Sergio Cammariere – Tutto quello che un uomo

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A song of dependence and surrendering, romanticism that borders on unhealthy obsession. The message of the song is concentrated on the line “Senza te io non vivo”: without you I don’t live. It doesn’t sound like a good ideal, yet in the throes of emerging love, as well as in parting, it may feel precisely like that. It may not sound healthy, it induces suffering, and yet at the time it also feels good. It’s the temptation and danger of romanticism, which oozes in the melancholy nature of the tune and the soft jazz of the arrangement.

This is the kind of surrendering that some people find extremely threatening to their ego, so much so that they’d rather avoid commitment altogether than face the possibility of disappearing. In love one may start to forget the sense of self, which is both great liberation as well as an existential threat. In the end, if love survives, two new people emerge from the ordeal, stronger in their connection, retaining the sense of self, but now altered by commitment.

Yet the risk of disappointment is more real than the risk of disappearance. The true personality always pushes through and emerges from the momentary feeling of melting together. In the song the world appears anew, something discovered in its essence, not a world to be conquered but one receiving its meaning from being close to a woman, and a man’s willingness to do anything to reach that fulfillment. The chance of disappointment is present in the idea that the narrator can’t breathe without her. It sounds wistful, as if there’s also resignation. Whatever happens, this is the lot of a man in love

It’s possibly to deny this position, to say that true love isn’t like that, it isn’t a threat to one’s existence, it doesn’t require surrendering like that. But neither can it be denied, this experience of love’s essence in the control we gain by losing control, the freedom in abandoning oneself for the sake of a partner. It captures the mystery of love, the ecstasy in what is terrifying. And while I don’t wholeheartedly recommend taking such an attitude, I also think there’s not enough of these descriptions in pop music today. Perhaps artists don’t want to appear too sentimental, or maybe it’s just this age that prioritizes the feeling of independence and defiance. Surely there’s a place for criticizing the totalizing aspect of romantic love.

And yet how good it can feel, how fulfilling, how complete one feels in this act of disappearance. It does not feel right to dismiss the experience altogether as something unhealthy or unnecessary. Love requires willingness to throw away attitudes that seem reasonable, even if just for a moment, because otherwise we can’t stand the risk of losing our carefully constructed identities.

And personally, no matter how things have ended up, I’ve always found that the risk was worth taking, because even after heartbreaks the self that emerges after experiencing love is all the more stronger after the chance to surrender and the newfound ability to see our own limits, how after all nothing is the end of the self, not the parting, not the union of two hearts open to affection.