Motta exhibits his fragilities

Motta exhibits his fragilities

After about ten years, in 2016, Francesco Motta leave i Criminal Jokers and, omitting his first name, he started his solo career by releasing the album “The End of Your Twenties”. The album received great attention, winning the Targa Tenco in the First Work category. Two years later, on 6 April 2018, Motta releases his second album, “Live or die”, and hits the mark again, so much so that the Targa Tenco that he wins this time is the one destined for the Best Record Ever. So here is our review (and some songs) of the Tuscan musician's second album.

Looking at him like that, with that rough and severe looking face, you would never know it. But deep down Motta is a true romantic. Especially in this period: he is very much in love with the actress Carolina Crescentini, to whom he has been romantically linked for a few months, and by his own admission love plays a leading role in the songs he has written recently. “To Live or Die” is a sentimental album, in the best sense of the term. It's a record that talks about feelings and emotions, that Motta tells us more about than his previous album “La fine dei venti anni”: “I put my heart on the table”, he says.

“To live or die? To be afraid to dive in and let go”, sings the former Criminal Jokers in the chorus of the song that gives the entire album its title.

It is perhaps the most emblematic verse of the album: “Live or die” is a hymn to throwing yourself into the fray, to losing control. The natural consequence of “The end of the twenty years”, in short: there Motta tried to put aside his troubles and his anxieties, but there was always something that held him back, that did not allow him to completely distance himself from 'restlessness. “It would be nice to end like this, leave everything and enjoy the deception”, he sang in “Of the time that passes happiness”. Now he lets himself go and shows the middle finger to the demons, also thanks to the help of Pacifico, who collaborated in writing the lyrics of a good part of the new songs: “He acted as a psychoanalyst for me, he had a maieutic role. I found myself to write about things that I would never have brought up without him. I saw my past in a more lucid and aware way”, says the Tuscan singer-songwriter.

Compared to “La fine dei vent'anni”, “Vivere o mori” is a less noisy album: if already with the 2016 album Motta had made a good step forward from a strictly sonic point of view, at least compared to punk rock by the Criminal Jokers (the production was by Riccardo Sinigallia, someone who knows how to work with sounds – listen, if you haven't already done so, to “Musiche rebellious” by Luca Carboni or “Non era fiore” by Coez, among his works more recent), this time the step is even longer. Even if Sinigallia remained on the sidelines, Motta and Taketo Gohara shared his role. The sounds are clear, crystalline. The singer-songwriter said he worked a lot by subtraction: he didn't put in more than he had to put in. Songs like “What we have become”, “Live or die”, “Our last song”, “La prima volta” (also embellished with a string quartet) lend themselves very well to being performed live simply by guitar and voice: the essential.

“The end of the twenty years” was the honest story of a moment of critical transition, not only in age but also artistically, with which Motta demarcated the past (the experience as a stage sound engineer, the Criminal Jokers, punk rock) from the present (solo career). The songs of “Live or Die” represent a perfect sequel to that story, which continues to excite above all for the way in which their author – to quote a beautiful description that his record company, Caterina Caselli, has made of him – exhibits the his fragilities (the last track, “Mi parla di te”, a letter written to his dad, is a real blow to the heart). There is a lot of expressive urgency in this album, the desire to be heard, to make one's voice heard. But without pawing, without screaming. Simply, putting your heart on the table.