The Wacky and Wonderful World of ITALO DISCO

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Blue Jay
Blue Jay

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Joined: 22 Nov 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 84
Location: Mad World

02 Jan 2019, 9:01 pm

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you a musical genre that is simultaneously unlike anything you have ever seen and yet all the same so, so familiar. We've all seen the 80s cliches- the neon lights, wacky hairstyles, bright colors, lazerbeams, cyborgs, synths, palm trees and a glimmering sunset in the distance... it all comes together in a very distinct and recognizable way. You can usually tell if a place was popular in the 80s just by looking at the interior style of it, and it's no different with sounds. Italo disco takes all of your favorite 80's tropes, then drizzles it with rich and spicy seasoning straight out of Europe's boot.

Now 80's music may be overdramatic and grandiose in its styling, but italo disco takes this stereotype above and beyond. Every single italo disco song is overdramatic in its own right and the listener may get the inclination that it has no right to take itself as seriously as it does because of how absurdly cheesy it is and yet... certainly there is something unique and enthralling about the genre if you can put aside your modern music sensibilities and really give some of these songs a critical analysis. Much like italian food, italo disco has much more variety on its platter than you think, tomato may be the base of it but there are subtleties in those glimmering synthesizers that the untrained ear may not pick up on. Certainly there are certain themes, every Italo song has a certain groove to it. Think new wave with a beat. I get the sense that modern electronic genres based on 80s nostalgia like synthwave has more in common with Italo than traditional new wave, the electronic and instrumental aspects seem dramaticized and amplified in Italo, with a beat thrown in it. The singers always have this dramatic desperation in their voices, like they are trying to keep somebody from breaking up with them or something, and all of it has a certain charm to it. It radiates energy and is certainly fun to listen to in my opinion. For those interested in hearing some Italo disco, here are some of my personal favorites-

Chance To Desire by Radiorama-
This one has a very strong opening, and if I am going to introduce people to Italo this one fits the bill. Starts with church bells, vocals begin, beat picks up, synthesizers start, harmonized chanting. Prepare thyself as the magic of Italo marches into your barren soul and fills it with color and life. This one hits every italo trope, including the overdramatic vocals. If you don't like this at all, Italo isn't for you, but do listen to the others in this list because maybe you will like other songs. If you like it, do listen on!

Hypnotic Tango by My Mine-
This one is rather unique, it has more of a strong groove than a lot of Italo songs, very smooth like it could be played in a dance club (especially a hipster club). The chorus has an undeniable beauty, as the backup synths pick up as it goes on, then goes back into the beat for the next verse.

Tonight by Ken Laszlo-
One of the songs that originally got me into Italo disco, I really like the way the synths and beat come together with the singer. He sounds very italian so it feels authentic, and the chorus is really uplifting and fun. Overall it's a very well developed and balanced Italo track.

Disco Band by Scotch-
One of the definitive Italo disco song in my opinion. The beat is very strong and the vocal performance is pretty unique, this one should make you want to dance if none of the others on the list haven't already done so.

Tarzan Boy by Baltimora-
This is one of those Italo songs where the chorus basically makes the song. It is very catchy and will get stuck in your head, and the background music is very strong as well, with the guitar riff and synths combined with the Tarzan yell in tune with a beat. Very enjoyable and shows the variety of sounds italo can offer.

Masterpiece by Gazebo-
This song truly is a masterpiece, it epitomizes the overdramaticism of italo disco. Unsurprisingly about love of some kind, almost melancholic, desperate, beautiful chorus. Pianos and synths combine to craft a very nice instrumental. One of my personal favorites.

Color My Love by Fun Fun-
As the name of the artist implies, this is a fun, fun listen. It's a very upbeat italo track, fitting title because the beat has a very "colorful" vibe as does the album art.

Visions by Koto-
This one is purely instrumental, very strong beat and very nice synths. Started a whole subgenre called spacesynth that sounds a lot like synthwave. Definitely worth looking into.

Well, there are my handpicked favorites. If you liked feel free to explore more italo, you won't regret it!

My life is a dramatic MTV power ballad from the 80's.