Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lana Del Rey captivates in arresting ‘Tropico’

Indy pop artist auteur Lana Del Rey continues to propel ahead with her blazing creative path with ‘Tropico’, a visually arresting avant-garde 27 minute short film directed by Anthony Mandler and featuring several of the statuesque singer’s best songs.

The brooding artist whose persona is often described as a modern day “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” takes the iconic Americana imagery and angst ridden nostalgia of her music videos and combines it with symbolism and a hard-boiled noir narrative that serves as a bridge between a series of stunning music video sequences. “Tropico” is essentially an extension of the long-format music video the singer/songwriter experimented with on “Ride”.

The songs featured in Tropico are from Lana Del Rey’s outstanding “Paradise” EP including “Body Electric”, the erotic “Gods and Monsters”, and the haunting “Bel Air”. The singer songwriter’s work appears to be influenced not only by the aforementioned Nancy Sinatra and the Mad Men culture, but by the pulp era southern white trash noir literature of Erskine Caldwell and James M. Cain.

Put simply, “Tropico” is a fascinating, hypnotic, and at times brilliant piece of short filmmaking combining Biblical allegories, pop culture icons, Americana nostalgia, angst, and LA gang culture.

The imagery is breathtaking and the voice-over narration so jam-packed with poetic prose that it sears into the soul. Whatever it is that Lana Del Rey has lived through or taps into when she creates her stirring art—it runs deep—very deep. There is so much going on with this artist, every image commands attention. Every lyric has something to say. Every song tells a story and is packed with emotional resonance. Lana Del Rey is unique musical voice with a gift for creating iconic imagery. She is an artistic force who never fails to fascinate—and to make us feel.

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