Lady Gaga – “Alejandro” – (2009)

I know, I know, “Two Lady Gaga songs in a row? Really?” Yeah, this is it, I promise. “Alejandro” was released as a single in late May of 2010. Where I live, songs make the radio about 3 months after they do everywhere else, so I never got to hear this before I left the continent. I remember seeing the video on DeeJay TV in Venice and thought it was catchy. So now, whenever I hear it, I think of sitting in a restaurant at about midnight in Venice. The owner was nice enough to still be open for a handful of Americans who were strolling around in the mind-boggling heat and humidity after 11:30 at night looking for dinner. It was the follow-up single to “Bad Romance” and it is better than that song. “Ale-Ale-Alejandro…”

Dean Martin – “That’s Amore” – (1953)

I hear this song every time I eat at The Olive Garden. So I thought, when I go to Italy, this is the type of thing they’ll be playing while I eat. Wrong! I ate at a decently sized restaurant in Venice and what were they playing? Mariah Carey and Enigma. Needless to say, I was disappointed. But seriously, if someone opened an Olive Garden in Rome they’d be rich. The food in that part of Italy doesn’t have a lot of flavor. It’s actually kind of bland. I didn’t make it to Sicily, but I suspect things improve as you head south. Song-wise, they don’t come much better than this. Take it away, Dino!


Fiorello & the Guy Barker International Quintet feat. Jude Law & Matt Damon – “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano” – (1999)

This song was originally written in 1956 by, guess who, Renato Carosone. This is my favorite version of it. It featured Jude Law and Matt Damon singing from the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley (which is an awesome movie). This song was – in a way – very popular during 2010. Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP used it in their hugely popular “We No Speak Americano.” When I think “Italian songs,” I immediately think of “Tu Vuo’ Fa L’Americano.”

Renato Carosone – “Mambo Italiano” – (1954)

Guess what country we’ve moved to this week. Italy! I heard a Frenchwoman say that “the Italians are just like the French – but happy.” And it’s true. There’s just something about being in Italy that makes you happy. I was walking around Venice singing this song – except for whatever reason I was substituting “Janet Napolitano” for “Mambo Italiano.” At the time I had no idea who she was and looked it up later (she’s the Secretary of Homeland Security in the U.S.). It was kind of the theme for Italy while I was there. The album cover to the right is a picture from La Dolce Vita – a film that romanticizes Italy like nothing else. I ate at a gelato shop in Rome called La Dolce Vita (which means: “The Sweet Life”). Also, when I walked past the Trevi Fountain, I wanted to go running through it. Renato Carosone was kind of the king of Italian music throughout the 50s and later. This is probably his best.