Uncork a bottle of wine. Turn down the lights. Put Patrizio, the latest album from Italian heartthrob Patrizio Buanne on your stereo if you still have one, on your iPod if not. Sit down next to your lady, and wait for her to melt. Clearly that’s what the singer intends, and he’s got the goods to make it happen. There are some uptempo numbers on the disc, but romance is what Buanne is all about. It is, really, what he’s always been about. He flirts with his audience—Sure he jokes at times, teases at times, but flirting? Always.—and why not? The man is as sexy as they come and he has a voice that makes women swoon (if women still do that) and turns men green with envy (which indeed they still do).
Although some may be disappointed with this new album because it strays quite a bit from the Italian standards that the singer is probably best known for, it is the singer’s attempt to broaden his repertoire. He doesn’t neglect his bread and butter entirely, though. There are some songs with something of an Italian pedigree–”Make Love (Amore Sempre Con Te),” ”Americano” and “Maybe This Summer”—but they are all sung in English. “Never, Never, Never,” a lovely Italian standard sung as a duet with Reneé Olstead, does have a couple of verses sung in his native language, and then there is his cover of the Rosemary Clooney classic, “Mambo Italiano,” which at least has an Italian title and an Italian reference or two, even if it doesn’t quite deliver the romance of the romance language. He doesn’t completely ignore his Italian roots, but he might as well have. So If you’re looking for “O Sole Mio” or “Al Di La,” you’re in the wrong place.
On the other hand, if you’re looking some very sexy versions of some standards and a newer song or two sung in the best traditions of the romantic crooner, Patrizio is for you. He does a nice job with Patsy Cline’s classic, “Crazy,” and Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” reeks with husky passion. “Fly Me to the Moon” is delivered as a smoldering ballad. Diane Warren’s newly written “Why Did You Have to Be?” is right in the singer’s wheelhouse. Buanne says he aimed to present his “passion for interpreting any great song—no matter if Italian, American or new.” He wanted, he says, to open himself up artistically. Despite any unhappiness of some fans, this is an album that proves he was right.
It is hard to blame an artist for wanting to stretch, to show what he can do. If this album is any example, Patrizio Buanne can do a lot. Sure he is something special with the music of his country and the way he sings it, but what Patrizio shows is that if he keeps at it, he will be just as special with “any great song—no matter if Italian, American or new.”