Mina has long reached a point in her career when she does not need to pay heed to any industry advice. The way it works, adoring authors from all around Italy constantly send her songs, and she keeps on recording and releasing whatever she likes, as much as she likes, whenever she likes. This often translates as plenty, and plenty fast: in the first decade of the 21st century (and fifth of the singer's career), no less than 26 official Mina releases saw the light of day, evenly split between new albums and compilations. Piccolino, which appeared in November 2011, announced that no discerning changes seem to be in store for the 2010s. This is business as usual for Mina: an eclectic list of songs from an indiscriminate variety of songwriters, ranging from the famous to the unknown, from regular collaborators to first-timers. The arrangements are classic Mina, customarily tasteful yet unobtrusive, led by pianos, orchestra, and string sections, guitars, and at times even featuring electronic loops in the background (particularly on the songs written by younger authors, such as Negramaro's "Giuliano Sangiorgi," responsible for two of the album's best moments "Brucio di Te" and "E Così Sia.") The spotlight, as always, is on Mina's voice and her interpretation of the material. She is magnificent on the ballads, such as Giorgio Faletti's gorgeous "Compagna di Viaggio," but occasionally indulges in shrilling tones ("Matrioska"), as if Mina felt she needed to prove that the famous Tigress of Cremona still has claws. In short, another fine, typical Mina release. Underlining the diva's perverse eccentricity, the deluxe edition adds four tracks, three of which sound like nothing else on the album: the electro-dance "Rattarira," the techno salsa "Armoniche Convergenze," and "Dr. Roberto," a satire about overpriced dentists that is not even sung by Mina but spoken by its author, optician and amateur songwriter Stefano Gislon. ~ Mariano Prunes
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