Monday, July 6th, 2009

Tiziano Ferro ft. Kelly Rowland – Breathe Gentle

He’s big in Italy. Like, huge…


Michaelangelo Matos: In the first verse, Italian star Ferro, whose Italian-language version is No. 1 in Italy, sings of being “a circle in a world of squares where nobody knows me/So with every footstep I must follow the kissing moments I thought were impossible.” I swear to you, dear reader, that he sounds exactly like he’s singing “kitschy moments,” and it makes the record.

Ian Mathers: Unexpectedly I really like his voice, and he and Rowland blend well together. The sweet chorus and dulcet piano backing is enough to allow me to overlook lines like “I am a pirate, love my fortune”, but it’s a close run thing. That hair metal-power ballad guitar during the middle eight ain’t helping either.

Chuck Eddy: So when was the last time an Italian hit got translated into an American one? Laura Branigan did it with two Umberto Tozzi songs in the ’80s (“Gloria” went #2, “Ti Amo” #55); anything since I’m not thinking of? Here, Ferro matches the middle-aged Mediterranean lothario passion of a Zucchero or an Eros Ramazzotti, and Rowland keeps up with him, especially when she switches languages. I like it, but I can’t see it hitting Stateside in today’s unexotic climate, unless aging Sting and Jon Secada fans are hiding in the woodwork waiting to exert purchasing power.

Jessica Popper: Tiziano and Kelly have both been involved with unexpectedly great Europop duets in the past, so I’m quite disappointed that this one doesn’t live up to “Universal Prayer” (Tiziano’s duet with Jamelia) or “When Love Takes Over”. The ungrammatical title doesn’t help much, either. I’m sure it will be very successful in Italy and other countries where Tiziano is known, just through the novelty of him duetting with a world-famous popstar, but if he hopes to use this track to break through to English-speaking markets he certainly won’t succeed.

Richard Swales: A mess; the chorus is so weak (and the mixing doesn’t help) that it just seems to get lost within the rest of the tune, and the break after the second chorus is really just all over the place. Shame really, because the first couple of verses are actually quite nice. You’d think he’d be able to get a decent producer on board after 7 million album sales; seemingly not.

Martin Skidmore: An Italian singer who plainly wants to be Bob Marley circa “Sun Is Shining”, but ends up falling very short, of course, and occasionally drops into something more like sub-light-opera. The switch between the two is very unconvincing. Kelly sounds as good as ever, and gives the whole thing a real lift now and then.

Anthony Easton: Sounds like Catholic folk c. 1965, but with a very mild R&B beat. So I love it.

Martin Kavka: The perfect soundtrack for those twentysomethings backpacking across Europe who meet that Special Someone with whom to have that Life-Changing Summer Fling. If in hindsight the fling seems paper-thin, in the throes of passion it seems as timeless as Pachelbel’s Canon (which shares a chord sequence with this, U2’s “With Or Without You,” and Village People’s “Go West”).

Anthony Miccio: There’s a real disconnect in Ferro’s taught, operatic voice booming “be geeeeentulllll”, but over a smiling synthesis of Alicia Keys’ “No One” and Pachelbel’s Canon, the effect is so winning and kooky I almost mistake Kelly Rowland for Shakira.

7 Responses to “Tiziano Ferro ft. Kelly Rowland – Breathe Gentle”

  1. Catholic folk c. 1965

    What would fit in this genre, Anthony?? The hippiefied nuns-in-plain-clothes folding-chairs-instead-of-pews felt-cutouts-of-fish-on-the-wall basement folk masses I knew didn’t come until way post-Vatican II (like, early ’70s; II ended December ’65, right?), and though I remember songs like “Turn Turn Turn” and “Get Together (the Youngbloods hit) got sung badly at them, I not that up anymore on music actually written for them. And I’ve never really seen them documented much, either. Are there any good collections of the stuff, or any books you could recommend? Very curious.

  2. Pachelbel’s Canon (which shares a chord sequence with this, U2’s “With Or Without You,” and Village People’s “Go West”)

    And the opening of Coolio’s “C U When U Get There.”

  3. Chuck

    I was thinking somewhere b/w Dominique (ca 1963), the Sound of Music (ca 1965), the first english translations of Galienau (ca 1963), Ray Repp’s Mass for Young Americans (1965), Richard Connolly’s Hymns for the year of Grace (1963), and his living parish hymn book (from the 60s). So that is Belgian, Anglo-American, Franco-American, Regular American, and Australian, so might not be helpful, but esp the gentle gentle bits.

    See if you can find Ray Repp, my cds are all over the place, and i think the only place I found it was on a C90, but if you can find it, it’s mind blowing. The other stuff is sort of high liturgy geek, and much of it was a group of isolated people trying to figure out what this new kind of radical christianity meant in a catholic context, so there was little written down, Sing a new song: the transformation of American Catholic liturgical music: the St. Louis Jesuits.published in the Jesuit magazine America in 2005 is a decent article that hints at some of this history, there is some discussion of it by hint in From Trent to Vatican II by Bulman et. al. but not alot.

    here is some of it…

    The chorus of gentle, gentle, gentle is what reminded me of the esp 65 stuff.

  4. Having finally found something she does well outside of DC, Kelly should stick to bosh-house.

  5. Part of that _America_ article that Anthony mentions can be found at

    Those Schutte/Dufford _Glory & Praise_ hymns are permanently imprinted in my brain…

  6. Really informative post, Anthony — thanks! And Martin, thanks for that link. I’ll definitely read that article.

  7. Chuck/Anthony:

    Pachelbel’s Canon shares a chord sequence with half of popula rmusic it seems – check out this music comedian’s “Pachelbel Rant” about it, it is great: