Måneskin Måneskin

In Rome, an American visitor arrives with some preconceptions that might seem a bit like mythical tales but, at its core, turn out to be true. Indeed, everywhere you look, mopeds are buzzing around, and traffic operates on the principle that anyone can be overtaken. Breakfast is light, and cigarettes are plentiful. Despite the orthopedic and nutritional risks, everyone appears better—figuratively, not necessarily literally. In terms of statistics, it seems like any chosen strengths thrive amidst urban density, with hundreds or more of these species doing their work. And they truly talk like this, with gestures and honking horns as a rich blend known as “Italian.”

For a return to Rome, Måneskin’s triumph – the only rock stars of their generation from their lineage, and arguably the biggest Italian rock band ever – is riding high with the wave of summer. In July, this Tuesday reached temperatures of 107 degrees. Tiburtina was hot, places were bustling, and elsewhere it still felt like it was going out of business. By Thursday morning, the band’s extensive logistical team was officially concerned that the performance at the Stadio Olimpico that night might be delayed.

Måneskin’s 90s-Inspired Debut Show and Unique Style

When Måneskin finally took the stage around 9:30 p.m., it was the 90s all over again – which was very bad because there was a pyro. There was no opening act, possibly because no rock band working at this level is under 10 years old, the guitarist Thomas Raggi played the riff of “Refusing Slumber,” the lights ignited, and 60,000 Italians roared in excitement. Damiano David – the band’s lead singer and, at 24 years old, its oldest member – sported black skinny pants, and he was charged in a mesh top that displayed his defined torso and very smooth features akin to a future heartthrob from a romance novel cover, one who had just been caught in a fisherman’s net. 

Victoria de Angelis, the bassist, was dressed in leather straps or possibly bungee cords, and possibly with bondage ties. Raggi wore baggy trousers and, underneath, there was nothing; his hair was flying. One by one, for the next several minutes of poise and unusual sounds, they looked frozen like a taxidermied chinchilla until David regained his voice, with Rob Thomas’s help in 2010.

This hypothetical conversation will likely annoy others, and some may appeal to you, and you, with all due respect, are not my target audience here. The Rolling Stones noted that Måneskin “only underscores how hard rock and roll is these days,” and a viral Pitchfork review called their recent album “terrifyingly competent” at every comprehensible level. But this kind of thumbs-up/down criticism is largely irrelevant to music because music is free.

 If you want to know if you like Måneskin – whose name is Danish and pronounced MOAN-eh-skin – you can fire up the internet and add them to more streams than New Billings has with Sony Music claiming the band has collected on Spotify, YouTube, et cetera. As far as Måneskin is concerned, as Est Disputandum, De gustibus non est disputandum, as the Italians said once before: In matters of taste, there can be no dispute.

Stadium Rock with Måneskin

While you should know that even though their music is mostly heard through phone and laptop speakers, Måneskin rocks the football field. It’s the same experience that thousands of fans gathered at the Olympic Stadium on a Thursday to witness: a stadium rock show culturally, if not personally, familiar, presented on an Italian scale unparalleled in stadium rock.

 The rock band Pyro, a 20-foot fireball jet that you can feel in your chest, was unleashed on the song “Gasoline,” originally written by Måneskin as a protest against Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine. From a thrust platform in the middle of the field, Damiano put his full emotional force into the chorus: “Standing alone on this mountain / Using my fuel to burn / We won’t take it standing / They will see us dancing.”

The impact of these words on President Putin remains uncertain. While they do something about rock ‘n’ roll, which they’ve made some progress in over the past seven decades, those conventions are part of rock’s DNA. It doesn’t have to be authentic – you might not even want it to be – but neither is it necessarily hypocritical because one obstacle to understanding rock as a style is that you have to feel it. A successful rock song creates a sense of rebellion against the consensus of opinion among listeners, whether they are toe-tapping along or not.

The need to feel the rock is a reminder that the frozen-in-time tastes of fans were an issue of documentary concern in an era when they were between 15 and 25 years old. After Spotify came next to any youth, though, it turned out that fans’ frozen-in-time tastes were not a problem with a documentary solution. From Led Zeppelin to Pixies and Franz Ferdinand, which they may have heard at the same time – specifically as a genre, as my generation (I’m 46) did. 

