Thus, Nuclear Tactical Penguins was born a generational anthem that is not destined to be silenced in the midst of a simple summer season.
There are songs that float on the air during the season and then disappear when we are haunted by other seasons. And there are songs that remain in time and continue to cling to the ear for months and months. Young wannabe nuclear tactical penguinsreleased a year ago in May, could have gone the way of many successful songs, strong under the sun and forgotten with the first fall of the leaves: instead, despite the fact that in the last glance it had already reached number one on the FIMI singles chart. last summer (August 26 to September 8) this rating decided not to give it up anymore, but in the meantime to accumulate five platinum records.
That the piece wanted to ignite the memory and never let go could be guessed from the very first notes: a low and bleating synthesizer, reminiscent of a nasal organ We Found Love by Calvin Harris and Rihannadictates a melody of five notes, forming a certain syncopated rhythm: ta-ta-ta, ta-ta-ta, ta-ta; this is enough to graft the song’s metric chromosome into the brain. Even if the bass drum beats evenly, in the electronic-rock arrangement of the work, however, this syncopated rhythm cell, consisting of forward and backward steps, does not break away from the melody and accompaniment. Not only that, but the main chord curve of the song captures this rhythm perfectly: in a simple four-chord progression, you feel both determined and hesitant, one step forward and two steps back before taking off again. You can hear it everywhere this progression has been used, in Adam’s song by blink-182 and also in Two thousand minutes of Mara Satteya, from the gothic Taylor Swift of folklore to the angelic Beyoncé of Halo: this is a ride that wants to offer hope, but not before opening up a precipice. This progression, which in Penguini Tattici Nucleari takes the form of D, E minor, B minor, G, is usually used in ballads that want to dose anxiety and satisfaction and, above all, like in the best pop loops, start perpetual motion.
The genius move of Riccardo Zanotti (and Marco Paganelli, who is signing and producing with PTN leader and Enrico Brun) is to use the wave motion of this rhythm and this harmony to compose a stadium anthem: not epic and luxurious, but on a human scale, which makes you feel the effort of climbing, not the fanfare of arrival. How do we feel the weariness of a man who never finds his place in the world and actually prefers the rain in summer? And how can we all participate in this? The text gives us some clues, as it is a manifestation of the power of Zanotti’s poetic register halfway between comedy and elegy: contrasts (“I give your name to a tropical hurricane”), surprises (“you too are a landscape”), pun (“you are born lonely and die lonely ”), quotes (“you are history, Mark Block”) and all four things combined (“flower children of evil”). But the continuous effort of the one who never ceases to seek, this escape from himself (“take me anywhere, as long as it is far from me”) we feel in the very architecture of the song, because it is woven into the melody of the song. each section: each phrase sung by Zanotti is a journey through a major scale, consisting of many steps, but also jumps, a marathon in continuous ascent and descent from octave to octave, leading you from the lowest point to the highest (from “your photo with ME” to “I can’t help but look at you”) and vice versa (from “GIOwani Wannabe” to “I dedicate roads to you”). In the literal sense, these are journeys whose destination is not the sea, but the departure note an octave higher – almost always – or lower. And when will you let us get off, Zanotti? Obviously in the chorus: when, using the world’s oldest trick, the frontman cranks up the volume and makes us sing a high note in the chorus.
In mid-July, the Nuclear Tactical Penguins and The Kolors win a popular phrase contest on the radio.
Why do “we” force us? Because in the very astute writing of the passage, the story of those “we two” spoken of in the verse suddenly achieves enough vagueness and universality to turn the intimate first person plural into a group (about as big as the steps of a sports arena), who participates in a collective psychoanalytic session. In the transition from pre-chorus to chorus, those two syncopated kicks of kick and tom, followed by the snare (always the track’s regular rhythmic gene, ruthless) are the stadium’s version of the rallying call: from now on – there those three drum beats say – you’ll have to sing in chorus, because all this concerns you.
Indeed, as he said in some interviews, Zanotti’s “young wannabes” were not only the protagonists of this text, but an entire generation (“the so-called Boch generation”), an indeterminate segment of the population between Millennials and Generation Z, raised in distant wars and survived the end of history, which was supposed to come after the collapse of the USSR, according to Francis Fukuyama. The PTN frontman has enough empathy to turn “you and me” into a more general “we”. But this is not enough to rally everyone, you need a slogan, and Zanotti has an exceptional nose for it: thus, he came up with a new meaning for the word “copycat”. In slang usage, the term would not be entirely flattering: “mimic” is someone who “would like to, but can’t”coincidentally the not-quite-self-deprecating goal of an entirely different catchphrase, much more obscene.
Zanotti, on the other hand, made it clear: “As a rule, imitation has a negative connotation, but in our case, we want to implement cultural reappropriation and give it a positive connotation, because in a world that has no place for us, we just have to be imitators and imagine that we can become whoever we want to be”, he wrote in the song’s press release. And we can assume that this re-assignment succeeded, given the peak of searches for the term in May 2022, despite five Spice Girls. Only one thing is missing to fulfill the message of the song, and at the same time guarantee its long life: to be in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators, in ever larger arenas, and kindly invite them to sing in chorus “we are young imitators” shortly after the start of the concert, when the metaphorical the iron is still hot. And that’s exactly what the Penguins have been doing for the last two summers, roaming the country.
in general with events that are gradually becoming more attended (the latter, as a grand finale of the recent stadium tour, on September 9 at the RFC Arena in Reggio Emilia). From palazzetto to palazzetto, from festival to festival, Giovani Wannabe was offered in the first bars, and, one might say, for a certain reason: despite the anthemic energy and the summer bass drum, in its undulating movement and in its gymnastic melody, Giovani Wannabe invites us to continue look for meaning, continue to “want” something. Possibly another PTN song in the lineup. And after the concert, another PTN song on the streaming platform. And now, 63 weeks later, Generation Bo is once again crushing the game.