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La teoria dei colori

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Album Review

After a very successful first decade with Warner, capped off by 2010's double-disc compilation 1999-2000: The Greatest Hits, Cesare Cremonini released his fourth solo album, La Teoria dei Colori, for Universal in 2012. Listening to both this new album and the compilation side by side is an excellent way to realize that, if Cremonini does not introduce any significant changes to his style (tellingly, he has worked with the same producer, Walter Mameli, for his entire career), he has truly perfected the formula, for any of these 11 songs could conceivably hold its own among the greatest hits. Indeed, La Teoria dei Colori is Cremonini's most mature and consistent work to date. What is perhaps most remarkable is that, even if Cremonini seems to sing exclusively about love, he manages to find the right balance between texts and music to steer clear of maudlin. No small feat, considering that a quick look at the list of titles can be cringe-inducing, as it reveals that songs called "Amor Mio," "I Love You," "Non Ti Amo Più," or "Una Come Te" are all included on the same album. Never fear, Cremonini gets out of trouble admirably, treating even the coyest of ballads with the appropriate lightness of touch and an endearing voice, and dressing his sentimental queries with engaging arrangements and melodies — cases in point, the gorgeous "L'uomo Che Viaggia Fra le Stelle" or "Tante Belle Cose." Furthermore, La Teoria dei Colori is a joyful, upbeat album with lyrics that are not necessarily happy, as Cremonini typically assigns his most bitter texts to the bubbliest tracks ("Stupido a Chi?," "Non Ti Amo Più"), and his sweetest words to the quieter moments ("Tante Belle Cose.") Musically, he has always strived for a synthesis of popular Italian song and British rock, sort of the San Remo/Cantautori tradition-meets-'60s Beat, as in the intro and background vocals of "Una Come Te," one of many good examples to be found on this album. Many songs are midtempo numbers that follow a similar pattern, beginning with piano or acoustic guitar, which then gain momentum as swirling string sections and throbbing Brit-pop guitars are introduced, often with a subtle cushion of electronica in the background. Nowhere is this better realized than in the opening track and first single, "Il Comico (Sai Che Risate)," which swiftly became one of the smash hits of the 2012 summer in Italy. One of Cremonini's finest creations, it also serves as a perfect encapsulation of his musical influences and lyrical preoccupations, as it combines elements of two of his most popular songs (the main character from "Il Pagliaccio" and the childhood sweetheart who sadly grew up into a very different person, from Lunapòp's "Qualcosa di Grande"), into a sweeping tale that is arguably better than either. Beautifully crafted and featuring a batch of songs that all turn out to be growers, La Teoria dei Colori is as fine an album of melodic singer/songwriter-Italian pop as you will hear in 2012.


Born: 27 March 1980 in Bologna, Italy

Genre: Pop

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

Italian singer/songwriter Cesare Cremonini is a diverse, chart-topping pop artist who found his voice as a writer at a very young age. He began playing piano around the age of six and began writing his own songs and poetry in earnest around the age of 11, seeking an outlet for adolescent frustrations. At the age of 12 he was given a Queen record, and he quickly came to idolize the band. He strove throughout his young adult years to put his poetry to music and learn to communicate through song. After...
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La teoria dei colori, Cesare Cremonini
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