Calcutta: however you interpret it, you risk being wrong

Calcutta: however you interpret it, you risk being wrong

May 25, 2018 is the date it is published “Evergreen” the third album by Edoardo D'Erme in art Calcutta. We remember the anniversary by re-proposing our review of the album.

“Evergreen” represents an important test for Calcutta, which two years ago, thanks to the success of “Mainstream”, without even realizing it found itself invested with the difficult task of taking “indie” by the arm and accompanying it into “pop”.

He could have told how it feels to go from being a complete stranger playing his songs on the stages of Pigneto to becoming the emblem of the new generation of Italian music. He could have made fun of the purists of the Italian “underground” scene, who on several occasions accused him of having “killed indie”, churning out a record of chart-topping hits in the style of “Cosa mi manchi a fare” and “Oroscopo”. Instead, with “Evergreen” the Latina singer-songwriter seems to take a small step to the side, disorienting as only a master of trolling can disorient.

When he began to clear his head and put in order the material he had accumulated, when it came time to start working on the successor to “Mainstream” Edoardo gave himself only one rule: to avoid ending up remaking Calcutta.

And he respected it. In “Evergreen” you will not find the new “Cosa mi manchi a fare”, “Gaetano” and “Frosinone”. This new album seems less immediate and more complex than the 2015 album. Not so much in terms of writing, because the style remains more or less that of “Mainstream”: lyrics characterized by a disposition towards reflection, by a sense of malaise and of bewilderment, from a mix of sweetness and bitterness – “You asked me for a deep orgasm / perhaps the deepest in the world / but you gave me your back”, he sings in “Orgasm”. Above all in terms of arrangements and sounds: unlike those of “Mainstream”, which were quite immediate and direct, with melodies that immediately stuck in your head, the songs of “Evergreen” do not aim to capture you easily, but they require more than one listen to spark. And they don't always succeed: the three singles that preceded the album, “Orgasmo”, “Pesto” and “Paracetamol”, are certainly the strongest pieces, the ones with the catchiest (and paracule) melodies. “Briciole” is an unusual song to open an album, a piece with a very 60s sound, almost whispered; the drums of “Kiwi” are very Britpop and the chorus is in pure Oasis style, shouted: “Wooo, dog world / you mind your own business”; “Saliva” and “Hübner” are two ballads that recall the more intimate songs of “Mainstream” (such as “Milano”, “Limonata” and “Le boats”), but they risk remaining a bit in the background.

In more than one passage you get the impression that Calcutta is really making fun of you.

Often songs start out in a certain way and end up taking unexpected directions, with abrupt changes in direction. Take “Paracetamol” itself, which right at the most beautiful point, after the second chorus, risks turning into a dark and dark ballad: “Singing of a seagull, inside my hand / if we are on the subway or on the train I don't care / I feel the Mediterranean Sea inside this radio / please, take it easy if you hold me like this.”. The effect is alienating, especially at first listen. But there is no lack of touches of genius: “Rai” is the story of a guest from Calcutta on TV, on “Quelli che il calcio” (“Today is a great day, we go on television. magical moment, everything that shines above the my nose / here at Rai”). The atmosphere of the song is rather psychedelic (it seems to recreate the climate of anticipation that Calcutta breathed behind the scenes and its performance anxiety) and the orchestral arrangement is a bit reminiscent of certain Rai variety show theme songs from the '60s and '70s: a little gem that also brings a few smiles.

However you interpret it, you risk being wrong.

If you try to look for a deep and hidden meaning in his songs (and not only in the songs, but also in what Calcutta does: the gold records hanging in the toilet, the cover with him sitting among the sheep). , you run the risk of wanting to find something in it at all costs that isn't actually there: “There's nothing to understand”, he puts his hands forward, taking back exactly – perhaps voluntarily, perhaps not – the title of a song by De Gregori (and not just any song, but his response to those who accused him of excessive hermeticism). If, however, you try to interpret his songs as innocent and “neutral” “pop” songs, you risk not fully understanding them, not grasping any hidden meanings and messages. Perhaps the secret of Calcutta is precisely this, the ability to walk in balance on the border that divides the opposite poles: the trolling (which is always around the corner) and the seriousness, the genius and the recklessness, the grumpy and grumpy singer-songwriter who in interviews he answers in monosyllables and the pop star who gets photographed for the covers of cool magazines. If you think you will find here the answers to the questions you have asked yourself in recent months about Calcutta and his songs, give up immediately: this album will confuse your ideas even more.