amore è una panna montata al veleno”
English translation: “You are mine, you are you, you are more / This love is poisoned whipped cream”
Levante – “Tiki Bom Bom”
The Sicilian singer-songwriter entered a mid-tempo entry dedicated to the outcasts with clear references to bullies and the LGBT community. “Tiki bom bom” is a dance that unites the four protagonists of the song. It has intriguing and committed lyrics for a simple concept: we are alone, but within us we have the strength to get up and move forward.
Sample lyrics: “Ciao tu, freak della classe, femminuccia vestito con quegli strass, prova a fare il maschio / Ciao tu, animale stanco, sei rimasto solo, non segui il branco / Balli il tango mentre tutto il mondo muove il fianco, sopra un tempo che fa tiki bom bom”
English translation: “Hi you, freak of the classroom, sissy dressed with those rhinestones, try to act like a male / Hi you, tired animal, you are alone, you don’t follow the pack / You tango while the whole world moves the hips, on a rhythm that makes tiki bom bom”
Piero Pelù – “Gigante”
The debut at the Festival of the former Litfiba’s leader doesn’t seem to meet expectations. The rock aspect that has always distinguished him somewhat remains, but his entry is harmless electronic pop dedicated to his grandson, with strange references to religion. A grandfather who has lost the verve of the past.
Sample lyrics: “Tu sei il mio Gesù, la luce sul nulla, un piccolo Buddha / Niente di proibito, tu sei benvenuto al mondo”
English translation: “You are my Jesus, the light on nothing, a little Buddha / Nothing forbidden, you are welcome to the world”
What do you make of the previews so far? Which of the above are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments. And stay with wiwibloggs to read Part Two — coming soon!