Jack Savoretti – “Russian Roulette”


Italian English singer/songwriter Jack Savoretti has been compared to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel for his ability to produce intimate, beautifully haunting songs. The excellent “Russian Roulette” rides on a sparse instrumental accompaniment – where acoustics trickle down over the soft echo of a country-ish guitar twang – as Savoretti bemoans the unpredictability of life’s most enjoyable and terrifying moments.

His comparison of life to the game of roulette is somewhat subtle, but resounding nonetheless. Typically, as any fan of roulette would tell you, there’s typically three alternatives: to win, to lose, or to break even. In the game of life, the roulette spin can be varied depending on personal desires; some prefer peace and quiet, while others can’t bear to be alone. Savoretti addresses that profoundly here: Now my reward is peace and quiet / Of both I’m never sure / The sound of silence scares me senseless.”

He’s right, in a way, that life is like a game of roulette — controllable to the extent that you choose numbers/colors, but uncontrollable beyond that. This seems scary to many, but at the same time has a charm that roulette players know well. Whether you’re playing roulette at the Bellagio in Las Vegas or in a more modest online version like this, or even just contemplating on the roulette-like unpredictability of life, it can be an emotional thing to realize that many things in life are beyond our control. We bet on one or few options that we feel connected to or that seem the most viable to us without knowing what the final outcome will really be. This is precisely what Savoretti’s touching “Russian Roulette” is getting at.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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