The connection of Måneskin’s members to Spotify-era groups is with jazz. The ultimate goal of rock’s tradition is to sell its wares, whether it’s 100 to 150 beats per minute songs played on big, loud speakers or big, loud audiences, many of whom are young and basically think about music that way. A historical precedent. From this month, Måneskin will take this business to the United States on a major-market tour — a market where they are relatively obscure — whose first stop is Madison Square Garden.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Metaphor: Potatoes and Evolution

“My feeling is that style is like this…” Victoria told me from backstage in Rome, with a gesture that expressed the complexity of language. “Imagine this with a metaphor: It’s as if you’ve been dining on fish, meat, and peanuts daily for years, and suddenly, you encounter potatoes, and your reaction? ‘Potatoes, what a delightful surprise!’ I like potatoes a lot.’ But potatoes have always been there. Rock was like potatoes, and it was saying that even though many people were just finding out that they liked it, it had actually been there for a long time. It was an apparent metaphor: it meant that the rock, like potatoes, is here all the time. But what if the rock, like our abundance, is relatively insubstantial and nobody’s favorite?

Which rock song came first is a subject of debate, but a strong contender is “Rocket 88,” recorded in 1951 by Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm band. It’s about a car, and, in its last verse, drinking in the car. These topics inform the context of what rock ‘n’ roll became: a time when domestic income, the availability of consumer goods, and the confrontation with Americanism all grew up together. Although rock arguably began as black music, it found a very large audience among white teenage listeners during the British invasion (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who).

 Rock evolved through the next two decades: stadium/progressive rock (Yes, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis) that eventually became a big part of classic rock radio, glam metal (Twisted Sister, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi), and then grunge and alternative: Pearl Jam and Nirvana ending the success of R.E.M., the Pixies, and other bands with different hair, of which there are too many to count, in 1991. You can understand this transformation as a prelude to the definitive triumph of Grunge, both emotionally and materially.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that this is also the time when high culture was starting to understand rock. As the 90s progressed, big white family audiences embraced hip-hop, and the final song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 classified as “rock” was Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” in 2001. Which was popular in the 00s — The Strokes, The Killers, Kings of Leon — concluding the last big commercial peaks of rock. But then we say that rock as a pop-like form continued from 1951 to 2011. This is a race of three generations, if you take the advice of Rock in sobriety, or rather, in the jobs of maintaining sexual relations in a state of intoxication, and for this reason, you have children at the age of 20. The industry; Gen X kept it alive, punk and indie kept it alive with them, and thousands of years of playing guitar heroes closed it.

Rise and Controversy: Måneskin’s Journey

Måneskin
Måneskin

Måneskin’s members are between 22 and 24 years old, positioning them strongly in the cadre of people who understand the rock at a time when the culture of the stones was fading away. As the ’90s progressed, big and then again big white family audiences embraced hip-hop, and the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 had no “rock” until Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” came out in 2001. Which was popular in the 00s — The Strokes, The Killers, Kings of Leon — concluding the last big commercial peaks of rock.

 But then we say that rock as a pop-like form continued from 1951 to 2011. This is a race of three generations, if you take the advice of Rock in sobriety, or rather, in the jobs of maintaining sexual relations in a state of intoxication, and for this reason, you have children at the age of 20. The industry; Gen X kept it alive, punk and indie kept it alive with them, and thousands of years of playing guitar heroes closed it.

In 2021, Måneskin won the Sanremo Music Festival, securing their spot as Italy’s representative in that year’s Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Zitti e buoni,” which roughly translates to “Shut Up and Behave.” This program isn’t widely watched in the United States, but it’s a big deal in Europe, and Måneskin won. Shortly after, they started appearing on international singles charts, and “I Wanna Be Your Slave” broke into the British Top 10. Along with a European tour came American performances at festivals and historic venues.

The rise of this star was not immune to controversies. Eurovision’s live broadcast caught Damiano on camera leaning over a table, and media members accused him of snorting cocaine. Damiano insisted he was innocent and took a drug test, which he passed, but the skepticism from Eurovision and its organizers still lingers. This all paints a contrasting picture, dispelling rumors that a rock star was doing cocaine, and highlighting the differences in how Italian musicians are perceived compared to American audiences.

Måneskin: Challenging Rock Norms

Los Angeles asserts, “They present themselves as a collective of stylish, youthful individuals adorned in flashy attire, departing from the traditional essence of pure rock ‘n’ roll found in a garage setting, they look bad,” Los Angeles says. “On a more progressive side, they’re surprised at how we dress or walk on stage, or that the guys wear makeup.”

They and their band met two demographics head-on: relatively progressive European audiences who made them famous and a more conservative if not sensitive American audience they should be trying to impress to propel their career forward. And they’ll have to keep doing it because – like many bands before them – they left high school to do so. At one point, Raggi told me he was taking some classes at a university, “just to try to understand, ‘what is this?'”

