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Maneskin Revolution – Il Sole 24 ORE

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“At the age of twenty everything is still whole”, sang Guccini in 1978 in what was the lasting Manifesto for the twenty-year-olds of the time (who were looking for ways to escape from the ideological chains of the years of lead) and then of at least two subsequent generations. “Eskimo”, a country-folk song, on the stream of the longest-lived musical revolutionary of the twentieth century, Bob Dylan. At the age of twenty, the Måneskins exploded like the mercury of a thermometer thrown on a boiling radiator. It all happened very quickly and neither Sanremo nor Eurovision had anything to do with it, on the contrary both festivals found their way back largely thanks to them. “Twenty years” is also the title of the last song of “Teatro d’Ira Vol.1”, ideally a concept album (as used in the golden age of progressive rock, which the fab four are inspired by) which marks a passage in our history.

Nobody talks about it, because musical chroniclers are generally intent on pointing their gaze and pen on the Måneskin phenomenon, on the Måneskin costume, on the Måneskin success. All things you don’t need a newspaper for, Instagram or Twitter are enough. Music criticism (which in other latitudes is still represented by giants like Greil Marcus and Ashley Kahn) disappeared from newspapers years ago. The breaking latest news of entertainment and free time focuses on copy-paste from Instagram and at most wobbles on rhetorical questions that have little impact on the reader’s conscience: are these young people really rock? Do they really play something new? As one wonders if Dylan, who sacked the work of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, was an inconsistent and not very innovative author simply because he founded his music on the musical repertoire of the period of the Great Depression.

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If we try to pass from the reading of the phenomenon to the phenomenology (the way we know what is manifested, that is, the phenomenon) of the Måneskin, we can ask ourselves some new questions. Let’s start with “Twenty years” then. A song (his video is equally important) in which there is all the reason for this success AND all the quality that helped to generate it. “Twenty years” plays mainstream ballad rock but hides other poetics, in particular the stylistic features of the Italian light and author song, which in turn owes a lot to American folk-rock. Frenzied electrification is not the key to Måneskin’s success, if they did an acoustic album tomorrow they would be even more disruptive. Because they are twenty years old and they are beautiful like this, without retouching. Because they are different, because they have become mainstream in a few months precisely by evolving in open contrast to the Darwinist cultural dogma (homologation to the dominant pop-trap taste, to ephemeral success regardless, to money, to power, to social fancies).

Let’s look at the question of more or less mature texts

At twenty, the lyrics of a song must be urgent, not mature. It is perfectly sewn, in its metric, to the music, with the care of a Neapolitan tailor. And they are needlepoint tailors. Now it’s time for the sliding Doors: the four are already at the top of the Gaussian curve of success, science tells us that they will go down and then (eventually) rise. Let us hope, given the importance they may have for the culture of our now peripheral country, that they do so by bringing to the world our extraordinary and unrecognized musical heritage of the twentieth century and beyond (the songwriting, even the folk one, with which , among many, Leonard Cohen). Rock stars like Springsteen (with the Seeger Sessions), pop stars like Miley Cyrus (Backyard Sessions), jazz icons like Bill Frisell (Nashville) did it at home. The Maneskins have the quality and the flair to tackle our musical literature and David, naturally more in tune than the vast majority of international pop stars (not to mention the trap brays), knows how to use his voice in a (don’t take offense) wisely and mature. Everyone also knows how to use the body in a semantically conscious and free way. Pure Zeitgeist, without compromise. So much so that cinema (see Harry Styles), bookstores and boutiques will knock on the Måneskin phenomenon very soon.

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Here is the Måneskin revolution, which has nothing to do with any novelties (but rather with quality) of a stylistic, aesthetic or musical poetic nature. The Måneskin revolution has already made it in their twenties, with the way they presented themselves to the world. And with the circumstances that allowed it. And it is a right revolution, which eliminates at least a decade of homologation of those who, at the age of twenty, think according to the wishes of the producers of fifty, in the easy search for consensus and success. Today’s record companies, like the shadows (and like the musical chroniclers), feed on fear of risk, a phobia towards the imagination and towards everything that is different. Words such as identity, freedom and new, which we use to weigh the value and talent of the Måneskin, have interchangeable blade and handle and should be used as little as possible. And on the theme of the new in Måneskin’s music, we remember that, when we change the world, we are always sitting on the shoulders of giants. In the end, the only real question remains that linked to their destiny: will they (metaphorically) follow the fate of Ettore, a twenty-year-old hero who gave up everything (except eternity) for his principles or will they end up like Buffalo Bill, hero of the New world that ended its earthly affair, stage belt and blank pistol, following the circus?

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