Plus Side of a Bad Economy? Silvio Berlusconi Delays Album of Love Songs

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A recent TV grab shows Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, right, performing with Italian composer Mariano Apicella during a private party at Berlusconi's summer residence on the island of Sardinia.

At least one positive may have emerged from the recent global financial turmoil: Silvio Berlusconi has decided to delay the release of his latest offering of sentimental love songs.

The Italian prime minister had planned to launch an album entitled True Love, with Berlusconi on vocals and long-time collaborator Mariano Apicella on guitar, this September at a lavish party in Milan. But facing a spiraling debt crisis, his governing coalition crumbling and three criminal prosecutions, Berlusconi has been forced to push back its release, according to the Guardian.

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The controversial leader seems to have taken inspiration from his widely publicized love for the opposite sex in the collection of tracks. “Listen to these songs, they are for you,” begins one ballad, called “Music,” according to a sneak preview in Italian newspaper La Stampa. “Listen to them when you have a thirst for caresses, sing them when you are hungry for tenderness.”

Berlusconi, who once sang aboard cruise ships, has put out three prior albums with Apicella. The pair met on a Naples street, while Apicella was working as a parking attendant, and the prime minister promptly invited him to write love songs at his Sardinian villa. They have since performed together for guests including Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush.

Angelo Valsiglio, a fellow musician who has helped with arrangements for the album, revealed to an Italian magazine it was a “really elegant and refined production with Brazilian hints.” He added that it combines the Neapolitan dialect with traditional Italian language. Apparently Greek folk music inspires one track⎯perhaps a Berlusconi dedication to the Hellenic country as it faces the severest of crises.

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Joe Jackson is a contributor at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @joejackson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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