Italy: Marco Mengoni and Due Vite


I could go into a long blog post here about Sanremo and how the Italian music industry is doing great things with artists like Madame and Lazza and nurturing acts for a lifetime like Paola and Chiara. I could talk about how the Italian music industry is giving us artists like Coma Cose and La Rappresentate di Lista and Achille Lauro. I could wax lyrical about how they’re literally putting all these great artists on a plate in an entertaining five day extravanganza presided over by your two favourite uncles!

But I’m not going to. Because a blog post like that is going to make you think that Italy is sending something that’s groundbreaking and boundary pushing this year. And they’re not. They’re sending the pleasant Marco Mengoni with an inoffensive little ballad called “Two Lives.”

Look, I want to give Marco Mengoni his due (vite). He can sing. He knows what pleases a crowd. He’s worked to bring a song that has a building and a big crashing wave of catharsis. In my mind, i can intellectually understand why this song is appealing to me.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that Marco Mengoni looks like this:

A smiling Marco Mengioni
(C) EBU from Andrea Bianchera

But it leaves me cold. At first, it was because I couldn’t make an emotional connection with Mengoni in the crowded field of Sanremo. With acts like Coma Cose bringing real emotion to the stage, Mengoni’s calculated crowd-pleaser seemed too artificial – especially after he did a Beatles song with a gospel choir on Sanremo’s Covers Night. That’s just manipulation!

After it was selected for Eurovision, however, I tried to give Due Vite a fair listen, especially after the three minute Eurovision version was released. But now, I dislike it even more. And there are two reasons for this.

The first is the lyrics. Mengoni is credited as a co-writer, and there are some clever, evocative phrases in the song, like:

We’re a book on the floor in an empty house
Which looks like ours
Coffee with lemon to fight a hangover
You look like a blurry photo
And we screwed up one more night
Outside a club

The specificity of the words here enables me to clearly view the elements of this song in my mind. I can feel the moments in the relationship that brought Mengoni to this point.

But the big payoff? The big realisation that Mengoni has about the relationship? It’s that if the world is ending and the moon is exploding, he’s going to use those last minutes to tell this person that they’re wrong.

That’s INCREDIBLY petty. I admire such pettiness! I like that Mengoni is mean enough to want to use his last breath to get back at someone. What I hate is that he’s wrapped up this sentiment in a heartfelt ballad. The music of Due Vite is meant for someone who is going to use their last breath to confess their undying love. These lyrics are wasted on it.

And because I, too, am incredibly petty, the second reason I can’t stand Due Vite is this mournful piano riff:


Yup. I spent ages wondering why I couldn’t remember anything about Due Vite after it was over, and then this plinky-dinky piano phrase got stuck in my head, and now it’s the only thing i can hear or think about when Marco Mengoni is mentioned. I can only hope that when this is performed live on stage at Eurovision, they put him between two bangers that will blast this maudlin tinkling out of my head.

So yes, Due Vite – there are many reasons to love it. Marco Mengoni has made sure that there are plenty of reasons to love it. But ultimately, if you’re wrapping up a kissoff anthem in a song on an album that screams “Mother’s Day present”, I’m going to be mad. Marco, you could have had an amazing “fuck you” banger, and instead you chose sentimentality and mass appeal.

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