Sunny days, beautiful beaches, refreshing mountain breaks, and delicious iced desserts like gelato, granita and ghiacciolo: it’s time to enjoy summer in Italy! But one crucial protagonist is missing from this list: contemporary Italian music and the season’s tormentoni! Wondering what they are?
The term denotes the songs that dominate the radio (or digital streaming services nowadays) in the year’s hottest months. They are the soundtrack of summer, accompanying you on the streets, in the piazze, in the clubs and – above all – on the beach.
Where does the term tormentone (singular form) come from?
As explained by thelocal.it:
If it sounds like a form of torture, well, it’s not far off. The term comes from the verb tormentare (‘to torment, pester’), combined with the suffix ~one that denotes large size. You can translate un tormentone literally as ‘a big torment’. It’s not a judgement on melodic qualities (or lack thereof): a tormentone is what you call a song that you hear over and over again.
Italian music today: more popular at home and on the rise abroad
While foreign songs often dominated Italian summers in the past, the trend in recent years has shifted back to contemporary Italian music thanks to the variety of genres and creativity on the scene. This increase in popularity is also evident outside of Italy: according to a report by Siae and Italia Music Export, between 2018 and 2021, Italian music abroad took off, recording a +7.6 per cent growth in revenue from copyright.
The Roman band Måneskin was the one who drove the Italian record industry in the world. After winning the Sanremo Festival in Italy and the Eurovision song contest in Holland, the rock band collected more records than any other Italian artist abroad. For example, it was the first Italian band to win a prize for the best alternative video at the MTV video music awards and Italy’s first band with two singles simultaneously in the British top ten. The Måneskin members were also the first Italians to open the Rolling Stones concerts!
But they were not the only contemporary Italian music artists to convince the international audience. According to the report above, both a new generation of artists and some established singers “have been able to renew the perception of Italian music abroad freshly, without losing that touch of picturesqueness that exists and that makes the Italian community three-dimensional”.
Examples of seasoned artists who have remained popular abroad thanks to either new albums or world tours in 2022 and 2023 include Eros Ramazzotti, Andrea Bocelli, Zucchero and Eiffel 65. European music charts have recently featured many of Italy’s newer generation of artists, most of them Under 35, with genres such as electronics, rap and urban. Examples include electro-dance music by Deep Chills and Merk & Kremont, urban music by Rocco Hunt and Mahmood, rap by Sfera Ebbasta and Capo Plaza, and pop melodies by Ultimo and Michele Morrone – to mention some.
The tormentone of summer 2023: which will it be?
Crossing all genres of contemporary Italian music, from the most scathing rap to the sweetest melodies of pop songs, here are the most loved Italian songs as of June 2023. The definitive summer tormentone is most probably among these and will be decreed by the beach radio playlists and streaming charts in July and August!
- Achille Lauro, Rose Villain – Fragole
- Angelina Mango – Ci pensiamo domani
- Annalisa – Mon Amour
- Arisa – Non vado via
- Biagio Antonacci, Benny Benassi – Tridimensionale
- Blanco, Mina – Un briciolo di allegria
- Coma_Cose – Agosto morsica
- Fedez, Annalisa, Articolo 31 – Disco Paradise
- Ligabue – Riderai
- Mara Sattei – Tasche
- Marco Mengoni, Elodie – Pazza Musica
- Matteo Romano e Luigi Strangis – Tulipani blu
- Mr.Rain, Sangiovanni – La fine del mondo
- Paola e Chiara – Mare Caos
- Pinguini Tattici Nucleari – Rubami la Notte
- Rocco Hunt – Non litighiamo più
- The Kolors – Italodisco
- Tiziano Ferro – Destinazione mare
- Tommaso Paradiso, Baustelle – Amore indiano
- Zef e Marz con Elisa e La Rappresentante di Lista – Tilt