Pietro Cottone collaborates with a host of musicians for this deeply conceptual, historically relevant and hard-hitting new album Fight For The Rights.
Detailing modern life and this point we’ve reached as humans, the project digs deep into Cottone’s thoughts on politics, social issues and life itself. In addition though, it does so in a musically satisfying manner. The playlist is loaded with great songs, an alternative rock core often meeting with melodic brilliance, and meanwhile – the ideas and these heavy topics start to sink in whether you intend for them to or not. The music starts the conversation, and sometimes that’s the hardest the part.
The opening and title track kicks the project off on a strong foot, fusing superb rock musicality with memorable, anthem-like melodies and a consistent sense of awareness and depth. It’s an easy hit, fairly classic-rock-like but also energizing for its contemporary undertones and how fresh and relatable the leading vocal sounds.
Cottone holds nothing back, lyrically and performance-wise – passion and emotional peaks run wild and free, along with notably intentional ideas; and a fine selection of guitar solos. Throw Down Your Weapons Now is a fine example of all of this. The truth at its core is undeniably poignant, and the set-up of the track – complete with spoken-word fragments – lets that connect all the more intensely.
The vast majority of songs on this record run well over the five-minute mark. This means you get a genuine and detailed journey with each composition. The music is as expressive as the lyrics, and just as crucial in representing the weight of the underlying sentiments.
Genre-wise Cottone seems to let the moment decide which direction things will go in. There are moments of blues-rock and retro funk thrown in among progressive rock and hard rock arenas. There’s also a definite thread though, throughout all of this, and you soon warm to the sound and style that is this artist and this project.
Hooker is a lyrically shocking track that initially seems light-hearted for its melodies and the vocal choir effect. The result is that your attention is undoubtedly captured from afar as you realise what’s being said. Cottone’s intention is to get precisely that reaction, as these are issues that are far more unsettling than a simple song could ever portray. The job has been done well – here and indeed throughout the rest of the album. This song actually signifies a turn down a much darker pathway than expected. Star Of David follows and is creatively striking and impossible to ignore. A beautiful performance brings through a heart-breaking song that again pays tribute to the absolute truth of our times.
Stylistically, Cottone often utilizes immense long-form melodies to get his ideas across – the verses can be so detailed and freely meandering that it feels far more like a monologue than anything else. Cleverly resolving that though is the fact that each and every song offers a mighty hook and some brilliant instrumental skill. Masters Of New Speak is the perfect example of all of this.
Later on, Litany leads with a somewhat cinematic weight – musically full, high energy, provocative and slightly sci-fi-like. Rise Again afterwards drives with a more classic rock ballad vibe and a delicate vocal that captivates with poetry and self-awareness. Partisans then takes on the prog-rock pace and power of yesteryear with a huge moment of strength and implied unity.
Towards the end of the project, Migrant is an outstanding song and a personal favourite. Lines like What’s the price to stay alive really linger with you long after listening. The song is musically beautiful and the lyrics underline the depth of this current and consistently heart-breaking issue in a really compelling way.
Mixed in among the chaos and pain touched upon throughout the album, there are definite hints of optimism and positivity – thoughts of progression, potential solutions, pointers towards love and togetherness. No song exemplifies this more than the closing piece We The People Can Brighten This World. Another absolute anthem, the track is quickly memorable, and though it asks questions openly, the title and the lasting ideas seem to lean distinctly towards possibility and hope. There are many tunnels, there is much darkness, but there’s also plenty of light.
It’s not easy listening, the subject matter hits with impact every step of the way. Reality can’t be painted over though, and Pietro Cottone tackles the world’s issues and his feelings towards them in an upfront and respectably honest way. These things affect us all, and as suggested – this album is a stark yet great way to start the conversation.
Download the album via iTunes or CDBaby or stream it on Spotify. Find & follow Pietro Cottone on Facebook & Twitter. While music is a passion, Pietro Cottone is also a neuroscientist working on addiction – he has published over 50 papers and is Associate Professor at Boston University. A book will be published in the next month or so which he edited, on food addiction – you can pre-order it here.