Unless you’ve been living like a hermit from 1924 with no access to internet, phone signal, or even any friends who’ve been screaming at you, you’ll know a band called Måneskin have blown up on the internet in the last few weeks.
Or if you don’t know their name, you’ll recognise the pictures – four young rockers with cheekbones that could literally kill you and the fashion of a goth Fleetwood Mac, singing snarly rock songs in both English and Italian. But who are Måneskin and why is the internet crazy for them?
Who are Måneskin?
Måneskin, hailing from Italy, won last month’s Eurovision Song Contest to supreme fanfare, which is how the internet all of a sudden became aware of their fierce sound and fiercer look. But their story started all the way back in 2016, when the four band members met in high school in Rome. They rose to fame in Italy when they came 2nd on 2017’s series of X Factor Italy, performing covers of songs like Somebody Told Me by The Killers and Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand with lead singer Damiano David’s signature snarling vocal.
After a few albums and a sell-out tour in 2018/19, they first won the Sanremo Music Festival then took to Eurovision, becoming a continent-wide roaring success overnight. Objectively, you can understand why they won – their song, Zitti E Buoni, boasts a hypnotising guitar riff, a raucous chorus, and a hype-building bridge where even the most monolingual European can chant the parle refrain. But surely, the internet can’t be losing its mind over the music alone?
Long story short, it’s not. And judging by – oh, Twitter, TikTok, Tumblr, and every other social media platform around, it’s the sheer magnetising charisma of the band that’s drawn people in. Damiano, 22, has in particular charmed European internet with his fantastic stage presence during Maneskin’s performance. In the first seconds, he’s strutting onto stage near-shirtless with a come-at-me-bro look in his eye, sending half of the continent swooning. When he flourished a smooth bow only a few seconds later, the rest of the continent promptly caught up. Only a minute into their performance, and it’s game, set and match Måneskin.
Why is the entire internet in love with them?
Okay, okay. So we know who Måneskin are, and we’ve scraped the surface of why the internet have fallen in love overnight. But what’s created that reaction for Måneskin, when most of the UK think their own contestant, James Newman, has the vibes of a bloke they could have pulled out of any Wetherspoons in the country? Why are people making fancams and TikToks about Damiano and not for other singers in the charts like Ed Sheeran, Tom Grennan, or Coldplay?
We’ll tell you why. Deliberate, unashamed androgyny.
Since the beginning of rock n’ roll, androgyny and performance has been a stalwart of the genre. Think David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury – all men that were secure enough in their masculinity to play with gender expression in a way that made them all the more cooler. Måneskin are unafraid to throw away the traditional uniform of masculinity and femininity. All three males in the band (Damiano, plus Thomas and Ethan, both 20) sing in pink leather trousers and waistcoats. Guitarist Victoria, 21, rocks a flared bodysuit reminiscent of something Mercury might have worn on tour. And clearly, the internet loves that!
Why is Måneskin’s popularity so unique?
The thing is, artists like Måneskin simply don’t get to blow up like this very often. Young women, who have always been the pioneers of internet culture, have been sidelined, laughed at and ignored since the beginning of the world wide web. And with mainstream media up until this point largely controlled by heterosexual men, it’s easy to understand how the manufactured celebrities of music, film and TV cater more to a male idea of what women should like, rather than what women actually like.
That’s why films that star superheroes who don’t smile are cool, and films that star soft romantic leads are lame. That’s why masculinity in music is iconised as a rapper who spits about his violent past, not Harry Styles wearing a dress and singing about. . . well, we’ll let you look up the lyrics of Watermelon Sugar, actually!
The internet generation‘s music
But with the rise of the internet, and the control it gives young women over conversations in pop culture, all of that is changing. No longer is it guaranteed that only artists that mainstream media approves of will blow up. Look at Måneskin! An Italian rock band in Eurovision are at no17 in the UK charts, and it’s all because of the might of the internet – and the young women who run it.
Måneskin’s overnight fame promises a new era of music where it’s the listeners that choose who gets famous. And we can’t lie, we can’t wait to see what amazing music the internet will give its love to next. Their choice of Måneskin was definitely not nil points!