A compilation album of songs on a specific subject is always a tricky prospect and depending on ones individual tastes, can be pretty interesting when digesting its contents. Whether you are musically minded or not it is an accepted general mantra that for an album to be a good or great album, every song or record included has to sound like it should be there, be it an album by an artist, compilation of songs in a specific genre or compilation of songs on a specific subject. But even then that too might be paradoxical because a good or great album is also determined on the individual listener’s tastes.
Rapha have attempted a compilation of songs inspired by the Giro d’Italia and on first impressions it appears to be a mish-mash of narrative, classic opera, avant-garde and euro pop which when listened to is slightly disconcerting and as the album progresses, not easy on the ears.
That though is because of the personal taste of the reviewer, some reading this who have listened to the album as well are more than welcome to beg to differ at the end of this article. However you may find yourself asking the question, “If I could put the Giro d’Italia to music, what music would I select?”
Rapha have chosen a broad selection of songs and an interesting selection at that but unfortunately it doesn’t work. The more modern songs by Italian pop stars like Edoardo Bennato, Gino Latino and Tullio di Piscopo who are amongst others included in the album wouldn’t look or sound out of place in the Eurovision song contest. The spoken narrative can also be hard to stomach because if the Giro is about that oft overused adjective, passion then the speaker certainly doesn’t exude it.
The best track though is the last track, Un Bel di Vedremo by Puccini. Listening to that it is easy to imagine the Giro peloton with the Maglia Rosa in the middle snaking its way through the narrow cobbled streets of an ancient citadel or riders climbing the highest and toughest Giro climbs. Songs like that are definite expressions of the magic and passion of the Giro and music like that allows for easier Giro inspiration rather than the type of Euro pop included on the CD.
It is a fair attempt by Rapha but it is recommended to those who either enjoy Euro-pop or die-hard enthusiasts. For those who are seeking to be inspired by the Giro through music then that is down to individual personal tastes but this reviewer might go and listen to a Puccini CD.