September 1, 2008
A Song for Occasions: “Sparring Partner” – Paulo Conte
I first heard the song ‘Sparring Partner’ by Paulo Conte as part of the soundtrack to a French film named “5X2”, directed by Francois Ozon (essentially a cheesy bit of fluff about the breakdown of relationships). I know very little of Italian pianist Paulo Conte outside of his Wikipedia entry, which states that he was born in 1937 and is “notable for his grainy, resonant voice (evocative of Francophone singers like Jacques Brel) and wistful, sometimes melancholic lyrics.”
This is all in evidence in the song ‘Sparring Partner’, sung in Italian and accompanied by a beautiful piano melody. I don’t speak Italian myself, but I get the impression that the lyrics are indeed “wistful” and “sometimes meloncholic”. It has now been officially placed in my list of top 5 songs to be played at my funeral, if such depressing connotations can be made with a song that pleases in so many ways.