24. “Alma del core” by Antonio Caldara
What it means, basically: I like you. I really like you. KISS ME.
From La constanza in amor vince l’inganno, this aria’s tepid melody manages to make the joyous emotions of love sound dreary and mundane. Caldara just confirms that pastoral relationships are a total snooze-fest.
23. “Non posso disperar” by Giovanni Battista Bononcini
What it means, basically: I know you said you’re not into me, but I like you so much it hurts.
This aria tries to worm its way into your heart with an interesting tune, but it’s creepy to the core. The eerie tone ensures most singers won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
22. “Vergin, tutto amor” by Francesco Durante
What it means, basically: Hey, Virgin Mary, please be chill about the sinners.
Not your best work, Durante. This song might get you into heaven, but it’s hard to win over even the most pious audience if they’re asleep before the second chord.
20. “Come raggio di sol” by Antonio Caldara
What it means, basically: I might be smiling on the outside, but I am a HOT MESS on the inside.
While the lyrics might be relatable to some, this tune always ends up sounding like a total dirge. “Come raggio di sol” is the Debbie Downer of Italian art songs.
19. “Se Florindo è fedele” by Alessandro Scarlatti
What it means, basically: I’m hard to get, but if Florindo wants to be exclusive, I’m down.
This is a jolly aria, but since Scarlatti makes four appearances in this book, he’s competing against himself. This time, he loses.
18. “Le Violette” by Alessandro Scarlatti
What it means, basically: Don’t be so shy, babe. Let me hit on you.
This jaunty number has a great beat and delightful melody. It might have gotten higher marks if it didn’t rely on the cliché of equating women to flowers. That was tired even in 17th century.
17. “Pietà, Signore” by Alessandro Stradella
What it means, basically: Lord have mercy.
This is a dark, churchy song for the guiltiest of souls. It’s kind of a cosmic bummer. The next time you do something awful, like hooking up with your best friend’s ex, blast this and beg for forgiveness.
16. “Pur dicesti, o bocca bella” by Antonio Lotti
What it means, basically: Yeah, that sweet mouth finally said “yes”.
For one of the few pieces in the book about requited love, this song is awfully bashful. But that’s to be expected from a choir boy like Lotti. Still, it’s not bold enough for what could totally be your make out anthem.
15. “Il mio bel foco” by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti
What it means, basically: My love flame burns for you, and only you, babe.
It’s easy to get swept up in this seductive proclamation of love. It manages to be seductive and robust at the same time. The only thing holding it back is that fake-ass recitative at the beginning.
14. “Che fiero costume” by Giovanni Legrenzi
What it means, basically: Love is awesome, and totally not the blind baby everyone said it was.
This tune can really get your blood flowing and your hips shaking. Still, the whole weird blind baby metaphor keeps it from being the dance hit that it could be.
13. “Nel cor più non mi sento” by Giovanni Paisiello
What it means, basically: Love is literally making me crazy.
From L’amor contrastato, ossia La molinara, this darling aria is pretty cutesy for a song about insanity. It’s a little safe and sugary for a song about how loves bites, pinches, and pricks you.
12. “Nina” by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
What it means, basically: Nina hasn’t gotten out of bed for three days. Someone blast this music and wake her the fuck up.
Poor, poor Nina. She can’t even hear this great song that was written for her. Pergolesi hits you right in the feels with this brooding tune. This is the quintessential rainy day art song.
11. “Sebben, crudele” by Antonio Caldara
What it means, basically: I’m gonna play the waiting game until you lower your standards.
This aria from La costanza in amor vince l’inganno is the ultimate anthem for unrequited love. Though it’s a little gloomy, Caldara brightens it up here and there to remind you to never give up hope.
10. “Amarilli mia bella” by Giulio Caccini
What it means, basically: Amarilli, babe, I totally love you. Seriously, rip open my chest, your name’s written on my heart.
Caccini set a new standard for musical orgasms by writing this sultry song that has the power to get anyone in the mood. Once you hear that final “amore” your panties practically drop themselves.
9. “O cessate di piagarmi” by Alessandro Scarlatti
What it means, basically: You’re colder than ice and you make me want to die.
From Il Pompeo, this morose little aria perfectly captures overwhelming sadness without being a total drag. Play it when your crush doesn’t text you back and you need to let those tears out.
8. “Vittoria, mio core!” by Giacomo Carissimi
What it means, basically: Good job, heart. We’re finally over that bitch.
Love sucks, and everyone can relate to a good break-up song, especially one as cheerful as this. Carissimi truly had a timeless hit on his hands.
7. “Se tu m’ami, se sospiri” by Alessandro Parisotti
What it means, basically: It’s great that you like me, but if you think I’m going to give up other dudes, you’re sorely mistaken.
There’s some debate over whether this flirty tune is by Parisotti or Pergolesi, which gives this piece a seductive air of mystery. Who knew an Italian art song could be so coy?
6. “Già il sole dal Gange” by Alessandro Scarlatti
What it means, basically: The sun makes things pretty.
This aria from L’honestà negli amori has a toe-tapping beat and a saccharine melody that will have you prancing with unicorns and vomiting rainbows in no time.
5. “O del mio dolce ardor” by Christoph Willibald Gluck
What it means, basically: I’ll find someone, someday. Maybe.
Originally from Paride ed Elena, this aria loses a few authenticity points for being written by a non-Italian. Still, Gluck managed to capture the Italian musical spirit by writing a thrilling song about being a loveless loser.
4. “Danza, danza, fanciulla gentile” by Francesco Durante
What it means, basically: Dance, girl. Dance to my singing.
This jig earns its high spot by being the most booty-shakin’ tune in the whole book. Durante’s had people gyrating in auditorium chairs for centuries.
3. “Per la gloria d’adorarvi” by Giovanni Battista Bononcini
What it means, basically: Those eyes, girl. Dayum.
From the opera Griselda to the stage of Jewel, this glorious aria set the bar high for songs about eyes. Van Morrison ain’t got nothin’ on Bononcini.
2. “Tu lo sai” by Giuseppe Torelli
What it means, basically: You def know that I like you, so can we just be exclusive already?
Torelli truly delivered the drama with this piece. Never has there been a more gripping, heart-wrenching song about confronting your crush. Bring out the tissues!
1. “Caro mio ben” by Tommaso Giordani
What it means, basically: Bae, my heart’s sad without you.
“Caro mio ben” is the bread and butter of classical singers. Everyone’s done it, and everyone loves it. You may also recognize this tune from Raise Your Voice, further proof that this exquisite melody will continue to transcend genres for years to come.
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