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Måneskin Are What Happens When Rock Goes Wrong

In this episode of the Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics take on the abomination that is Måneskin’s new album.

Co-hosted by Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel and Reviews Director Jeremy D. Larson, our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the new music we find extraordinary, exciting, and absolutely terrible. This week, Puja and Jeremy talk about the Italian band Måneskin’s new album Rush!—which recently received a scathing 2.0 score on the site—breaking down how the group came to represent a certain tradition of lunkheaded rock music and why their record is such a soul-sucking listen.

Listen to this week’s episode below, and follow The Pitchfork Review here. You can also check out an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript below. 

Jeremy D. Larson: Some of the worst lyrics on here are from the song “KOOL KIDS,” which goes: “Well, cool kids, they do not like rock/They only listen to trap and pop”—and then someone ad libs, “Justin Bieber”—“And everybody knows that rock’n’roll is shit/But I don’t give a fuck about being a cool kid.” I am so allergic to that kind of fake oppositional stance, against what cool is or what cool isn’t. Maybe that’s a European thing, maybe that’s an Italian thing. I don’t know. But I don’t understand the grievance politics of this. And rock’n’roll’s antagonistic stance against pop music doesn’t really make much sense in 2023 anyway. 

Puja Patel: Right. These things are so siloed off. Rock music doesn’t need to have an antagonistic stance against pop music anymore, it’s doing just fine. And to pretend that it needs that is a pretty useless and fake thing. It doesn’t seem real to me. And that’s really what we’re getting at—if we felt like they were truly up against some sort of behemoth and were not actually industry plants, it might ring a little differently. 

Larson: There’s a lot of interviews where they’re just like, “How can you hate us? We started busking in Rome and then opened for the Rolling Stones, and Iggy Pop covered our music.” Which brings up one of the bigger questions about this phenomenon: Why do people like this? I think part of it is that there is always this desire to want to go back to something. It’s Jack from Lost. It’s Doc from Back to the Future. Like: We’ve got to go back! There’s something pure and more excellent in our past, because right now things are difficult to understand. That’s why I think artists like Mick Jagger or Iggy Pop will look at Måneskin and see the fountain of youth. 

Patel: Right. 

Larson: They’re like, I see not only myself, but the torch that I lit—and I could pass it to this band. Måneskin don’t use any electronics. They don’t use 808s or a drum machine. It’s just three guys and a woman making music. And that feels like what the unconscious desire for this music always is. You can find it right now if you go to YouTube and pull up any classic rock band from the ’70s and look at the first motherfucking comment. I guarantee you it will be somebody saying, “Oh, I love this—back when music was music, back when we built stuff in this country.” That’s what people are looking for.

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