Ligabue like you didn't think you'd hear it

Ligabue like you didn't think you'd hear it

The ninth of Ligabue has as its title “Goodbye, monster!” and was released on May 11, 2010. Coincidentally (whether intended or not) the album was released exactly twenty years later the homonymous debut album by the musician from Correggio. “With 'Goodbye, Monster!' I intend to say goodbye to some fears and anxieties of the past,” she said at the time Luciano Ligabue. This is the review he wrote for us Daniela Calvi.

Being an artist of the caliber of Luciano Ligabue can't be easy, especially at this point, with twenty years of career behind him, sold out concerts everywhere, singles that are always spot on, albums, like “Lambrusco & Popcorn” or “Buon Elvis birthday”, which entered the history of Italian music. What's not easy about all this? There's the fact that over the years we need to maintain a certain credibility, there's that the wait for new records by the press and fans is increasingly pressing, there's that – as Liga itself says – the more we expose ourselves the more you risk being judged.
And so here we are, doing our job as Ligabue does his: he publishes records, we wait to review them, and this time, the person writing to you has taken the time to listen to the record over and over again, so it will no longer be a first impression, but it will be an evaluation (what a hateful term!), dictated by a more in-depth analysis.

The album always starts with the aggressive guitars (which after a few listens seem less intrusive compared to the sonic impact of a first passage) of “When you canterai la tua canzone”, a tortuous piece due to the jolts of the rhythm section, dominated by a voice sometimes in the foreground, other times whispered, as when he recites – perhaps addressing his son Lenny – “but you choose between punches and rhymes, and you choose between the beginning and the end, and you choose, but you choose first”. We continue between love songs such as the beautiful but ordinary, typically Liga style “There have always been”, a sentimental ballad as ours knows how to write, where at the end, in addition to a long guitar solo by Corrado Rustici (producer of entire album), there is an emotional peak when Liga closes in the verse a speech made at the beginning of the song: “the more I look at you, the less I understand what lap you've taken, now a whole other lap starts, and I've already said everything”.

There are songs which, it's true, you would never expect from Liga, and which perhaps – and he is the first to say it – are a bit an end in themselves, like an outburst against everything and everyone in the form of a letter-song to his friend always Francesco Guccini. A song, “Caro il mio Francesco”, which leaves no room for interpretation and only makes you think, after a few seconds, that the songwriting formula of the song in the style of “L'avvelenata”, does not do much justice to Ligabue, who perhaps would have grasped more on target by singing it in his own way.

Another song that leaves you breathless due to the amazement, or perhaps the disbelief of those who listened to it, is “When you come to get me”, a song dedicated to the tragedy in Brussels which saw a boy enter a kindergarten and kill a teacher and two children.

The text is full of sensations and movements, Ligabue for the first time makes a child speak, with the same words and the same thoughts that he might actually have: he makes him have breakfast (“in the morning my stomach closes”), he takes him to nursery school in the car (“the milk is coming up and I'm starting to worry”), she takes him to the teacher (“today she seems more nervous”) and makes him pray that his mother will surprise him that day and come pick him up early (“when does school end? when will we go home together again?”): heartbreaking, this seven-minute long piece is heartbreaking. One of those songs that makes you wonder if it's better not to write them, of course, but to publish them. So touching, so raw, that perhaps it would have been better to publish it in a future book, rather than give it voice and music and put it on a record.

The rest of the album proceeds normally, between guitar playing and choruses as for the single “Un colpo all'anima” (also presented in a more than convincing acoustic version), between first rock and then swing arrangements, as in the case of the fun and light-hearted “Taca banda”, where Liga's son plays on the drums, or simple and immediate songs like “Act of faith”, characterized by backbeats on the verses, or Springsteen's “Nel tempo”, a song dedicated to the fifty years of Liga which retraces his half century of life through images and memories, characterized by accelerations, powerful rhythmic sections and counterchoirs that enhance some passages of the text.

The best songs are certainly “The weight of the suitcase”, a poem written some time ago by Liga and which he wanted to put in the form of a song on the album, arranged in a delicate and composed way, which leaves its mark once it passes due to the tenderness and of the sensitivity contained in lyrics and music, and “The truth is a choice”, perhaps the one with the hardest and most different arrangement than usual, but which invades with the right power due to an immediate refrain, a song that will split in two the public, those who will hate it and those who will love it from the first listen, and we, who are beyond a first listen, promote it with flying colours.

Here it is, Ligabue's new album: a homogeneous album in terms of arrangements, but different in intentions and contents. The album arrived to the public – and also to the press – about ten days ago: we hope you have heard it and then decided for yourself whether or not to be pampered by the usual Ligabue, or to open your eyes and ears wide in front of a rocker with some one more experience to tell, like you didn't think you'd hear it.