Jun 302014


Mr. Royale and I just returned to the States after 9 days in Italy and an additional 4 in London. Whilst I cannot claim to have conducted extensive research on the pop music of Sorrento, Florence, Rome, or London, my brief listen to the radio, via taxi rides and cafe culture, yielded the following observations:

  1. Both countries are stuck in a 1980s time warp.
  2. American music is played frequently; Italians don’t listen to much Italian music.
  3. Much of the music was re-mixes of American music from the ’80s. Especially Michael Jackson.
  4. For variety, the DJ would occasionally play something from the 1970s.
  5. The DJ Plan B was something that sounded like an outtake from a Eurovision contest or off of yet another Hotel Costes soundtrack.
  6. A full, cooked English breakfast does taste better when accompanied by Small Faces.

From our city wanderings, we were also puzzled by the preponderance of Pink Floyd t-shirts. We didn’t hear any actual Pink Floyd music, but for whatever reason, new versions of vintage PF t-shirts and album covers were all over Italy.

I’m calling on Mod, who I know lived for a while on The Continent, and any of the lot of you to share your observations of the music-listening habits of our RTH brothers and sisters across the Atlantic.

Ciao, Cheers, LMKR


  10 Responses to “Soundand(Euro)vision”

  1. We need to get back to Italy soon, but I’m sure the musical climate has not changed much. From my numerous trips over there, Italians have about the worst taste in music on the planet. They typically like brassy “club” music and overwrought ballads. As much as I love my Italian heritage, Italian food, the Italian people’s open spirit, etc, I find their taste in music shameful.

    To throw a more insulting blanket over regions of Europe, my travels through the continent have taught me that it’s almost impossible for native speakers of Romance languages to produce great rock ‘n roll. If the roman language has some guttural sounds and doesn’t require every word to end in a pronounced vowel sound (eg, French) there is hope. The more vowel-sound endings and rolled letters, the worse the rock ‘n roll is likely to be.

    Another huge problems Mediterranean Europeans face is that they don’t possess the tools necessary for understated rock ‘n roll cool. Simply being cool, in established rock ‘n roll terms, is not part of the Italian character. In most areas of life this is actually a strength: Italians are warm and welcoming; they love children; they are prone to emotional responses… In rock ‘n roll, however, this is a detriment. They tip their hand too soon. They don’t make the “listener” work for anything. There’s no sense of irony or mixed messages. I would think Italians could make great cheesy hair metal music, if they put their minds to it, which is not a form of music any human should put his or her mind to making. Italians have other forms of cool that are very cool in their own right, but I don’t know that they’ve ever been able to project the Marcello Mastroianni archetype of Fellini movies, for instance, into their music.

    Pink Floyd t-shirt love, I would imagine, makes some sense, if rock ‘n roll doesn’t really mean much to you. The band has universal appeal, based on its simplicity and sense of alienation, and their album covers look excellent on t-shirts. I would consider wearing an Animals shirt, for instance, and I’m not much of a fan of the band’s music. It also helps that the album cover art of the band far exceeds any personality given off by the band members and, perhaps, the band’s music. Wearing one of those t-shirts looks fantastic from an aesthetic standpoint, and it safely suggests some remote kinship with rock ‘n roll, which is about all most Italians can muster.

    I love you, Italy, but keep away from our music!

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    Very well said, Mod.

  3. When Mrs. funoka and I were in Italy a few years back, all the places we went to at night played chill or lounge music. Florence, Rome, and even a small B&B in Tuscany had the club mixes flying. We did see band at a small club in Positano and they played 80’s new wave and pop hits.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    I just found this – Mod, did you read it before writing your thoughts?


    I have to admit that my favorite parts are the names of New Century bands and their descriptions.

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    Mr. R, here.

    I heartily recommend guitarist Alessandro Stefana:

    and Larsen, who were picked up on Michael Gira’s label: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2osB8z43OI

  6. trigmogigmo

    We are nearing the end of two weeks in Scandinavia. A few random music notes, though we haven’t much to experience in that regard.

    – Stockholm has an ABBA boat tour and and ABBA museum, based on that ABBA musical/movie. (Did not see or visit.) I plan to ask my expat Swedish friend, who I know likes that Swedish 80’s band Roxette and who recently visited Stockholm, if he went to the new Roxette museum (a fictional place he may be excited to learn of).

    – We heard “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” two days in a row; once on the rental car radio and once in a restaurant as we walked past.

    – I know that Mr. Mod has expressed an appreciation of “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Rainbow. That was on the bar playlist tonight in Bergen, Norway, in a kind of 50/50 mixture of 70’s/80’s classic US/UK rock and what seemed to be Norwegian originals in very good English that fit the 70’s/80’s casual rock feel but which I suspect to be contemporary. I began to develop a theory that the contemporary native rock musicians’ inherent style is founded on the 30-years-gone rock styles that many of us Townspeople grew up on.

    – The first day here in Bergen we saw within the space of an hour, a group of 3, then a group of 2, then one guy, wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts. Could we have just missed MaidenCon2014?

  7. ladymisskirroyale

    Thanks for sharing about the Scandinavian lifestyle, Trig. Happy Travels!

    If I were in Stockholm, I would participate in All Things ABBA – consider it my call of duty on my next European trip. If you get back there, will you send me a postcard to put in my shrine. Has any RTHer been to the Abba Museum yet?

    Iron Maiden?! Is that what all those crazy Norwegian Death Metal folk get their musical ideas? Please tell me their t-shirt art is better than Eddie!

  8. 2000 Man

    I saw Iron Maiden. I even have one of their albums. I can’t decide who I have less in common with musically though; Norwegian Death Metal fans or Abba fans? It’s an enigma.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    I saw Abba when I was a freshman in high school, and then Iron Maiden many times later in high school.

    Mod – we need a RTH poll: Norwegian Death Metal or Abba.

  10. trigmogigmo

    The Iron Maiden t-shirts we all run-of-the-mill black shirts with logo and artwork. I saw a couple more on our last day there. I don’t recall seeing competing music t-shirts, so there is something about Iron Maiden. WEIRD!

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