You might have heard about the Eurovision Song Contest through the endless amounts of memes online or the Eurovision movie on Netflix starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams. If not, here is a little rundown: every year European countries (also some others such as Australia) each nominate a song to send to the competition. After narrowing it down to the best songs, both a panel of judges and the audience vote on their favorite. Essentially it is the European version of the Super Bowl, except instead of football, it’s glamorous singers with over-the-top performances. This year it took place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, which hosted 39 countries.
Although the song contest has had a bad reputation for favoring pop music, this time, an Italian rock band called Maneskin emerged victorious after a tight race. They won with their song “Zitti e Buoni,” which means “shut up and be quiet”. It is now number 12 in the Spotify Global Chart, beating out songs like “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd and “Brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo. Italy has not won Eurovision in 35 years, and this particular one will be life-changing for the country. Due to COVID-19, Italy has suffered enormously in its economy, so hosting next year’s Eurovision will create a significant boom in tourism and therefore make up for the lost money.
So... Who are Maneskin?
The band is made up of four members, which include Damiano David (vocalist), Victoria De Angelis (bassist), Thomas Raggi (guitarist), and Ethan Torchio (drummer). In the early days, they would perform on the streets of Italy and in front of small crowds. Later they would compete in the eleventh season of X-Factor Italia, in which they earned second place. On the show, they played rock covers like “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers. Earlier this year, they entered and won the Sanremo Music Festival, inspiring Italy to send them to Eurovision. As of this moment, they are the 333rd most streamed artist in the world, according to Spotify.
What is their impact?
The band finds the message of being yourself really important. When you look up the English-translated lyrics of the winning song “Zitti e Buoni” you can see that the outro says, “we are not like the others.” Overall the song depicts the darkness of our systematic societal ideologies and romanticizes the outcasts. All over the world, there is so much hatred; whether it’s racism, sexism, or homophobia, these tragic ideologies see no borders. When people listen to music that makes them feel seen and understood, it inspires them to continue being themselves. The music gives hope that one-day freedom will come that will pave the way for acceptance. The fan vote helped them win Eurovision, which shows that a lot of people connected with this idea. Hopefully, this means we are moving in a positive direction for societal change.
After they finished performing their song at the contest, Damiano and Ethan kissed to oppose toxic masculinity. There are countries like Russia that participate and stream the event that still oppress the LGBTQ+ community. Although to some people this act might not seem to be anything significant, exposure to the spectrum allows for impactful change to occur in the future. Through their music and actions, they have caught the attention of several established rock musicians, including Franz Ferdinand and Royal Blood, who sent them supportive messages. Honestly, this is extremely surprising because Eurovision gets made fun of a lot for it not being musically significant. Maneskin is the exception and will probably change the course of the contest in the future.
Negative Stereotypes of Rock Music
During the official press conference after Maneskin won the Eurovision award, they were asked if the singer Damiano was using drugs during the contest. The reason this was brought up was that viewers of the program thought they saw him snorting something during the finale. The band denied the claim, and Damiano even took a drug test to prove their point. That did not stop people on social media from posting hateful comments. The question is would a pop musician at the contest have faced such backlash? It felt like it was the genre of the music and the alternative appearance of the winners that compelled a portion of the viewers to attack them. Drug use is a serious issue and for a reporter to blatantly ask about that seemed to be inappropriate. The Eurovision hosts agreed with this because they asked to keep the questions about the music after this occurrence. For a while when you searched up the band on Google this conflict would be the first thing that popped up. It took away from the celebration of the win and the legacy of the band. The important thing to note here is that the musicians stayed positive and treated this issue with respect even though they had every right to be upset.
Future of Maneskin
All of this wonderful success that they have had so far is just the beginning for them. Now that they are officially done with contests, they are going to be focusing more on releasing their album, which they said should be out by the end of the year. Maneskin also has a ton of shows lined up, including Rock im Park next year, along with bands such as Green Day, Black Veil Brides, and Weezer. Recently Miley Cyrus reposted their cover of Midnight Sky, so it would not be surprising to see some major collaborations soon. We just have to wait and see!