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Lorenzo 1994

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Album Review

Lorenzo 1994 is an expanded and improved follow-up to the successful blueprint of Jovanotti's previous album Lorenzo 1992. If the 1992 album relaunched his commercial career and finally gained him critical recognition, Lorenzo 1994 definitively established Jovanotti as one of the biggest Italian pop stars of his generation, and consolidated his new image as an intelligent, passionate, and politically engaged songwriter. The musical influences, styles, and supporting cast (Saturnino, Michele Centonze, Enrico La Falce, Luca Cersosimo) remained virtually unchanged from the previous album. The key difference, however, was the material. Quite simply, up to this point Jovanotti had never come up with a batch of songs as good as this. The album included at least three big hit singles, "Penso Positivo," "Serenata Rap," and "Piove." These songs and their respective videos not only took the Italian airwaves and chart lists by storm, but also managed to introduce Jovanotti to foreign audiences, especially in Europe and Latin America. Indeed, in both continents, the video for "Serenata Rap," as charming, unaffected, and as disarmingly sincere as the song it inspired it, became one of the year's most played. Blissfully devoid of melodrama or machismo (in how many love songs do we hear praise for the girl in question because, among so many things, she is also intelligent?), "Serenata Rap" updates all the good old lover's serenade tropes into a contemporary setting, both musically and thematically. It remains the definitive Jovanotti's love song, and arguably one of the greatest expositions on contemporary urban romance. Besides the obvious hits, Lorenzo 1994 has a fair share of strong album tracks, such as the customary rap attack "Attaccami la Spina" and the extraordinary autobiographical narrative "Mario," where Jovanotti reminisces about his father taking him to the Aldo Moro's bodyguards funeral. A portrait of a generational divide that discovers common ground in the fostering of civic responsibility and a historical conscience, "Mario" is the most moving and articulate political statement of the record (and perhaps of the entire Jovanotti discography) — certainly much more so than the frantic, logorrheic, better-known incendiary manifesto such as "Penso Positivo." As it is the case with many hip-hop albums (or pop albums from the '90s onwards, for that matter), Lorenzo 1994's main flow is its excessive length. While the record is consistently good, some tracks are unnecessary or repetitive, and many a lyric could be abridged. One feels that if Jovanotti had edited Lorenzo 1994 down to ten tracks, it would have been his masterpiece. At 18 tracks, it has to settle for being one of the best albums he ever made.


Born: 27 September 1966 in Rome, Italy

Genre: Pop

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

Jovanotti was arguably the most important figure to emerge in Italian pop music since the late '80s. Whereas only a chosen few could match him in terms of achievements and popularity (Ligabue) or domestic record sales (Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti), these have typically worked within fairly canonical genres (rock music, conventional romantic fare), while Jovanotti could also be credited for almost single-handedly introducing rap, funk, and (later in his career) different strands of world music...
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