Album review for “Mondo Cane” by Mike Patton

           A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I discussed the mentally and emotionally draining process of finding new music. You see, when I ponder adding a new artist or record to add to my collection, there are certain prerequisites they must meet first. I look at an album as an investment; how much am I really going to listen to this? Will it be the ‘little black dress’ of my iTunes? You might see how I was in a quandary when I considered purchasing “Mondo Cane.” How much would I really listen to orchestral covers of 50s and 60s Italian pop standards, fronted by the avant-garde vocalist Mike Patton? The answer may surprise you.

           I don’t want to sound obsessed, but…this album is downright addictive. I’ve found myself listening to it at least once a day since I purchased it. In fact, I listened to it three times in one single day. It’s absolutely enthralling.

           Anyone who is familiar with Mike Patton might be pleasantly surprised to hear the impressive operatic vocal performance in “Ore D’Amorem.” Most of the album does, however, bear the mark of Patton’s eccentricity, evident in tracks like “Che Notte!” and “20 KM Al Giorno.” The cover of The Blackmen’s “Urlo Negro” was given new life and has an explosive new force behind it. It’s sounds as though it suffers from multiple personality disorder – and it’s a trip to listen to. If there was one track on Mondo Cane I think anyone could appreciate, it’d be “Scalinatella.” It’s a beautiful, heart wrenching song. Patton’s voice exudes emotion that transcends all language barriers. “L’Uomo Che Non Sapeva Amare” is an absolute joy to listen to. It sounds like something you might hear at the climax of an Italian musical, while “Ti Offro Da Bere” simply sounds like a straight forward pop standard. The album closes with “Senza Fine,” a song that feels wonderfully quirky and romantic.

           Novel. Stunning. Inspired. Those are just a few of the words I’d use to describe “Mondo Cane.” Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Well, perhaps Solomon hadn’t heard Mike Patton.

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