Jovanotti (Lorenzo Cherubini)

By Claudio Giunta (Università di Trento).

There are no second acts in American lives (Francis Scott Fitzgerald). In Italian lives, however, there are. So much so that the author of this song has changed his style, his themes, his look, and even his name. For those above, let’s say, thirty-five years of age, he is still Jovanotti, the absurd and funny nickname which he chose at the age of twenty, when he began to write songs (it’s a play on words: Giovanni is the equivalent of John, and the word giovanotti in Italian means “youngsters”; but the name may also sound like Joe Vanotti to the Italian-American ear), while for those born later (and for the singer himself, who in 2018 is now fifty-two years old and finds his old nickname Jovanotti a bit embarrassing) he is Lorenzo Cherubini, or simply Lorenzo.
His metamorphosis in these past thirty years has been radical, very likely the most radical witnessed in the realm of contemporary Italian pop music. In the 80s and 90s, the singer Jovanotti was the emblem of loud, disengaged pop music, elementary in its melodies as well as its lyrics (to get an idea one needs only to read the titles: Go Jovanotti Go, Gimme Five, Vai così (Go For It!), La mia moto (My Motorbike), Spacchiamoci le orecchie (Let’s Break Our Eardrums), Una tribù che balla (A Tribe that Dances). But maturity in years has brought artistic maturity to Lorenzo Cherubini. In the last fifteen years, he has written songs of a completely different sort, many of which are quite beautiful, some seriously thoughtful (Fango (Mud), La Terra degli uomini (The Land of Men), Ora (Now), E non hai visto ancora niente (You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet)), others sunny and euphoric (Megamix, Il più grande spettacolo dopo il Big Bang (The Biggest Show Since the Big Bang), È per te (It’s For You), L’estate addosso (Summer’s On You), Oh, vita! (Oh Life!), Le canzoni (Songs)).
Mezzogiorno is a hybrid. Its theme is not typical of a pop song (time goes by and brings changes with it), but its thematic development has the tones of a hymn, not those of an elegy.

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