Giorgio Moroder (above) has wrote and produced more music than you’ve had hot dinners. There’s a good chance you will have heard one of his tunes without realising. He’s worked with notables such as Donna Summer, Sparks, Freddie Mercury, Blondie, David Bowie, Sigue Sigue Sputnik (no really) and Daft Punk.

He’s scored soundtracks as well, the big movies: Midnight Express, American Gigolo, Flashdance, Scarface…

Have a major sporting tournament that needs an anthem ? He’d done the Olympics in 1984 – oh and 1988 too.

Then in 1990 another major tournament arrives, this time on their own Italian doorstep. Hmmm… who to get, who to get…

You know he did the official anthem for World Cup 1990. I bet you didn’t know there was a full album too:

Giorgio Moroder - To Be Number One - album cover

And now for you, dear reader, I’m going to put myself through a similar torture I endured a while ago when I did the George Best – Shape Up And Dance album. I am going to do a track-by-track review of the full LP.

Track 1:

Italia 90 » Giorgio Moroder Project feat Paul Engemann – To Be Number One
To give it the full title: “To Be Number One (Summer 1990)”
This was recorded at a time when it was still big hair and power ballads. Giorgio Moroder jumped on this trend and this track sets the mood for the entire album. The lead vocals from the obscure American singer Paul Engemann with cross wailing from err…I thought I knew who the co-vocalists were, but don’t now.

Track 2:
» That’s Enough

A dance beat now, with some keyboards and hmm… sounds suspiciously like a Janet Jackson (who was big in this year) knockoff. The tune has samples from movies inserted. The song is about having all the fame, money, etc. I don’t know how this relates to the football tournament. The singer says that it’s not all about the mansions, swimming pools (movie stars) and she would gladly give it all away.

Track 3:
» Take Me Home

Continuing the funky beat, a bit of a metalic one this time. This time it’s a male singer who spots a girl, he takes her hand but she says no. He then pulls her to him for a bear hug and she says “Take me home…” and this is all in the first minute! He also goes on to say that the way she moves seems to be criminal. Female singer now: She doesn’t want much, just love unconditional and yes, to take her home. This conversations continues, but there’s an alarming bit where he threatens her with violence. The song cycle then repeats, with more inserted movie samples.

Track 4:
» The Rhythm Of Love

Another one with the funky beats. Did somebody give Giorgio the Rhythm Nation album for his birthday ? Oh hang on, bit of a change this one. A squeaky keyboard cuts in. Then some female vocals in which she complements an unknown male. Now we move onto a simple chorus. She’s asking if we can feel the rhythm of love. And that’s about it with this one. Rinse, repeat, rince, repeat until the end. Please make it stop.

Track 5:
» Til The End Of Time

Go on take a guess at the general mood of this song. That’s right it’s a slow dance. It’s a female and male singer smooch off, but joined by a third female voice for a second there. Chorus: “Til then end of time, we give…” Then throw in some lines about the children (tick), the future (tick), reaching a higher ground (tick), finding love. Yep that’s all the boxes ticked. Let’s move on.

Track 6:
» Feel The Thunder

Take a guess at the tempo of this one then. No, wrong. It’s mid-tempo, but the same male/female vocal yowlings. There are so many cliche’s in this one that it blew up my cliche meter. Still no reference to the tournament or football in any of these songs by the way.
Update: ‘Higher ground’ is used once again. I mean come on… I know you are phoning this one in just for the cash Giorgio, but put some effort into it.

Track 7:
» Love Will Find A Way

The start of this one is good, nice music, a movie sample thrown in… and now a bloke with a weak first verse. Music. Another dull verse… Ah a chorus! “Hey, love will find a way, hey, living for todaaaaaay…” Back to some keyboard action. Hit those notes Giorgio. And now it’s another rince, repeat. But do you know what, I quite actually like this track. Despite it being full of more cliched lines and sounding a bit dated now, it’s half good.

Track 8:
» Bad Boy

Oh here we go. I’m going to try and guess what this one is like even before I play the track. I say strong upbeat, female/male duelling vocals about how she is attracted to a bad boy and he is that bad boy.
*Presses Play*     Bingo.

Track 9:
» Beautiful Day

Go on, it’s your turn. Have a guess going on just that title.
Spot on. In fact worse that you imagined. The first two lines: “What a beautiful day it is to be alive. I feel the wind is going to change.” And more lines like that which would have broken cliche-o-meter if it wasn’t already blown up and on fire.

Track 10:
» Break The Rules

I’m not looking forward to this. Please, please don’t…   Ah bollocks.

Track 11:
» To Be Number One(Summer 1990)(Extended Version)

Ah right back to the Italia 90 theme. Extended eh ? Is this longer version any better/different ? Well no not really. BUT – it does have an extended instrumental break in the middle and this is where Giorgio Moroder really shines. I’m liking this version even though the song is very corny.

Track 12:

Italia 90 » Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato – Un’Estate Italiana
And lastly we have the offical song in the hosts language. It’s sung by Edoardo Bennato and the very throaty voiced Gianna Nannini.

I should have made it clear above that other people wrote the (excruciating) lyrics to these songs. Moroder was just the arranger and producer. Still doesn’t make it better though.

Extra time:

A bonus track and I bet you didn’t know existed – the Spanish version of the song. It was sung by Susan Ferrer, who also wrote the lyrics.

– Here she is live in the studio. Keep an eye on her backing team:

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