I’m going to badmouth Italy for a bit. Italy much like my parent’s homeland Mexico, shares a lot of the same beauty and a lot of the same ugly. We all know the beautiful from its arts to its natural beauty but the ugly is always lurking underneath…I mean, there’s rampant racism and nationalism, glaring political corruption, vast amount of poverty that starts engulfing you once you get away from the postcard areas. Why do I bring up all of this?
Well, because Italo Disco, and specifically a track like Wish Key’s “Last Summer”, perfectly captures this dichotomy rather than running away from it. The way the track is arranged is ingenious. This song vacillates from sleazy, sexy, and then to longing. Check out how the different the synth parts sound when the male voice comes in, as opposed to the female vocal sections. The male section has some very lecherous bass synths slinking around an almost cold vocal delivery. Then the song switches to female vocals, bass synths get dropped and these twinkling, uplifting synth pads start coming in. Just sticking with those two parts could have made the music sound so bipolar if not for the instrumental sections linking those areas. These instrumental sections that borrow a bit of each of the backing male/female are in their own way wistful and melancholy (entirely different to what those part wants to present).
In a nutshell, if music can paint a picture its one of acknowledging truth and finding value in everything that can be ugly at times. I mean, if you want to paint a beautiful musical picture don’t you want to use a full color palette?