Canticle to Intimacy

And he does so by steering clear from conventional pulsating music to highlight intimate love in everyday life. I feel this is so spot-on because apart from being inundated with more of the same, we need a singular starkness to acknowledge that intimacy is not to be taken for granted. And much more; since Gabbani being Gabbani, transmits positivity while making truly profound social statements.

The softest breeze of tubular bells at the very start rings out the first note of this stupendous song. Listen to the string of apparent contradictions infused in the Biblical images of the Universal Flood and even hinting of the Last Judgement to pinpoint the power games we play with love, our unsatisfied sexual desires, our inhibitions, our fragility, our incomprehension, our need to be alone, our insatiable hunger for love while allowing ourselves to be tortured by clinging to the myopic Cartesian split between thought and feeling. Summing us up as ‘The purest souls in the dirtiest defects’ gives me goose pumps.

Gabbani’s initial piano playing sets the philosophical slant, his escalating voice coming to a momentary stop to hook the percussive caesura which soon gives way to a few seconds of playful whistling as he is about to assert that it only takes a few simple words to explain ‘The complex mechanism/ That governs the harmony of our love’.

Gabbani continues to draw the curtain on intimacy by jibing at our celebrity culture with an anti-climatic parallelism in ‘Envied by all, and indispensable to none’. I feel that there is an autobiographical touch here for he himself was catapulted into fame with his two consecutive Sanremo victories and winning everybody’s hearts together with the Critics’ Award at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Tellingly, he had the wisdom to stay away for a while to interiorize the impact of his stardom and return with a marvelous take on how both the effort (typically male) and thrill of saying ‘I love you’ is the only way out of our incessantly chaotic lives. And chaos it certainly is since peace talk sparks revolution, and  ‘Dictators in the head’ are ‘partisans inside the heart’, so that many dreams of a normal life remain unrealized. ‘But the love of the normal does not even have any words.’

While the overall message of his song says nothing new, it is the way he sings that wins you over. His modulation, dynamism, and dancing enrich every note, every pause making you both smile and cry at the essential, unadorned explanation of intimacy which fills our emptiness and has the ‘entire universe locked in a room’.

‘It’s you that make me feel good when I feel bad and vice versa’. Who would have thought that a most unromantic word like ‘viceversa’ can transmute into a lover’s embrace when sung with such candour in a stream of reflections, a swell of impassioned notes, playful whistling and ending with the most tender, smiling cadence of clasped joy?

It is absolutely amazing how the entire song delineates and replicates the magic of having your lover’s arms reach out for you and caressing you every single day of your life. Truly ‘a victory just before the surrender’.

This is the kind of intimacy we should never want to recover from.



Noemi Zarb
Noemi Zarb
Writing, teaching, marketing. I have pursued three totally different career paths with the power of words serving both as link and lynchpin. Now I dedicate most of my time to writing - a never-ending romance. Typical of content writing I have been and am still responsible for scripting webs, advertorials as well as full-length articles. As a feature/opinion writer, I have over 600 articles published in Malta's leading newspapers and magazines (and still counting) - an experience which honed my interviewing skills when I interviewed countless painters and people involved in the performance arts. I also have over two decades of teaching English Literature and Critical Thinking via Textual Analysis under my belt having prepared students for the IB Diploma in English Language and Literature as well as MATSEC, IGCSE and SEC examinations in English language and English Literature. TEFL sometimes punctuated my summer holidays. Dealing with young people keeps you young and I have truckloads of cherished memories of my past students My current writing continues to be inspired by what life throws at me together with my critical thinking of what goes on (or doesn’t) around me firing my sense perception and vice versa. Being immersed in the corporate world gives me endless opportunities to observe facets of human behavior which invariably have me brood over. Learning and thinking over what I learn is still my way forward.

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  1. Noemi, love is perhaps the most complicated subjects to write about. To write about is to understand which obviously you do quite well. When it comes to finding different works (be they songs, plays, or novels) I marvel at your ability. Thank you again for your article about love. I hope in your life you know nothing but love.

