Jovanotti has come a long way in the 30 years or so of his career. The Italian music artist began recording primarily as a rapper, rhyming over electro-beats on his 1988 debut Jovanotti for President before expanding his sonic palette to include various genres of music. In the years since, Jovanotti has slowly shifted toward singer-songwriter territory (while still keeping in tune with his hip-hop origins) to create a musical hybrid that consists of electronica and global pop. His last effort, 2011’s Ora, was amiable excursion into ambient-pop with a heavier pronouncement on the electronic grooves. The singer continues to build upon Ora on his latest, 2015 CC, this time with generous dollops of Afro-Cuban pop and some light cumbia flavours. And where there was once a stronger emphasis on his hip-hop influences, there is now (save for some scant raps here and there) the welcome embrace of gratifying pop.
2015 CC is available in both a single and double-disc version. The best bet is the double-disc edition, which offers a wider scope on the multitude of influences that make up this effort. Album opener “L’Alba” makes an impressive introduction into Jovanotti’s newly lush exploits, working a steady groove beneath the warm ambient airs of synthpop. On the easygoing pop of “Ragazza Magica”, the singer invokes the cinematic melancholia of Giuseppe Tornatore films, co-ordinating a clean, strolling groove amidst the romance of a piping brass arrangement. Much of disc one features the more leisured experiments of pop, which go down rather smoothly; like a decadent box of gourmet sweets, there is fun to be had in selecting any track at random to discover its tasty surprise center.
Disc two is another interesting experiment altogether. Stripping much of the electronic elements of the first disc, 2015 CC’s extended offering leans heavier on the Mediterranean and Latin elements. The percussive rumbles of “Melagioco” (featuring Antibalas) refer to Rubén Blades’ more adventurous pursuits. On “Il Riparo”, Jovanotti evinces the comical island tropicalia of Italian peplum. A curious exception to disc two’s all-day Latin party is the dub space odyssey of “Una Scintilla”; here, echoey drum riffs reverberate around the deep sci-fi blues of hip-hop’s cosmic outer reaches.
Double-albums can run the risk of cumbersome overkill when not done right. But there is a warm, sonic beauty to Jovanotti’s prolific experiments, held together by carefully thought-out ideas. Placing distance between his previous exploits with rap music and his newer pop excursions hasn’t hurt the singer at all. Jovanotti’s expansive approach has allowed his music to grow with his audience as he picks up new influences along the way. Indeed, there are more flavours of the Latin variety to be explored here than any South American dish. As a matter of fact, you can treat 2015 CC like a full course meal; it doesn’t matter where you start—by the end, it fills you up.
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