In “Almost Real”, Francesca is singing about how she came to America while reflecting on her life in Italy as a girl and young woman. As a young woman in Italy, Francesca was expected to act promiscuously in order to attract numerous male partners. However, Francesca decides to “go against the grain” and remain reserved in social situations – much to the dismay of her sister Chiara and mother. With this choice, we see that Francesca’s trade-off was to either fulfill her family and ultimately society’s wishes or to be herself and pursue her own path.

While still living in Italy as a young woman, Francesca’s eventual love interest during that time period (Paolo) leaves to fight in the Army as Italy enters into a state of war. During this time in Italy, Francesca describes “the streets [as] rubble” and “the water…filthy.” It is often noted by economists that during war, GDP increases. However, the overall well-being of citizens will be lower because GDP does not consider destruction.

Those who promote war or natural disasters as a means to promote economic growth fall for the “broken window fallacy”. The fallacy is that if you break a window, somebody will have to fix it. The effort fixing it will count towards GDP and therefore improves the economy. But at the end of the day, you just have the same window, and the person who fixed it could have been creating other items that would have been valuable for society.

Discussion Questions for “Almost Real”

Link to Lyrics for “Almost Real”