One question that arose during my friendly and casual chat with Måneskin’s management team at the beginning was whether I’d say their music sucked. This concern seems to stem from the viral Pitchfork review, in which editor Jeremy Larson wrote that their new album, “RUSH!” feels “like it was made specifically to introduce a brand-new Ford F-150” and “feels tailor-made to be blasting in a Bath & Body Works.” On the way to a 2.0 (out of 10). Though the members of Måneskin took the review in stride, their PR handlers were worried that I too might be in it for the same kind of entertainment.

Breaking Rock’s Mold: Måneskin’s Pop-Infused Approach

Here I should note that Larson wrote an article I did for Pitchfork about Talking Heads’ album “Remain in Light” (score: 10.0) and that I consider myself a fan of it as well. Probably, due to such biases, I read the review in a way that reflects deep dissatisfaction, and, among fans of rock music, there is a common need to perceive music on a larger scale, which is “RUSH!” Incorporates numerous pop and commercial elements, such as the Manns’ chants, which might evoke a blend of Google Translate and Nicki Minaj collaboration, alongside an assertive utilization of multiband compression. It left the incompetent behind.

This point of view echoes the sentiments of post-90s rock consensus opinion (PNRC) that anything that appears too much like large-scale marketable products is not good. PNRC is based on the idea that rock is not just a musical format but also a format between a band and society. From the early days of rock, real or perceived opposition has been at the center of its appeal, from the 60s youth and counterculture days to the time when the dominance of marketable rock economically made it impossible to believe in it. sparked a violent backlash. 

To the point where major labels also felt obliged to play in this contradictory global theory, such as that time after Nirvana when the most famous genre of music was called “alternative.” Måneskin, however, has been praised for its departure from PNRC. They play rock music, but according to the logic of pop.

Maneskin: Music and Management Synergy

In Milan, where Måneskin will wrap up their Italian tour, I had the pleasure of lunching with their two managers, Marika Casalinuovo and Fabrizio Ferraguzzo. Casalinuovo is an executive producer who previously worked on “X Factor,” and Ferraguzzi was the musical director. When Måneskin’s star began to rise, Casalinuovo and Ferraguzzi left the show and started working with their homegrown stars.

We were at Moysa’s private restaurant, a collective recording studio, soundstage, rehearsal space, offices, party place, and “creative playground” that Ferraguzzo had opened just two months earlier. It was evident that they weren’t critiquing big record labels and numerous vendors anymore, they were busy recording albums, promoting, and distributing. They presented Moysa as a place where all actions were executed under one corporate umbrella – essentially emphasizing vertical integration.

Ferraguzzo oversaw the recording of “Rush!” Collaborating with a production team that featured Max Martin, the renowned Swedish hitmaker celebrated for his work with Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. In Moysa, Ferraguzzo played Måneskin’s unreleased single at the time, “Honey (Are U Coming?)” for me. 

The band showcased many signature moves, playing guitar and bass simultaneously, a Boogie-style rhythmic post-stroke style – but with an unusually high vocal register by Damiano. I listened to it first on the studio monitor and then through Ferraguzzo’s phone speaker, and both times, it sounded crisp and well-prepared as if an army of former military personnel from the industry had come together with unlimited access to espresso to complete it.

Måneskin’s inclusion of older, more experienced professionals among their ranks is a nod to the rock conventions that underscore their songwriting and, fundamentally, the pop circumstances under which they prepare their songs. They are a band of four friends, but they are within the machinery of a big machine. However, from their perspective, the machine is good.

Rock Traditions vs. Modern Realities

“Here, hundreds of individuals are actively engaged in discussing and forming opinions about you,” De Angelis remarked during lunch. “Opting to immerse oneself in understanding and controlling it all can genuinely disrupt everything,” leading to an inherent conflict within the P.N.R.C wants from a band – resistance to outside influences, disdain for commerce, a commitment to selling merchandise and keeping ticket prices as low as possible, a passion for music above all else – and what any 23-year-old sensible would want, which means someone with an M.B.A. deciding what plays.

Another way to remove Måneskin from P.N.R.C. is geographical. During lunch, it became clear that while they had some encyclopedic knowledge of American rock history during the meal, they were only vaguely aware of their contemporaries. For example, Raggi loves Motley Crüe and has a collection of L.A. hair metal band Skid Row’s albums, which he and his bandmates considered a criminally joyful experience. But none of them had heard of Fugazi, the hardcore band that came later and revolutionized punk and D.I.Y. ethics by disdaining major labels, refusing to sell merchandise, and keeping ticket prices as low as possible for their fans.

