THIS. THIS is how you do it, sadbois.
You don’t write meta emotional songs about having emotions. You don’t write fauxstalgia songs about youth when you’re still young. And you don’t write three minute songs that have thirty seconds of actual lyrics that get stretched out to fill the space.
Instead, give us poetry.
Brividi (meaning ”chills” or ”shivers”) is a beautiful song, with Mahmood mastering the upper register of his falsetto, and Blanco pouring all of his teenage rage into the feeling of loving and hating someone simultaneously.
But what makes Brividi so good is the specificity of its lyrics, capturing a relationship that just cannot work, no matter how much one may want it to.
“I dreamed of flying with you on a diamond bike”
“The poison we spit everyday, I don’t want it anymore”
“I don’t know how to express myself and I would like to love you, but I’m always wrong”
And then having those sentiments crooned to you in Italian? O dio mio!
There’s apparently been a lot of attention paid (according to today’s press conference, at least) about the fact that this is a love duet sung by two men. First of all, the video kind of makes it clear that Mahmood and Blanco are expressing the same feelings about different people, not each other. (Although Mahmood is clearly singing about a man!)
But for the millions of people who don’t have the context of the video, yes, this is a great love duet perfomed by two men, because it’s full of the effects of toxic masculinity – men who have feelings but don’t know how to express them. Men who can’t say I love you, so couch the sentiment into daydreams involving diamond bikes and pearl skies.
And the lyrics are really helped along by the music. The abrupt shift from the sweet crooning of “chills” to the angry frustration of lyrics like “I live inside a prison” mirrors the fights that we imagine this couple having, with the ultimate resolution being an admission that one’s feelings are just too much to be communicated clearly.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mahmood and Blanco have absolutely stellar chemistry on stage. When they face each other directly with their admissions of love and pain and inadequacy? OOF. That hits me in the feels – and it helps communicate the gut punches of feeling in this song to the viewers who don’t speak Italian.
Can Italy do the double? Probably not. But will they have the entire continent in tears? Absolutely.