Here’s our review of “Tropico,” as written for the homies over at Thrive Magazine.
There’s a lot to love, and definitely plenty to hate depending on which side of the Lana del Rey fence you’re on. But that’s kind of her story as an artist – you either deal with the fact that her music is a hodgepodge of sadness, contradiction, and Nancy Sinatra-like crooning over dark synths and a backdrop of All-American imagery. Or you just find her really emotional and annoying, and at some point she changes your mind. “Tropico” is no different. With her first short film, Lana Del Rey tells the story of sin and forgiveness that begins in the Garden of Eden, before embarking on a journey through the gang culture of L.A., several strip clubs, and frolicking through golden grass-filled fields at sunset. It’s every bit as intense as it sounds, yet well worth each of its 27 minutes. Here’s our list of 10 things to love about the film:
10. Hey, we’re all sinners. When your Mom asks “When’s the last time you went to church,” at least you can say it’s ok, I learned the story of Adam & Eve by watching Lana Del Rey’s short film instead.
9. 6-4s, LA, and Cholos. For a moment you’ll feel like it’s 1993 and you’re back in a Snoop Dogg video.
8. Cameo appearances by John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. If two of the most important actors of the 20th century aren’t enough to make you wanna watch this thing, I don’t know what to tell you.
7. Lana del Rey in the strip club. Just in case you didn’t catch that from our short summary at the top.
6. The element of surprise. We don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that after watching “Tropico,” you might think twice the next time you pull out a wad of Benjamins at Magic City.
5. It was directed by Anthony Mandler, who is best known for directing Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” and has worked with everyone from Taylor Swift, to Eminem and M.I.A. It was also produced by a pretty important guy named Rick Rubin. (Google him).
4. It was actually written by Lana del Rey. She’s both beautiful and talented, sings her ass off, and stars in videos with A$AP Rocky – what’s not to like?
3. It’s refreshing. After first seeing Kim and Kanye screw on a motorcycle in the Grand Canyon, followed by Seth Rogen and James Franco’s reprise, followed by Miley Cyrus stripping on a Wrecking Ball, and then that guy Steve Kardynal doing his sexed up version on Chat Roulette, our brain needs a break from video porn for a while. While some might find the strip club scenes gratuitous, at least they fit into the storyline.
2. Great Music. Featuring the songs “Body Electric,” “Gods and Monsters,” and “Bel Air,” plus some singing by John Wayne, and classic poetry by Allen Ginsberg.
1. It’s a segue into Lana’s Del Rey’s new album, which is reportedly titled “Ultra Violence.” Sorry guys, there’s no release date just yet.
*Bonus: It also includes a cameo by Pool Boy from Mad TV.
Graphics Interchange Format. Ever since Gif creator Steve Wilhite took to Twitter trying to convince everyone that his invention is pronounced “gif” with a hard g, the debate’s been raging - how exactly do you pronounce the damn word?
This week Mr. Trebek and the folks at Jeopardy helped put the debate to rest.
Rest in peace, Paul Walker – Fast and Furious forever!
The New York Times has more on the tragic, untimely car crash that took his life. In the meantime, we’d like to pay our respects with this Spotify playlist of our favorite Fast & Furious songs:
After the original vomit-inducing video treatment for Kanye’s “Bound 2,” James Franco and Seth Rogen decided to try their hand at it. Check out this side-by-side version of the two videos, courtesy of animalnewyork.com. Hilarious.
In the same all-to-soon fashion as many of Banksy’s works during his New York residency, Long Island City’s legendary graffiti mecca was whited out faster than we could say “Grandmaster Flash.” Sadly, it was only a matter of time, as no piece of prime real estate could ever go unrented in a place where the average rent is over $3,000. Read more over on this travesty over at the New York Times.
The queen of paper planes, Tamil dance beats, and subversion-on-wax returns. We don’t do feature length album reviews per se, but Pitchfork’s got you covered. In the meantime, here are the top 5 songs we think you should hear, hosted by Spotify. For devoted M.I.A fans and newcomers alike, this album won’t disappoint.
- Bad Girls – By now everyone knows that bad girls live fast, die young, but at least they do it well. Take note Miley Cyrus.
- Y.A.L.A – A response to Drake’s Y.O.L.O mantra (you only live once), which proclaims “Y.A.L.A” – you always live again.
- Double Bubble Trouble – A laid-back hybrid of Reggae and Dubstep.
- Sexodus – an entrancing exercise in seduction, with the sound of helicopter propellers diffused through the soundwaves.
- aTENTion – a tribute to Autotune, and the now-classic Bone Crusher war chant, “Never Scared.”
Mixing 70s and 80s blue-eyed soul, Stockholm, Sweden’s Californiaman strays off-topic at just the right times. Look out for interjections from Kendrick Lamar, Donny Hathaway, D’Angelo, and surprise – the Chicago Bulls starting lineup theme (“Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project)? Yup, you read that right.