Italian Rock Band Paradox: So cool and a little hot
CREDIT: Instagram @maneskinofficial
You know that saying we all used in the fifth grade that’s like “If I looked up the definition of (insert something rude) in the dictionary, your name would be there!”
Yeah, well, if you looked up the definition of cool in the dictionary, it might look a little something like this.
Fairly low temperature
Really, intensely good. Ex. Måneskin
The group formed in 2016 in Rome, first playing on streets and entering small band contests, then graduated to the Italian version of X Factor and won the coveted Eurovision 2021 competition. And unlike many contestants of the past, Måneskin performed their winning song, “Zitti E Buoni” in their native tongue. Despite the huge win, perhaps the biggest success for Måneskin so far, which other Eurovision winners often have trouble cracking, is hitting the charts globally (including in the states). Their hit song “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE” reached top 10 on the Billboard Global charts, and their cover of “Beggin” reached 35 on Billboard 100 and top 5 on Billboard Global.
All of that to say, they’re a bit of a worldwide sensation-and a lot of that is thanks to raging bisexuals on TikTok.
So what is it that makes Måneskin so attractive to the users and even trends on the app? What is it about the group that is so unique? I’m so glad you asked.
One of Måneskin’s coolest attributes as a group (believe me, there are many) is that in their performances and visual style, they all blur the lines of a gender binary. And while only two members identify as queer (guitarist Victoria De Angelis and drummer Ethan Torchio), each performance is smothered in eyeliner, same-sex kisses and skirts paired with open faced collared button-downs. Such a characteristic is what leaves many members of their audience feeling a sense of bi-panic, or attraction to all the members in the group. Boys wearing lipstick and girls wearing suits? Male vocalist and female guitarist? Crisscrossing the lines of traditional gender roles? Panicking already.
Their hit song “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE,” perhaps indicated by the title, is also extremely sex positive. The music video highlights shots of the members in bondage, spitting on each other and sharing gum with each other (which is arguably just as personal).
The song houses lines like, “I wanna be your sex toy, I wanna be your teacher” and “I'm a freak that is searching for redemption.” Such lines, paired with their addictive hit cover “Beggin” were quick to become audio samples on TikTok and catapult them even further into success. As I’m sure you know, successful videos on the app rely on attraction, catchy soundbites, and transformations or actions that require a build up and keep the audience hooked. The band’s commitment to gender fluidity strikes a chord ;) with many queer teens on TikTok along with the dark clothing, heavy metal and sexual nuances without overtly showing sex. As a result, songs Beggin and Zitti E Buoni are played over videos of people in alternative clothing, dark eyeliner, and messy hair - often trying to mimic the badassery of the band.
And, can we please talk about the actual music style?
The lead singer Damiano David’s voice echoes the instrumental sounds of a distorted guitar with rock-low, deep and guttural-like sounds, sprinkled with shrieks and moans. The songs sung in Italian represent a sonic juxtaposition between a flowing love language and harsh power chords, creating a unique blend of feelings, especially to a Western ear. And the songs sung in English have an Italian accent poking through, keeping the listener on edge and unsuspecting of upcoming pronunciations (fans keep thirsting over the way Damiano curses in his music pronouncing a short u as a short o instead).
Although Måneskin is still a new band, their raging confidence, catchy guitar riffs and overall coolness is addictive to both watch and listen to.
Lily Olsthoorn is an online writer for the super cool, super lovely Rowdy Mag. If you’re wondering what she’s up to at this exact moment, she might be rollerskating, drinking tea, thinking about jazz piano solos, or petting a cat. Or all four. See her on Insta at lily.ols if you’re feeling yourself!