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Chocabeck (Italian Version) [Italian Version]

Zucchero

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Album Review

Zucchero's absurdly successful career has been built around the combination of all-too-Italian histrionics and his passion for African-American music. As many extroverted entertainers before him, as the decades went by there was always the inherent risk of his one day turning into a parody of his own persona. Signs of a newfound maturity were already visible in his last studio offering, 2006's Fly, but in 2010's Chocabeck he fully reaches an understated grandeur. A concept album of sorts, loosely describing one day from dawn to dusk in a small Italian town not unlike the ones of the singer's childhood, this beautiful, autumnal cycle of songs works quite differently from Zucchero's standard proposition of a few instant hits and a lot of raunchy filler. The first three songs, for instance, constitute almost a mini-suite of quiet, hymn-like ballads that set the mood for most of the album. It certainly helps that the opener, "Un Soffio Caldo," has lyrics by the great Francesco Guccini, or that is immediately followed by the album's centerpiece "Il Suono Della Domenica," with lyrics by Bono translated into Italian, while the third one, "Soldati Nella Mia Città," is reminiscent of Francesco de Gregori. It is only when the day reaches noon that loud guitars and soul background vocals come back to announce a double dose of old-school Zucchero, with the first single, "E un Peccato Morir," and the compulsory double entendre joke "Vedo Nero." The remainder of the album is split between more atmospheric ballads and midtempo numbers, but the reigning sensation is one of melancholy, not in the least because the last three tracks progressively slow things down, drawing closed a perfect circle. As is customary with Zucchero's productions, the list of collaborators is both impressive and key to the album's success. Co-writers, for instance, include Pacifico and Roland Orzabal, the aforementioned Bono and Guccini, and Zucchero regulars such as composer Mimmo Cavallo and lyricist Pasquale Panella. Brian Wilson sings multiple harmonies on the title track, and Don Was and Brendan O'Brien produce. For all of their input, what is most remarkable about Chocabeck is its stylistic and thematic consistency and, of course, Zucchero's emotive singing. Surprisingly for an artist so long associated with raucous fun, this is a work that often achieves a certain stately elegance. Far from a spent creative force, Zucchero looks like an artist capable of reinventing himself in a poignant and dignified manner. Buyers beware: as has typically been the case since Zucchero achieved international stardom, the Italian, European, and American versions of Chocabeck will differ. Instead of "Il Suono Della Domenica," the European version includes the original Bono English lyrics for the same song, titled "Someone Else's Tears." The American version will be sung entirely in English, with two songs featuring new lyrics penned by Iggy Pop, "Too Late" and "Spirit Together" ("Alla Fine" and "Chocabeck" in the Italian CD). This review concerns the Italian edition.

Customer Reviews

Chocobeck

Great album! I am English speaking but still get a lot of enjoyment from this album. He uses English along with the Italian in his music. He has a beautiful voice and the songs are very moving. This is one of the best albums ever. It appeals to everyone. Awesome!

Chocabeck

An excellent selection of Blues Rock and Soul..Zucchero is a perfectionist and his mastery is evident in this wonderful CD. Passion is at the core of his existence.

Chockabeck - Italian Version

I have been a fan of Zucchero for some time, and enjoy everything I listen to of his. This is the kind of music you can listen to in the background and wonder who the heck this is....easy to enjoy but special. Check out his concerts, as they are even better. Don't let the Italian version deter you - lots of English on this one, but the Italian is really what makes him special!

Biography

Born: September 25, 1955 in Roncocesi, Italy

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Adelmo Fornaciari is the talented Italian musician more commonly known to the world by his nickname, Zucchero ("Sugar"), given to him by an elementary school teacher. He began playing the guitar in his home province of Reggio Emilia, focusing on music in the blues/R&B mold. As a teenager, he founded a local band called Le Nuove Luci. After forming another group, Sugar and Candies, in 1978, Zucchero began writing as well — Italian pop songs for other artists, and more blues-oriented material...
Full bio