Liner Notes: America is missing sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll: Måneskin delivers on ‘RUSH!’


Illustration by Gemma DeCetra

Released Jan. 20, “RUSH!” is Måneskin’s third studio album and its most ambitious undertaking yet.

Tabi Parent, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

In the age of simperingly sweet pop hits from the same few artists who seem to have taken permanent residence in the Billboard Hot 100 (love you, Taylor Swift, but I am staring pointedly at you), the United States is missing music with a little more angst and black eyeliner behind it.

Italian rock band Måneskin is lucky to be just mainstream enough to avoid falling through the cracks as the general music-listening populace attempts to answer an endless question: What exactly is rock ’n’ roll?

Certainly, the band’s appearance is the epitome of rock. There is a certain smudged-makeup-skin-showing sex appeal to the four members of the band that evokes rock ’n’ roll in its most basic, cartoonish form. Each member’s appearance begs the question: Do all rock stars always need to look perfectly sleazy and flawlessly grungy? Måneskin frontman Damiano David’s recently buzzed head seems to say yes.

Rising to fame globally after winning the international Eurovision Song Contest for Italy in 2021 with its song “Zitti e buoni,” Måneskin may soon be regarded as the new savior of rock ’n’ roll — a genre which seems to be ever-dying. But, if the latest album release from the band has anything to say about it, rock ’n’ roll still has a ways to go before it finally dies the death rock stars have been bemoaning for decades.

Released Jan. 20, “RUSH!” is the band’s third studio album and its most ambitious undertaking yet, comprising 17 songs — only three of which are in the band’s native Italian. If the album’s title is any indication, “RUSH!” is a fast-paced whirlwind of lyrical rock tropes and commercial stadium tour-ready headbangers that make for perfect angsty bedroom sing-a-longs, even if they don’t offer much in the way of reinventing the rock sound.

While “RUSH!” may not be a groundbreaking album in terms of musical inventiveness, it is a powerhouse when it comes to cohesion and storytelling. Throughout the album, David sings about a rock star’s world, replete with ʼ90’s supermodels, stolen Basquiats and ex-lovers. In the background, the other three band members ― bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi and drummer Ethan Torchio ― contribute equally to the story on their respective instruments.

Adding to the allure of the raspy rebellion enshrined in the album’s plotline, it seems Måneskin knows the extent to which its latest album satirizes the most recognizable parts of the rock genre. In the nearly-spoken track “KOOL KIDS,” the band members vocalize their thoughts on their place in the world of rock ’n’ roll: “Honestly, I don’t give a f–k.” Similarly, “BLA BLA BLA” is another ode to nonchalance on the album — David can barely be bothered to speak the song, let alone sing it, and anyone who has a problem with it can kiss his “bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-butt.”

“SUPERMODEL” epitomizes the album’s central assertion that the world could do with a few more rock stars. Its lyrics are a callback to the good ole days of rock (whatever those are) when supermodels ran rampant and were “readily available” to rock stars.

Another example of the album’s ability to seamlessly blend the past and present is the song “GOSSIP.” Featuring Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, the album’s second track is just pop-y enough for Gen Z and nostalgic enough for those old enough to have been one of Morello’s groupies during his time with the group. Morello’s iconic guitar-shredding skills are hard to miss on the track and meld perfectly with Måneskin’s already seamlessly balanced four-person crew.

If “RUSH!” is any attestation, rock ’n’ roll today is not dead — just different. The album succeeds because it remembers its roots but doesn’t overly worship them. Måneskin is nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys this year. If they win, it could cement rock ’n’ roll’s reemergence on the global scene. And if they don’t? That’s just the kind of rebellious thing a rock band would do.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TabithaParent12

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