Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Track By Track Review: Måneskin’s ‘RUSH!’

MUSICTrack By Track Review: Måneskin's 'RUSH!'

Authors: Jules, Haley

It’s unfair to say that Måneskin has finally arrived with RUSH! After all, the album is the band’s third overall, and they’ve been growing ever more popular since their 2021 Eurovision win (and before that, their runner up position on Italy’s X-Factor in 2017). As lead singer Damiano David so smugly points out in “Bla Bla Bla,” “You said I’m ugly and my band sucks/But I just got a billion streaming song.” However, their best known song in the United States is still a cover. Their nomination for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammys is more of a down payment on future success than a recognition of achievement thus far. While they’ve released several excellent singles since 2021’s Teatro d’ira: Vol. I, the band has yet to fully flesh out its post-Eurovision identity.

RUSH! will establish Måneskin as one of the most original and daring rock bands of the last few years. Embracing the underdog mentality that has gotten them this far while acknowledging the whirlwind of fame that has engulfed them in the last two years, the album plays to each of Måneskin’s individual strengths. David vividly performs suggestive lyrics with his unique growl, guitarist Thomas Raggi lets loose with his riffs, bassist Victoria De Angelis elevates every track with her groovy hooks, and drummer Ethan Torchio propels the band forward. They’re youthful, sexy, and just plain fun, which the rock scene could certainly use more of. RUSH! as an album has no weak tracks, just 17 potential hits that beg to be played live. Check out our thoughts on each of them in our track by track review!

“Own My Mind”

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A statement opening song is essential for a rock album. “Own My Mind” sets the tone for RUSH! early, with its growling chorus and sexy bass hook. Måneskin is at its best live, and this song is one that will surely sound fantastic blasting in an arena. With small standout moments for each member of the band, “On My Mind” promises that Måneskin has things under control from here on out — you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride.

“Gossip” feat. Tom Morello

Teaming with iconic guitarist Tom Morello, the hearty uptempo rockers added a layer of intrigue by implementing Morello’s iconic guitar riffs. Beyond that, David takes shots at social media culture — the need to strive for perfection and performative acts. “This place is a circus, you just see the surface/They cover s*** under the rug/You can’t see they’re faking, they’ll never be naked.”

“Time Zone”

The sulking of having to be apart from your loved one because they’re in a different “Time Zone,” and nothing, not even fame, is a match for the immortal longing. “Time Zone” is littered with riffs, and it’s a great juxtaposition to the first two songs on the album that gives a taste of what’s to come with the 14 other tracks.

“Bla Bla Bla”

To go from the longing in “Time Zone” immediately into the revenge tune, “Bla Bla Bla” is a cultural experience. It’s very bass heavy and groovy, a Victoria signature, as David sings about sleeping with the friend of an ex-lover to get back at them after a breakup.

“Baby Said”

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Online daters, rejoice: Måneskin is just as sick of the meaningless conversations as you are. Opening with a truly great riff from Raggi, David’s pleas for an emotional connection contrasting with his lover’s desire to get on with it already is both touching and amusing. Featuring bluntly effective lyrics like “Baby said, When you’re talking I go dead/Shut your mouth, give me your head,” “Baby Said” is one of the catchier songs on RUSH!.

“Gasoline”

“Gasoline” was a fan favorite before its inclusion on RUSH!. The band first introduced it as part of Global Citizen’s Stand Up for Ukraine initiative (which also included the return of Pink Floyd). Måneskin continued to play it at their own live gigs but were purposely cagey about whether it would ever receive a studio recording or release. Now that the single has truly arrived, it was well worth the wait. De Angelis and Raggi’s extended duet sounds even better than it does live, and the emotion in David’s voice comes through clearly. It’s a standout on an album full of them.

“Feel”

If there’s one thing Måneskin does well, it’s not taking things too seriously. “Feel” has a party vibe that directly mocks their hard partying reputation (even referencing the Eurovision cocaine incident). As usual, the lyrics are instantly memorable as David begs for “Blue jeans and leather/Even better on the floor/Light it up/And lеt me lose your mind.” “Feel” is perfect as the mid-show song to get the party moving again (not to mention incredibly catchy).

“Don’t Wanna Sleep”

Despite some of the contradicting lyrics, “Don’t Wanna Sleep” is the perfect dance track. David shouts about getting high to cure himself of boredom, feelings, and a sense of loneliness: “I’m a lion tamer/Of indecent behavior/Making love with danger.” This song translating to a live audience is also going to be loads of fun — it’s loud and heavy on the instruments, especially with the addition of Raggi’s gritty guitar solo.

“Kool Kids”

If “Own My Mind” functions as a great album opener, “Kool Kids” is more of a Måneskin mission statement (“We’re not punk, we’re not pop, we’re just music freaks”). The band used it as their opening song on their last tour, and it’s easy to see why. Full of in-jokes for their fanbase accompanied by an infectious beat, it demands to be danced to in a mosh pit. The lyrics, written entirely by the band, are full of the kind of wordplay that make their songs stand out along with the rebelliousness that is a major part of their appeal (ending the song on “Eat my s***” is certainly a choice). It’s sure to be a favorite even if you can’t play it on the radio, which might actually be the point.