    • Love is certainly the most complicated subject to write about and its complexity is truly infinite. I do believe that although each and everyone one of us cannot come close to fully understanding its power, we should all do our best to live it by giving it without expectation. This is very hard indeed and yet the impact can be beyond wonderful. Joel, I too wish you a life full of love. A heartfelt thanks for your time and appreciation

  2. Che bell’articolo e quanta freschezza, “nonostante” il tuo scavare e carpire ogni più piccolo particolare ed esprimerlo… E aggiungo che ogni volta mi colpisce l’approccio e lo svolgimento di ogni tuo lavoro… Che arriva sempre… Grazie Noemi.
    Apprezzo molto Gabbani per tutte le sue sfaccettature artistiche e questo suo ultimo brano apre, se vogliamo, ancora una nuova finestra sull’amore.
    Ho da sempre pensato che la musica è comunque la “colonna sonora” della nostra vita. Non per relegarla a essere semplicemente una colonna sonora (senza nulla togliere al ruolo importante che questa ha) perché come tale evidenzia i momenti più eclatanti della nostra vita…
    Io credo sia molto di più… per me la musica è nel silenzio di noi stessi… e riverbera nell’ambiente… tutto intorno a noi… Chiudendo questa parentesi vorrei solo dire che ciò che hai citato “Avere amore per l’amore della nostra vita” racchiude qui tutto …
    Amare comporta anche il rischio che chi amiamo possa sfruttare a proprio vantaggio le nostre debolezze/insicurezze… metterci in una posizione di svantaggio…
    …o meglio la completa nuda naturalezza per poter comunicare reciprocamente le proprie intimità… Naturalezza anche intesa come vivere liberi da quello che è il pensiero di come gli altri ci possano recepire, da chi amiamo… da noi stessi…
    è la meravigliosa bellezza dell’amore!
    Grazie cara Noemi

    • Caro Claudio non ho parole per dirti grazie con tutto il mio cuore. Le tue riflessioni sono sempre talmente bellissime e sincere che creano una profonda richezza.

    • Grazie di cuore Fulvio. Il merito e’ tutto di Gabbane perche’ e’ un artista completo, autentico e chi non asseconda le mode – davvero unico. Grazie di nuovo.

    • Grazie con tutto il mio cuore Fulvio. Ma tutto e’ merito di Gabbani perche’ e’ un artista completo – autentico e che non asseconda le mode. Grazie di nuovo.

  3. Thank you, dear Noemi, for another great article of yours !
    This time , the subject is : Love, the most difficult and arduous theme to talk about and , yet, so much discussed , dissected and popular theme . Today, it’s even Saint Valentine day and , yes, love is in the air …
    However, it’s not easy to define Love and Gabbani’s suggestion, in a very simple formula, with the magical word “viceversa “ , tells it all and we can only applaud at the genius of the Italian singer .

    • I am totally with you Manuela. The word ‘ love’ has been bandied about so much that it has often lost its significance. The magic of Gabbani’s ‘Viceversa’ shows us how we can give back its true meaning. Thank you, Manuela, for your appreciation and may your air be full of love.

    • Oh yes the ultimate test of love is when tragedy hits not when all is smiles and roses. Thank you for your time and appreciation.

    • A heartfelt thank you, Laura. Gabbani certainly makes Italy proud and seeing the affection people have for him shows that there are many sensitive and loving people around despite the cruel world we live in.

  4. This is a great piece Noemi. Love is the essence of life. I know that both you and I love this exceptional singer and with reason too. He is so deep in everything he writes, his songs are not easy to sing along to but he conveys his feelings so well. Well done Noemi for this beautiful article.

    • You re so right about Gabbani and his songs. I think the Italians should come up with a new expression:’Cuore di Gabba’ (Gabba is his nickname). Thank you so much for appreciation and most of all for being the most wonderful friend.

    • Thank you ever so much for your time and appreciation. Gabbani has certainly captivated my heart and all praise is due to him.

    • Thanks ever so much for your time and appreciation. Gabbani has certainly captivated my heart because he truly is unique in his depth, his authenticity and in refusing to pander to shallowness.

  5. Wow. Noemi, this blew me away. There’s so much going on here yet all of it exquisitely played out. No. Intimacy should never be taken for granted. Sexual, as well as emotional, I just wrote a story touching on this very thing. I’m going to read this again. Thank you for sharing your unique voice. Brava!

    • So glad, Sherry, that you floated with Gabbani the way I do. This new song of his is a marvel of marvels.
      Let me know when you publish your story. Thank you for your appreciation.

  6. A delightful article Noemi, and an interesting song which encapsulates the nuances of togetherness. I’ve always enjoyed the writing and musicianship of Mike Oldfield, and one such song that conjures up notions of romantic pedigree is Man In the Rain. It is more about the foolish things people do when they think they are in love, of which some folks refer to as a state of limerence. The lovely vocals are performed by Irish folk singer Cara Dillon. I’ve always found this to be a flawless diamond…

    • Thank you, Aaron, for your time and appreciation. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to Mike Oldfield. Thank you for reminding me of him.

  7. There is nothing more important than love. Without it all colors get darker, the whole world becames just a place where we live and not the place where we live our dreams. Love nurishes our souls and give us strength to move on, even when we think that we can’t. Thank you Ms Noemi for another beautiful article which reached the essence of our existence.