As a recovered Panic at the Disco! fan and the child of parents who listened to No Doubt, Arctic Monkeys and N.E.R.D albums, Måneskin is the perfect band for me. As if that was not enough, the Four Season’s song that inspired Måneskin’s “Beggin’” is featured in the best scene of the “Step Up 3” movie, when Moose wins the dance battle for the team by bursting a water pipe. But the greatest part about Måneskin’s newest album, “RUSH!” is that it appeals to such a variety of listeners, with everything from smooth emotional ballads and danceable bangers to haunting melodies and head-banging tunes.
Released on Jan. 20, “RUSH!” is Måneskin’s first album since the band won Eurovision in 2021. The four band members formed the group in 2016, and each highlights their unique penchant for music through their songs. From gritty vocals to complicated drum solos and powerful bass, Måneskin’s songs have skyrocketed them to the top of the charts, first in Europe and then in the U.S. This new album synthesizes the success of their past songs into similarly iconic beats but more heavily embraces a wider range of emotional experience, from loneliness to love.
There is something simmering about the entirety of “RUSH!”, both pulling me back into the musical nostalgia of childhood and also pushing me forward into futuristic raves and parties with friends yet to be made. It is not surprising that in a Eurovision 2021 interview, vocalist Damiano David described Måneskin’s musical style as “a translation of the music of the past into modernity.”
Since 2016, the band has grown in popularity, globally. I sensed an underlying message from Måneskin’s new album about what new fame means to a group of beautiful rockstars; both its horrors and glories. In an era of intense pressure on musical artists to make the next viral TikTok song, artistic freedom was evidently on their minds. “OWN MY MIND” and “GOSSIP,” featuring the iconic Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, are a strong beginning to the album. The latter feels like an incisive commentary on fame and media played out against the beautiful backdrop of Morello’s guitar solos. The “GOSSIP” music video even starts out with the band literally in a glass box, being stared and yelled at by an onslaught of observers.
Morello’s appearance is just one of the references to past and present musical inspiration and phenomena of the music industry in this album. The bassline of “FEEL” sounds eerily reminiscent of older Arctic Monkeys songs, as though “Fake Tales of San Francisco” had a baby with The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Måneskin even chillingly named one of their songs “MARK CHAPMAN,” the name of the American man known for murdering former Beatles member John Lennon in 1980. Throughout the songs, there is a thread of commentary about fame and what it means to be idolized yet also threatened.
Aside from social commentaries, there is definitely something to be said for playing songs that empower the listener, and “RUSH!” has no shortage of those. Their glam rock style has always lent itself well to songs that encourage the listener to not care about societal conventions, in terms of musical, fashion, sexual and identity liberation, such as their past hit, “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE.” In that vein, “RUSH!” is an album best blasted in bass-heavy headphones while strutting down the street in your most edgy attire and intense RBF. For example, “GASOLINE” is the epitome of a gritty rock song with a simmering bassline that oozes badassery, and I am convinced it should be the new Peaky Blinders theme song if that TV series ever gets rebooted.
Aside from its confidence-inducing and thought-provoking tracks, this album has plenty of iconic rockstar love ballads. Whether you are a listener missing your long-distance partner or bubbling with anger from a recent breakup, there is a song for you. “TIMEZONE” has the energy of a slow dance in the middle of a party, floating romantically out of speakers, reading like a melody for people who are separated from their true love by distance alone. Right after that song, however, you can blast “BLA BLA BLA,” for all those listening who are jaded from past breakups and looking to move on. In the band’s Jan. 20th Spotify interview, Bassist Victoria De Angelis describes “BLA BLA BLA” as her favorite song of the album because it allowed the band to “feel the freedom to do whatever you like.”
The band ultimately describes the 17-track album as being made up of three types of songs, with each type representing different emotional responses they all had in their quick rise to fame. The first type is their provocative, arrogant songs like “KOOL KIDS,” propelling them towards creativity and ignoring the pressures of perfection. The second type is their more emotional songs, touching on the feelings of loneliness that they all experienced while traveling and leaving their homes. Their album ends with “THE LONELIEST,” decidedly their most heart-wrenching track, bearing a mournful tune and haunting vocals. The third type is social critique, like “GOSSIP” which addresses global issues of performative, social media-based perfection culture.
Måneskin actually means “moonlight” in Danish, and I couldn’t think of better music to encompass the experience and emotional states of a single evening in the moonlight; whether a party rager, sorrow-filled bout of loneliness or intense societal critique, “RUSH!” will be the album of my 2023 nights.
Zimra Chickering (24C) is a born and raised Chicagoan who studies art history and nutrition science. She is also a Woodruff JEDI Fellow, educational committee chair for Slow Food Emory, organizer of Art Circles at Emory, and a tour guide for the Michael C. Carlos Museum. Zimra loves cooking, hiking, visiting art museums, photography, drinking tea, reading, and grocery shopping. She uses writing as an outlet to reflect upon issues and oppurtunities within artistic institutions, and the unique ways in which food and art can act as communicators of culture.