“If Not for You”

Going from a screaming punk song like “Kool Kids” directly into a sweet ballad is a bit of a change in pace, but a welcome one. Måneskin may be best known for their up tempo rock songs, but they’ve always excelled at more contemplative, quiet songs as well (“Coraline” being one example). “If Not For You” is a love song for the person who makes the rest of life worth living in the first place. The band previously revealed that it was recorded in one take, which is a choice that makes the simple production feel intimate.

“Read Your Diary”

Once you realize that “Read Your Diary” sounds eerily similar to something off of Britney Spears’ Circus album, particularly “Womanizer” and “If U Seek Amy,” it can’t be unheard. This is likely because they collaborated with producer Max Martin, who also worked on that album. A tune about a fictional obsessive one-sided love story, it could fit right inside the latest season of Netflix’s You with a chorus like “Wearing your perfume/Now I taste like you, you, you/Forever and ever and ever/I was dancing in your shoes/When I read your diary to/Try to get inside of you.” It’s nestled right before “Mark Chapman”, which continues the story of an obsessed person that turned into a murderer.

“Mark Chapman”

Disturbing in Italian or English, “Mark Chapman” deploys a frantic beat to convey how terrifying it is to be idolized. Aside from the title’s reference to John Lennon’s murder, the lyrics serve as a warning: “Non prova sentimenti/Sono tutti per te/Dice che ti ama ma lo sai che mente/Sei in ogni suo risposta/E in tutti i suoi perché” (“He has no feelings/They’re all for you/He says he loves you but you know he’s lying/You are in his every answer/In all of his why’s”). Raggi’s solo accompanied by Torchio’s inspired drumming create a sonically distinct and interesting song that feels more like vintage Måneskin. I’m hopeful it will get airplay in the United States the same way “Zitte e Buoni” has managed to, though it appears their label will stick with “La Fine” as the main Italian single from RUSH! in the U.S.

“La Fine”

RUSH! is full of lyrics that indicate Måneskin’s ambivalence about their post-Eurovision fame. “La Fine” (“The End”) delves deep into the sadness that comes with knowing a particular era in your life is over for good; in this case, Måneskin’s relative anonymity. In addition, “La Fine” pushes back at the insistence that external success and “making it” should be an artist’s primary goal. The bitter chorus is razor sharp: “Sappi che non è l’inizio, è la fine/Anche la rosa più bella ha le spine/Forse l’unica risposta è partire/O restare a marcire” (“Know it’s not the beginning, it’s the end/Even the prettiest rose has thorns/Maybe the only answer is leaving/Or staying to rot”). While only a fluent (and brave) Italian speaker will be able to keep up with David’s desperate, talented rapping, the propulsive beat will suffice for the rest of us English speaking mortals. De Angelis also gets another welcome showcase during the bridge.

“Il Dono Della Vita”

“Il Dono Della Vita,” which translates to “The Gift of Life” in English, dives into the hardships of trying to do your best to survive in a culture that no longer relies on the concept of “slow living.” As the tune progresses, Måneskin realizes that the simplest things in life sometimes mean the most. “E pure Dio era girato di spalle/Mentre gli dicevo che stavo cadendo/Ma basta un raggio di sole, un soffio di vento/Uno sguardo verso il cielo.” (“And even God had his back turned/As I told him I was falling/But a ray of sunshine, a breath of wind is enough/A look at the sky”).

“MAMMAMIA”

Måneskin’s first single post-Eurovision, “MAMMAMIA” reintroduced the band to its newly international audience in spectacular fashion. Accompanied by a music video that features David’s bandmates each fantasizing about killing him over his narcissistic personality, “MAMMAMIA” is clever, sexy, and an example of the kind of tongue in cheek humor the band does so well. Always a blast to hear live, it’s a song with a hook that demands to be screamed (“Give me a command and I’ll do what you ask/’Cause my favorite music’s your ah, ah”).

“Supermodel”

Released over the summer, “Supermodel” is a pop-rock track that dives into party culture and meeting a woman that’s not playing hard to get, she is hard to get. When the chorus rolls around, they dish out the hardships of dating culture when someone just can’t love you back. The underlying themes for the album are about celebrity, status, and the American obsession with being noticed and desired and “Supermodel” is the perfect example of it. 

“The Loneliest”

This melancholy rock ballad is incredibly emotionally charged. In everyone’s life, you experience having to give up someone you love; which sometimes happens when you’re not ready to let go. However, sometimes people come into our lives for a season, to teach us something and then move on. “The Loneliest” describes that internal monologue of being conflicted about your choices.

RUSH! is available now wherever you listen to music. Be sure to check out our review of Måneskin’s Loud Kids tour here!

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