Of all the surreal and absurd things we have seen in this period (and we have seen many), even in a post modernist era where anything is possible, the last thing we could expect was the outbreak of one of the most bizarre media feuds that have ever been seen: Måneskin vs Cugini di Campagna. Just writing it makes us laugh, and yet this is the world we live in now.
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Let's start with a universally known truth: this is undoubtedly the year of Måneskin. After the incredible victory at Eurovision, the young Roman band that came to the fore with X Factor, literally exploded and has struck an incredible series of goals. In no particular order: they collaborated with Iggy Pop, opened the Rolling Stones concert in Las Vegas, performed at Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show and won Best Rock at the MTV European Music Awards.
And here Cugini di Campagna come into play, the Italian band known to most for the hit “Anima Mia”. It all started with a post on Facebook in which the Cousins commented on the look sported by Måneskin on the Las Vegas stage: the accusation, paired with photographic “proofs” was that they copied their look, showing off a star and stripes outfit similar to theirs. It might have seemed like an ironic post (maybe), but it was only the beginning.
The first post was followed by another, where Thomas was brought up, guilty of wearing a checkered suit at the EMAs, identical to another onea worn by the Cugini (we would never know if this was Måneskin's ironic way of responding to the “accusations”, even if in this case the Cousins should have blamed poor Alessandro Michele, since the outfit is by Gucci), with the invitation, written in a threatening capslock, to come to their studio to get some of clothes rather than copying them.
And then other posts, in which the unsuspecting Måneskin have been called into question for various and possible reasons, from their lack of skill on stage with the Stones, to the fact that they copy the Cugini to gain a greater media relevance. Apex of this bizarre chain of events, the performance of the Country Cousins (renamed like this by The Guardian who talked about this story, for real) on the Rai1 program Oggi è un altro giorno with a cover of Zitti e Buoni and a mash-up between Anima Mia and Torna a casa, by Måneskin, as if to underline the idea of plagiarism on the part of the latter. According to the Cousins, following this controversy, they were invited to perform next year at Madison Square Garden.
Now responding to these controversies seems quite absurd. Måneskin clearly draw their inspiration from the rock aesthetics of the 70s and 80s, from glam, from the style of icons such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones, Kiss, T. Rex, Led Zeppelin, that literally invented and reinvented a genre, sacred monsters from which evidently the Cousins also took inspiration. Being truly innovative in 2021 is not easy: the skill of Måneskin lies precisely in taking up a series of stylistic features that are not new, but expressing them with a fresh sensitivity and an undeniable charisma, but the inspiration they draw on does not belong to anyone, it belongs to a genre, rock, which has cemented itself over the years.
That of the Cousins of the Countryside, on the other hand, seems to fall within the many controversies related to Måneskin that we are seeing in this period, where, looking for easy visibility, an Italian band is attacked that is having an international relevance that few can boast.
And it's absurd.
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It seems a typically Italian feature, this constant attacking, complaining and “rosicare” when someone has a certain kind of success. But what if, instead of criticizing we start to do something concrete to change our condition? And above all, to rejoice in the fact that an Italian group, young and talented, is able to have a global relevance at a pop level? This is why we wish all the best to Måneskin and to those who, with equal talent and little controversy, will come after them.