The pop songwriting of Colapesce and Dimartino

The pop songwriting of Colapesce and Dimartino

In December 2019 on his social networks Dimartino announced the beginning of a new adventure: “The new year will bring an album of unreleased songs, written, played and sung together with Lorenzo (colapesce). In 2020 it will be ten years since the release of our respective debut albums and it seemed to us This is the best way to celebrate.” On June 5, 2020, four years ago, they became a duo Colapesce Dimartino released their first album “The Mortals”. The following year the two took part in the Sanremo festival with “Very light music” and, as they say, nothing was the same again. We take the opportunity given to us by the anniversary of the release of their first album to reread the review of “The Mortals”.

Pop art or pop songwriting? They're not exactly synonymous. Pop art is an expression that is far too generic. What could it mean? Basically, all pop is authorial, if only because behind a song there is always the work of one or more authors – okay, certain signatures are more prestigious and more respectable than others, but that's another matter and there's no point in addressing it in a review. Pop songwriting, on the other hand, refers to an idea of ​​songwriting which, while not giving up the “deep” and “noble” contents and messages of the traditional one, looks to pop for melodies and sounds. It is a formula that lends itself well to describing “I mortals”, the joint album by Colapesce and Dimartino, the result of an operation that recalls the collaborations on record of certain giants of the Italian songwriting tradition (a rarity, considering that apart from like “I Cani non sono i Pinguini non sono I Cani”, the EP slip by Niccolò Contessa with the Gazebo Penguins, not many associations of this kind with protagonists exponents of the new Italian singer-songwriter generation come to mind).

If you think about it, the two Sicilian singer-songwriters represent the counterpart (positive? negative? depends on your point of view) of Tommaso Paradiso and Calcutta in the new Italian songwriting scene, that of the “indie” scene: with records like “A marvelous decline” and Egomostro” (of the first) and “Dear teacher we have lost” and “It would be nice to never leave each other, but abandoning yourself every now and then is useful” (of the second) have become two points of reference on the scene over the years, and when indie became a mainstream phenomenon (the one-two “Mainstream”-“Completely sold out”, between 2015 and 2016) rather than giving in to market trends they continued to follow their path, going against the current (filling the sports halls and placing some hit at the top of the charts, evidently, is not among their priorities).

It is precisely certain colleagues who seem to be addressing themselves in “The Next Semester”, the song that opens their joint album and which in some ways represents its manifesto: there the two Sicilian singer-songwriters have fun telling all the clichés of the new (sing ) Italian author, from the tendency to avoid uncomfortable topics (“And what do I do, talk about migrants? For heaven's sake, no migrants”) to the need to please “a girl from 2000” at all costs (this is the target audience of ItPop, the one to which those who until four or five years ago performed on the stages of the Arci clubs turn today). A parody that sounds like a counter-declaration of intent, but which also hides a hint of sincerity.

Because Colapesce and Dimartino know well that Ciampi, Guccini or Claudio Lolli style songwriting is out of fashion in the Italian post-indie scene.

Loser stuff. But rather than looking to ItPop, in their musical and stylistic coherence they prefer to recover the pop songwriting of Baustelle, a link between the indie scene of the 90s and that of the 2000s, heirs in turn of the pop Battiato – but not for this disengaged: anything but – 1980s. The echoes of the Tuscan band and the Sicilian singer-songwriter appear and reappear here and there throughout the album, from “Rosa e Olindo” (inspired by the story of the two spouses believed to be involved in the Erba massacre) to “Adolescence nera”, passing through “Luna araba” (dedicated, like most of the songs on the album, to their Sicily – there is also their compatriot Carmen Consoli), “Cicale” and “L'ultimo giorno” (backing vocals are Adele Nigro, former frontwoman of Any Other). Sometimes mixing with more up-to-date productions: in “Parole d'acqua” there is the hand of Frenetik&Orang3 and in “Majorana” that of Mace, producers already alongside the main protagonists of the Italian rap and urban scene (the others songs were instead produced by Federico Nardelli, Giordano Colombo and Mario Conte).

This is how, between deliciously pop melodies (the same “Rosa e Olindo” and “Luna araba” would not have disfigured themselves on the Ariston stage – the two had tried to participate with “Cicale”, but were rejected) and Discoring atmospheres that they accompany texts that never descend into the banal (more like storytellers than singers of everyday life – in the background there is almost always Sicily, of which they tell the vices and virtues), into the easy gimmick or trolling of ItPop (no tachiprine 500, no “love mio”, no old women dancing), with “I mortals” Colapesce and Dimartino consolidate their position in the non-aligned contemporary singer-songwriter scene. Delivering into the hands of his followers an album that is already a small cult.