They are not equal to anyone, just like Rome. They don’t ape but they rock, just like Rome. They do not speak to their own navel, but to the world, just like Rome. They have the “Bruises on the elbows” (title of one of their strongest songs, a hymn to the courage and boldness of those who have ideas), just like Rome. We exaggerate in saying that i Moonlight they are the incarnation of Roman 2.0, of that new sense of challenge and power – sound in this case – of a city or rather of a civilization capable of re-proposing itself on the international stage and of winning because it is better?
Maneskin, da Roma a New York
No exaggeration and a series of facts: Måneskin stand out in all the charts, they are seventh with I Wanna Be Your Slave in the English top ten – it has never happened for an Italian group to climb that empyrean – and after Olivia Rodrigo and before The Weekends are the most listened to in the world. There are young people who complain, with or without the little guitar; those who aspire to citizenship income; those who hope for the increasingly impossible help of mom and dad; those who give themselves deep and intellectual poses to hide the nothing they have to say or sing. And then there are the Måneskin.
Maneskin, Damiano saves Victoria De Angelis who was about to be hit: the video is viral
People who know how to be in the world because they learned to see it starting as street artists at the beginning of 2017, when they played in via del Corso. Guys who have nothing to ask, and impose themselves because they know how to do it. All their roads started from Rome and it must also be this primal force – of new Romans with millennia behind them – that pushed them to victory in Eurovision, to send the New York Times, to be celebrated by a very famous influencer – Abby Roberts, 16 million followers – in a video in which she sings in Italian Zitti e buona.
Maneskin on the cover of the Vanity Fair special: “Free, different and proud of being so”
And many other influencers from one corner of the planet to the other are crazy about Damiano, the shirtless emperor of the new way of being Roman that seduces and fascinates. But wasn’t this city the endless decay? Wasn’t she steadfast in contemplation, as James Joyce said, of the corpse of her past covered with dust in the cellar of the house? Not at all, Damiano, Victoria, Thomas and Ethan, eternally post-high school students of Monteverde, are the pulsating rhythm of the recovery of a spirit, the spirit of Rome, who knows how to produce greatness. And when it does so, emerging from the niche it cradles and spoils, it knows how to do it with an impulse of healthy ambition, of character with a capital C, of even industrial clarity. It is not true that the industry is only Milan. Indeed, the Måneskin have been able to take X Factor in Milan (finished second but true triumphs), to fly everywhere. From Rome they conquered the North and so on. And it is so true, in their case, that in hoc signo vinces that they do not need to rely on commercial approval – the one that would have arisen by relying on the planetary manager of One Direction but nothing will be done – to reach other heights.
Awareness in one’s own means is the means that makes these new Romans special. And who knows that the Måneskin model does not go viral, in this capital that can go back to being Caput Mundi, even outside of rock. Just be enterprising, original, stay outside the box and get involved: made in Rome can be relaunched in this way. Like Damiano, Victoria and the others are demonstrating. The self-confidence and self-awareness with which they are on stage – now depopulated between Berlin and Amsterdam on the European tour – can derive from that spectacular attitude that is inherent in a city-theater of the world such as ours. They represent, in music, Roma is back. But beyond music there can be much more.
Sunday 20 June 2021, 09:10
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