 In general, the timeline of Måneskin’s influences appears to end around 1990 when they were kids, a time when their hero Kurt Cobain referred to the most revered rock in their eyes, the late ’80s Sunset Strip heyday of Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe, as “cock rock.” This past leaves them unfamiliar with indie/punk/D.I.Y.

So the question is, does this matter to P.N.R.C. now? While Larsen and snobs like me dominate rock journalism, we’ve never made up the majority of rock fans. It’s a full circle. And snobbery is abandoned anyway; digital distribution made it clear how unclear your favorite band’s tastes were and how hard you worked to hear them. A snob as a genre’s role has only made it impossible for fans to believe in the longevity of a genre.

 And the industry’s economics – where streaming has reduced margins on recorded music, and the lockdowns of small venues have created the only reliable way to tour stadiums and large arenas – have destroyed the indie model. All of these forces have come together for the first time in their history to create a big rock again, rather than writing songs, and cultural expression.

Castles and Culture: Symbols and Showtime in Milan

Måneskin
Måneskin

Nevertheless, the castle as a symbol continues to hold its power worldwide. Everyone knows what a castle is and what its symbol means, even though the real castle no longer has any meaningful power in our lives. The castle culture has created a common language for cultural expression, although it is no longer defining our friendships, or, say, children’s parties. Parents, in the guise of authority, cry out for the truth of the castle, etc. Like a castle, many people will pay good money to see the safe historical example or even the replica, especially in Europe.

 

In Milan, the temperature had dropped to 20 degrees, and at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium – commonly known as San Siro, which is Italy’s largest stadium – where Måneskin was performing, there was a threat of a storm with thunder and lightning instead of record-breaking heat. Fans remained undeterred: many people had camped out in the parking lot the night before just to be among the first to enter the stadium. Among them was Tamara, an American who claimed to be 60 and said she had given up her “last supper” reservation at a fancy restaurant to see the show. “When you approach that door, you aim to have the freedom to do as you please,” she expressed.

The threat of rain was looming just as the show began. Black T-shirts with seafoam green accents turned into a sea of vibrant colors, and raindrops glistened visibly on the stage. Dave, near the end of “I Wanna Be Your Slave,” slipped, briefly tilting toward the back, revealing the intricate tattoo designs on his back, before quickly turning his gaze upward with theatrical flair, shining like a martyr to the electrifying heavens.

“Cool Kids” came right after the rain had paused, a gritty song with hints of Davide Cocconi’s distinctive Italian accent, celebrating rock ‘n’ roll’s defiant countercultural position: “Cool kids, they don’t like rock/they just listen to it. Getting stuck and popping.” These might be the lines most cited by Måneskin, even though they might want to consider adding a pinch of salt to them, given that within the song, you can find the lyric, “I enjoy engaging in activities I’m passionate about, yeah.”

Måneskins’ “Cool Kids” Moment

“Cool Kids” was the last song before the encore, and every night, dozens of coveted 20-something things would be released onto the stage to dance and then, as the band walked away, to try to be us. Raggi’s shredded guitar around. It was all semi-choreographed at least, but the crew had reassured me that the cool kids were not professional dancers – just enthusiastic fans asked if they wanted to be part of the show. I kept trying to meet these cool kids with encouragement to brawl and new opportunities that weren’t feasible.

On the other hand, the regular kids were everywhere and friendly. In the dressing room, Dorca and Sara, two young members of the Måneskin fan club, looked at my notebook and immediately shot me to tell me that they loved the band because, as Sara put it, “They let you be yourself.” When asked if they thought their culture was progressive in ways that had prevented them from becoming themselves, Dorca – 21 and wearing an eyelet that was part of her everyday Almari and a mismatched top that didn’t fit – said, “Maybe it has dawned on them that you can be yourself. But you didn’t know it before. You think you can’t.”

Here’s the cliff’s edge where the industry’s economics or critics’ changing preferences work independently, a part that may be freely at work from time, youth, constant renewal of hearing, and finally experiencing it for the first time. When it’s completely monetized, completely accepted, how unsettling those feelings should be – when your requests are answered all night and every day to party, “Very good, absolutely, thanks.” In a culture where consensus often outweighs dissent, anything is possible besides rebellion. After all these centuries, it should be strange to become yourself and find out that it’s not a problem for anyone.

May You Like. The Music Legend

By Areesh

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