Television is the third album by the Italian sister duo Paola & Chiara. Their first album was pop rock and the second was more of a proper rock album, though a catchy and colorful one at that. However, Television is nothing like their first two records except for the fact that it’s the same two women singing the songs, which they wrote or co-wrote as always.
When they started out, Paola & Chiara were teenagers and Television was their first album as adults, albeit young adults. Where it differs from the previous records is in the fact that it’s an electronic-pop album. I was a bit shocked the first time I heard it and was initially upset by such a sharp change in direction but at the same time I love music of all genres so I forced myself to keep listening to it and a few spins later it was my favorite album they’d done so far. And it remains my favorite album from their extensive catalog today, although the follow-up album, Festival, comes in as a very close second.
Television was such a successful album that at least four versions of it were released. First there was the original Italian version. Later came Spanish and English versions and an album of re-recordings of some of the songs with even better producers along with some great remixes. I own all four of these versions on CD myself. If you look them up on Spotify, the only version you’ll find is the original Italian version but they’ve beefed it up with some of the Spanish tracks and remixes. My favorite version is the Italian version, though, so if they were only going to release one version on streaming platforms they picked the right one.
The biggest single from Television was “Vamos A Bailar (Esta Vida Neuva),” which is actually Spanish for “Let’s Dance (It’s New Life).” The album came out in 99 but I can’t recall if this song was a hit that summer or if it was only the following summer that it took off. But it was a huge hit throughout much of Europe and it was essentially the theme song in Italy for that summer. It’s easily one of the most infectious, beautiful and well-produce dance/electro-pop songs ever made. Even today, it’s still better than the music of that type that is being made now. The whole album is brilliantly produced. There truly isn’t one bad song on it. My personal favorite is “Tu Sei Per Me,” which means “You Are For Me” or “You Are Mine.” It’s a gorgeous ballad and it’s one of those tracks that I’ve included on several playlists of songs to listen to when mellow out or lying in bed at night as I drift off to sleep.
I can’t say that this album changed my life. I’d been a fan of P&C since their first album, which I just bought on a whim because they were cute and the record was really colorful, so it’s not as though Television introduced me to them. I guess it simply changed my life in the sense that it became one of my top ten albums of all time and it’s something that I’ve surely listened to at least 200 times so in a sense it’s been a dominant part of the soundtrack of my life ever since 1999.
When I was in Paris in September of ’99, Paola & Chiara were performing in Italy during the month when I was free and I was very, very tempted to head to Italy for a few days to see them in concert. I kind of regret that I didn’t now. I guess I was just afraid to go somewhere where I didn’t speak any English. I never would’ve gone to Paris if I hadn’t studied French first. I would never want to be one of those loud, rude, ill-mannered Americans who shows up in a foreign country and tries to demand that everyone speak English. I saw how Americans like that were viewed by Parisians and I figured that’s how I’d be viewed in Italy so I made the decision not to go. Especially since I was loving Paris and it would’ve been hard to pry myself away. I still can’t believe that I left and went to London for three days during one of my following trips to Paris. It was nice to see London, of course, but if you knew how obsessed with Paris I was, you’d find it hard to believe that I did that, too.
I do wish that all of the other versions of P&C’s Television were on Spotify, though. The Italian is the best but if the English and Spanish versions were on there then at least my English and Spanish speaking friends who don’t want to listen to Italian music would probably check it out. To that end, all I can say is that you’re really missing out on one of the greatest albums ever made if you don’t check it out. I’d give this one ten stars out of ten.