Giulia Millanta “Woman on the Moon”

Ugly Cat Music, 2022

Emotionally rich and unique, Millanta is an artist with a clear sense of who she is and what she wants to do.

“A lunar journey between sanity and madness,” is the striking way Giulia Millanta has described the opening track (‘Mad Man on the Moon’) of her eighth studio album ‘Woman on the Moon’. These words may seem almost impossible to live up to, but as Millanta’s voice comes through, lilting and gentle against a softly strummed guitar, the abstract beauty of the lyrics feels if not completely other worldly, then at least outside the earth’s atmosphere. “Oh I’m a fool by night / A caged songbird that longs to fly / A Mad man on the moon / Lost his crazy head / In a dark balloon,” she croons.

“The story of your life / You told a million times / Was never enough / To keep me satisfied,” bemoans Millanta against some slinky percussion on ‘The Ghost of Yourself‘, the story of a narcissist who has invaded her life. On a related note, ‘Looking for Bliss’ tells you that sometimes the best place to find it is from removing toxic people from your life: “Now close your eyes pretend I’m here / Try to touch me I’ll disappear / Picture my face smiling at you / I’ll be far from you life so blue / And your mood swings.”

A swinging drum groove and the “wah wah” of a Telecaster guitar add a jazz-like smokiness to ‘You Don’t Wanna Know’ while Millanta drawls seductively to what feels an awful lot like her prey: “Monsters come at night when you’re unprepared,” she warns. “Looking for a helpless prey / Sneaking quietly inside your head / Stirring your thoughts, their own way.” On ‘The Guest’, the listener is left to decide for themselves whether Millanta is speaking of a guest who is physically present or simply imaginary (“You dance / With the guest in your bed / With the ghost in your head”), while ‘Go South’ takes us on a twisting journey of codependency and self-sabotage.

‘The Distance in Between’ is short at just two minutes and 31 seconds long, but that doesn’t prevent it from being the most raw, vulnerable and just plain impactful track on the album. “The distance in between / The stars and the sunrise / I will reach across time and space / And wipe your eyes,” Millanta sings over a sparse acoustic guitar, her voice cracking with heavy emotion. On ‘The Way You Are’, Millanta grandly professes not her love for a person, but for the universe and the boundless inspiration it provides. “I like how you roll and you change with the wind / And the full moon behind you moves me from within / They say that you’re vapor, I say that you’re clouds,” she imparts before adding plainly: “And you make me pick up my guitar / ‘Cause I love you the way that you are.”

One of the first things you notice upon looking at the tracklist of ‘Woman on the Moon’ is the fact there are two versions of the song ‘The World Is in Your Heart’: There is the “dreamy” version (ethereal and sparkling) and then there is the “rocking” one (gutsy and bold); but that’s not the only song that doubles up since ‘Run Away’ features both in the English language version and one in Millanta’s native Italian (‘Vola Via’). These dualities demonstrate Millanta’s commitment to bringing the full breadth of feelings from her music, and knowing how changes in tempo or style can make the lyrics feel like a different animal entirely. Overall, she achieves her ambition of imparting these feelings, but even when she doesn’t quite make it, as Norman Vincent Peale once famously said: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

8/10
8/10

About Helen Jones 87 Articles
North West based lover of country and Americana.

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment..

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.