March 8: eight women sung by Paolo Conte

March 8: eight women sung by Paolo Conte


Music and words by Paolo Conte

When the province, or the suburbs, kills. Dreams, feelings, sometimes even people. The girl remains trapped by an old-fashioned family and pulled like an accordion between warnings, threats, accusations, feelings of guilt. All in an anomalous, dark, fascinating and very complicated song also on a musical level (with a profusion of flats and diminishes). She looks like
almost an experiment, which Conte will continue to follow, with different sequence shots and a distressed voice, as if in solidarity with the protagonist.
The beginning is plaintive, accusatory: “Your mother clothed you with so many jealousies… She poured her own disappointments into you… The emptiness of your heart borders on dementia.”

Then the fake refrain that unleashes a moving waltz rippled by the resigned voice and the solo piano without bridle, which becomes the redemption, a real psychoanalytic session or, optionally, an absolution in the confessional. “No never, just a smile, one more word. No never, a look who knows, a bit of complicity. Like an accordion you let yourself be held every time but there is a silence closed in you that is more vulgar, that's how it is, it's more vulgar than spit”. Again the shaky indictment: “Your mother spoke to you while washing your shoulders, as a child you listened to her endless lies”. And the implacable closure, which also acts as a sentence: “Better to leave here and look for a city and not stay in this suburb of mine”.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

The story is that of an elderly billionaire who snatches a prostitute from the sidewalks and turns her into a great lady: “There is no more elegant lady sitting in this restaurant”.

The problem is that now he is just a mean old man accompanied by a splendid girl, a princess. “Next to you I'm nothing, right?”. And on the tango marked by the accordion the man's reflections unfold. First angrily: “No, this party is also for me who has always believed in you from the first day and again.” Then aware: “Otherwise I would have remained nothing more than a passer-by to whom one speaks informally, but look, to whom one speaks informally.” The hatred and jealousy return: “You remained what you were, a whore.” Until the final and serene resignation: “No, no, this party is all yours, otherwise all I have left is a smile, very naive paradise, dear girl”. And the accordion takes away the last sighs of the old man in a casqué that leaves only her beauty and youth standing.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

Transgressive, narrative, almost cinematic, of that painful neorealism that makes us touch the actors, the dramas, the feelings.

But this, even if you wouldn't think so, is a song, with a hypnotic approach and a final refrain with a classic and very sweet melody caressed by a path of strings, by the wind instruments of Harry's Big Band, by the percussions of Giancarlo Fracasso, by the bass of Danilo Pennone and the voice of Conte who participates, whispering so as not to be discovered, in the love elopement of the two lovers. “Thank goodness, here we are in a brightly lit hotel. There is a room for us, we who have traveled so much.” The small hotel becomes the destination of a love, like the purple ceiling of “Il cielo in una stanza” by Gino Paoli, with that familiarity of an already consummate couple experiencing a “honeymoon” which has surprisingly and sinfully become jam-packed, to recall the jars where children are caught in the act: “You prepare to live in this room as if it were a house and I wait while you put your stuff and mine in the drawers and beyond the window there is an amazing moon that look gently.” And so the honeymoon becomes a clandestine “jam moon for the two of us, who both have a house and children”.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

From “La premiére fille” by Georges Brassens to “The Last Woman” by Conte the step is short, or almost.

Twenty-seven years have passed (1954) since the little masterpiece of the French singer-songwriter who regrets his first electrifying love experience, no matter if it was with a prostitute: “You gave me the baptism of love and seventh heaven, I keep you inside me and you I love, last gift from Santa Claus”. What Conte himself defines as “a modest response to Brassens” (“I did it as he would have done it, with an arrangement for three guitars”) is the painful resignation, almost testamentary, to the adventure experienced in the extra time of the life, “the last landing on land, the last bath of life, of champagne and sweat”. .
The adolescent joy and terror are no longer there, there now remains a decadent existential complicity to be shared in an embrace, or perhaps just in a tender senile embrace: “Together with us we laugh about this life, this slutty life, this life that goes, on this life that goes.” Conte uses a plural which once again reiterates his belonging to the universe of men, understood as males, thrown against such a different and fascinating planet of women. In a splendid sidereal expedition setting, accompanied by the futuristic eminent of Happy Ruggiero.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

A song with a high alcohol content, in a free jazz style that does not allow replies. As it comes it comes and it will never be like this again, not even with the help of a score. In these cases it is called title track, that song more courageous and arrogant than the others which allows itself to be christened the entire album. The typed love words are those of a divorce and the protagonist, dead drunk, indulges in perfidious reflections that lucid diplomacy would have excluded: “Memorable, typed love phrases. Your lawyer is such an ass. No, certain things are not written because the judges then suffer for it”, with a bitter and coarse laugh. “I laugh because, apart from the style of your lawyer, they are your typewritten words of love.” More than a song, a theatrical squabble between voice and piano, there are no harmonious passages, only resentment, sharp edges and whiskey.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

A slow song with an ancient atmosphere, caressed by piano, guitars, vibraphone, brushes, wind instruments and strings, all intimate and highly inspired as in a smoky and prison night standard.

