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Sempre Lontano

Nina Zilli

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Album Review

Sempre Lontano, the full-length album debut by soul-pop singer Nina Zilli, includes all eight of the songs from her debut EP, Nina Zilli (2009), plus four new ones. While Zilli's debut EP wasn't a big hit, it trumpeted the emergence of a feel-good soul-pop singer with a retro style that harks back to the '60s, drawing from Motown-style R&B and Phil Spector-style pop as well as ska reggae. Granted, ever since Amy Winehouse struck gold with Back to Black (2006), there has been no shortage of retro soul-pop singers in Europe, but Zilli does it better than most. It helps that she puts her influences up front for all to see. "L'Amore Verrà" is a spirited Italian-language cover of the Supremes' 1966 classic "You Can't Hurry Love," for instance, while "Come Il Sole" appropriates the opening beat from the Ronettes' 1963 perennial "Be My Baby." It helps also that each of her songs has its own unique characteristics. Her debut single, "50mila," includes harmony vocals by Giuliano Palma of the like-minded cover band Giuliano Palma & the Bluebeaters. Another of the highlights from her debut EP, "L'Inferno" is decked out in sha-la-la backup vocals and a great horn arrangement. As for the four new songs exclusive to Sempre Lontano, far and away the best is "L'Uomo Che Amava le Donne," an orchestrated pop number that is quite different in style from anything from her debut EP. The other three new songs are good if not truly great, which makes Sempre Lontano a questionable purchase for anyone who already has Zilli's debut EP in their collection.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Nina Zilli is an Italian soul-pop singer whose full-length album debut, Sempre Lontano, was a Top Five hit upon its release in 2010. Born Maria Chiara Fraschetta on February 2, 1983, in Piacenza, Italy, she made her commercial recording debut as a solo artist in 2009 with the single "50 Mila," a collaboration with Giuliano Palma. Nina Zilli (2009), an eponymous eight-track EP, was released a couple months later on Universal Music. The EP showcased a range of styles, from R&B and reggae to Motown...
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Sempre Lontano, Nina Zilli
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