Archive for December 4th, 2008



Elisa is nice music.  It makes a complete change from the kora playing Toumani Diabaté and guitar wizardry of Viuex Farka Touré and his dad, Ali, that I have listening to recently LOL. talk about contrast!

The album I’m listening to just now is her Greatest Hits (1996 to 2006), which is good for showing the range and variety of Ms. Toffoli over a whole decade. I had read that she was set to relaunch in the USA this year, but had problems with her visa.  So I checked out her website (, and its full of North American dates.

I would like to hear her famous version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’; I have always admired Jeff Buckley’s version (who doesn’t?), and my wife recently showed me a YouTube video of some Norwegians (Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, and Big Kurt Nilsen — the blond chap with the spaced out teeth that won “World Idol”) after we heard KD Lang’s and John Cale’s versions.

Elisa duets on the recording with the much more famous Luciano Ligabue on ‘Gli Ostacoli Del Cuore’, and I have actually managed to track down a live video of this song — where Ligabue appears in person!

Superb stuff —

… but the promotional video is fascinating because she doesn’t seem to care that she’s filmed in a bad light, with a bad haircut and no make-up.  She’s obviously not vain.  She’s dressed like a boy, but acts very much like a girl with a broken heart.

Courageous anyway (especially taking a shower fully dressed)…

It’s a lovely chorus:

Quante cose che non sai di me;
Quante cose che non puoi sapere;
Quante cose da portare nel viaggio insieme.

How very true that is. Obstacles of the heart indeed; some people tend to be too complicated at times, sometimes things seem too complex.

‘Stay’ is a superb start to the album, and betrays her Californian education at Berkeley. ‘Broken’ and ‘Swan’ continue the country rock feel.  Her famous head-voice is well represented on this album. She ought to do well in the USA.

For me, I prefer her Italian stuff as it adds something fresh to a mode that is getting a bit tired for me — ‘Luce (tramonti a nord est)’ was her first song in Italian — it was initially written in English (and was a bit of a hit on MTV Europe). It was actually translated in collaboration with her mother and also with Ruth’s fave, Zucchero.

‘Eppure Sentire (Un Senso Di Te)’ is a lovely ballad, and last year’s bit hit, ‘Qualcosa Che Non C’è ‘is a simply beautiful song, very reflective/ introspective/ autobiographical. She holds a very long note at the end of ‘Una Poesia Anche Per Te (Life Goes On)’ very much along the lines of KD Lang. Worth a listen anyday!




Another “pop” album (what’s becoming of me?)! LOL.  Seriously, though, Keane have managed to produce a fine pop album with “Perfect Symmetry”. It is a Keane-fan-pleaser, but there are TWO track at least worthy of note — “Better Than This” and “You Haven’t Told Me Anything”, which are different, quirky and inventive!

The first track is “Spiralling”, which is a Bb minor , and gives a great fright if you don’t check your headphone volume level beforehand!  It’s a pretty standard Keane style track.  One for their fans to open the album, and this vein is continued with “Lovers Are Losing” which jumps to Db major.

Then came the surprise: “Better Than This” in Bb major is a David Bowie style track (ala Major Tom).  It features some strange hand clap timings, beats and a banjo for heaven’s sake!  Yes, it’s addictive Pop, a wee gem.

This sets you up for another gem — the “You Haven’t Told Me Anything” in their native Eb major key to bring out the best of Tim Rice-Oxley’s vocals.

At this point you notice that there their “no-guitar”, distorted piano signature is gone — much in the same way that Queen and Elton John used to declare that they didn’t use synthesisers until they suddenly did!

As if realising what they had done, the  title track reverts to Keane Piano and the synthesised wall of strings.  They add an Rice-Oxley “choir”, so the key remains in Eb.

“You Don’t See Me” is an Eb major B-side Keane. Filler, nice, but wadding just the same.

The seventh track needs to pull this album’s socks up, so “Again & Again” comes out on a surprising D minor key, with an upbeat, clean tempo.  More synth than piano in into, it drops for dynamics, and soon the bridge is heading for “Keane Anthem” again!

“Playing Along” is a slow swing tune in Bb major.  It tries to be radical in short spurts, and has guitar all over it, in a very un-Keane manner — from jangly, and thrashy to jazzy slide lead runs!

The ninth and tenth tracks are in D major to give Rice-Oxley’s throat a rest.  “Pretend That You’re Alone” is streets ahead of “Black Burning Heart” simply for having a syncopated piano riff intro! but  “Black Burning Heart” has more substance, and could be acquired given time, although he does “speak French” in the vein of Eddie Izzard for no apparent reason. “Love Is the End” in the peculiar key of A major and a slow, jazzy tempo that could well have been a Norah Jones discard!  At times, Tim even manages to sound like Thom York in Radiohead!

In summary, this is a nice wee album with a couple of gems, but if you hate Keane, steer well clear!