Conte's delicate voice tells, beyond the metaphors that anyone can foment, of a farewell at the station, of a she who leaves and a he who stays and dedicates romantic words to her, without rhetoric, cigarette in hand: “Say that thinking of you is a contradiction because you are always here between my fingers like the life that you live in a smile.” Then “the train goes” disappearing into a dream horizon (“behind the blonde clouds”) leaving the protagonist in the desolation of “this dense rust”, comforted only by an oath: “You will return, you promised me you know”. Conte lets slip a “round wheel”, a curious redundancy that only he can allow without derailing. The words really seem to be placed on the pentagram with a metric and methodical care that goes beyond semantics, it is the music that drags everything along, including loves and carriages.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

Slow flashes of piano, percussion and wind instruments: “The Enchantress” (“A woman with two names and two truths”) offers a text that for once, despite the creator's principles, competes with music and perhaps he is right about it especially in certain luminous passages: “I drove slowly that day on the roller coaster of centuries, of millennia, of cold, of fire, of wind, of moments. There
the city below was a whole casbah of chasms, the mirror of mirages”.

Ines or Judith, a woman tries to find herself lost in time, in places, in passions, in a disorientation of love: “Perhaps a man in a moment of confusion and tears or yourself to make a change in life and secrets: yes, you chose Judith.” But the road continues on the uncontrollable bends of madness: “Today I looked for your heart on the phone, you didn't answer. It was Ines from afar, a distant untouchable. It was summer, I felt winter coming from the corners, from all the thousand drafts of the North”.


Music and words by Paolo Conte

Thirty years after the enigmatic “Gelato al limon”, Paolo Conte sends a new romantic, profound and reassuring dedication to his wife Egle, involuntarily taking up the themes of Maria Venturi, the Liala of our days, who defines perfect and infinite love the one that presupposes compatible defects. “You will excuse this winter of leaves and the thoughts that go barefoot along distant paths, away from you, away from me. It is a privilege to be with you, sweet person close to me. You will feel between your fingers my breath and my voice inviting you to the sea, or whatever it is.” A full-blown declaration, which has nothing senile but only sincere and passionate, like the accompaniment: it seems to hear Pollini playing a Chopin nocturne, if it weren't for the sudden entry of Pitzianti's clarinet and the snare drum by Di Gregorio to create an atmosphere of magical stupor. And of love, true.

(bonus tracks) FOR YOU

Music and words by Paolo Conte

At eighty years of age, Paolo Conte, born in 1937, plays his 239th unreleased song, the forerunner of “Zazzarazàz”. All voice, still very colorful with rusty veins, and that piano in which Nanni Ricordi found reverberations of Schumann already in his early days, with the addition of an Occitan accordion and a Mediterranean mandolin for a poignant invocation of love: “I would like to sing then dance in front of you, for you, to make you laugh and play in front of me”, with some concessions to the lyric (“For you who give me the beauty of your standing on the uncertainty of my wanderings”) and to goliardic lust (” and your cute, cute mandolin butt”). Here there is a linearity of peace of mind, of courage of feelings, of an uncompromising declaration.

Paolo Conte's repertoire is crowded with songs that have women – the woman – as the protagonist; we have chosen titles that are perhaps less well-known than others that are more popular or more descriptive or more didactic, such as “Wanda”, “The Stradella Accordion”, “The Winter Woman”, “The Pink Garter”, “Avanti blonde” , “The reconstruction of Mocambo”, “The amaranth Mickey Mouse”, “Moon of jam”, “The winter woman”, “Angiolino”, “Art”, “Limon ice cream”, “From the gallery”, “Game of 'risk2, “Whoever”, “L'avance”, “Gone with me”, “Madeleine”, “Boogie”, “Paris”, “Dancing”, “As you want me”, “Paso doble”, “Midnight blue” , “One of these nights”, “Slave of the Politeama”, “Call me now”, “Bamboolah”, “Beauty by day”, “Ludmilla”, “In your arms”, “Nina”, “Masseuse”, “Sarah “, “Incontro”, “Hesitation”, “Signorina Saponetta”, “Ballerina”, “The woman of your life”… It is also an invitation to rediscover among the folds of the albums certain great little hidden songs, as a dedication to all women.

Texts taken from Federico Pistone's book “Tutto Conte”, Arcana Edizioni, which we reviewed here.