Paolo Conte

Album Reviews:

2008: Psiche


Rating: 4.8/10
Rated as
: Album
Album Status
: for Fans of Artist
Released: 2008
Specific Genre: Jazz-Pop, Singer-Songwriter
Main Genre: Pop
: Sophisti-Pop, Synth Pop, Chanson
Label: Universal

1 Psiche 2. Il quadrato e il cerchio 3. Intimità 4. Big Bill 5. L’amore che 6. Silvery Fox 7. Bella di giorno 8. Velocità silenziosa 9. Omicron 10. Ludmilla 11. Leggenda e popolo 12. Danza della vanità 13. Coup de théâtre 14. Così o non così 15. Berlino

Ah, fatemi asciugare… fatemi scaldare… fatemi svanire

Being an artist who fundamentally did not and does not change, the real question about a new Conte-album is truly idiotic: How much good material is on there? How much filler? Psiche contains what I would call career-highlight, but as a whole does fall on the side of filler. At this stage, piano and orchestra are supplanted by sophisti-keyboard and soft-pop-synths, a sort of synth-laden ambient chanson. Yet the master’s ruminations about being your own best company in the face of modern life’s comfort fortunately remain the same.

As the title might suggest, Psiche delves even more, if possible, into decorating your inner life as a swanky bar with melancholia and funny little slice-of-life-ditties, the usual mixture of jazz-pop and italian songwriting and the ubiquitous synths – and this is the main problem here: Conte relies on atmosphere and ornaments a tad too much here – sometimes there is no song to “accompany the atmosphere”, in fact (“Big Bill”, pleasantly gloomy, but tepid).

Two more notes: There is a straight classic, „Il quadrato e il cerchio“: a jaunty tarantella-jazz guitar riff Conte’s murmured vocals on top, sporting a weirdly affective hummed main hook – it’s up there with “Via con me” or “Sandwich Man”. Other good things include the open road anxiety of “Velocità silenziosa”, or the French „Coup de théâtre“, a slow-paced, velvety hommage to Gainsbourg – and a good one at that, evoking his synth sound as well as the duet with a child-woman guest performer (Emma Shapplin!), breathing heavily over Conte’s kazoo and his fragile lust-hampered delivery and …well, that is pretty much it. Conte seems to draw some inspiration from his more international adventures; on the (overall better) follower Nelson in 2010, he would even start singing French and English himself, diving a bit more into French chanson. Overall lackluster, Psiche does have that Conte-spark, if only in precious single moments.