Friday, 6 December 2013

[Discussion] Lana Del Rey's "Tropico": A Work of Genius or Pretentious Pap?



Lana Del Rey's music and visuals have always been cinematic and dramatic in scope. And she's always worn her obsession for the Golden Age of Hollywood and Americana prominently on her sleeve. So is it any wonder that the singer-songwriter would take these passions a step further and release something more substantial than a four minute promo? Let me help you out: no it is not!  Everyone say "hello" to the Coney Island Queen's short film, Tropico.

But hold up! Before you take that leap into Lana's world, take a read of this Question and Answer session the director of Tropico, Anthony Mandler, had with Time. It should help prepare you for what you're going to see. Below is an extract from it explaining the process of collaborating with Lana and how the film is, at its heart, a love story (as if we couldn't figure that out ourselves!) :

TIME: There’s a lot going on in Tropico. How did Lana first explain the concept to you?
Anthony Mandler: Generally, when we work together, I get these long, written-out character breakdowns and story breakdowns. Some of it is very well-thought out, some of it is kind of stream-of-conscious. So my role has been to come in and shake the tree and realign things and make it do-able. Lana has these really wide, vast landscapes that she lays out, but she definitely has a very strong vision about the world she wants to fill out. It is a very collaborative process, especially on the front end.

Ultimately it’s a love story though, right?

Yes, I think it’s a love story between two people and a love story about loving yourself. It is that classic idea about breaking trust or breaking something sacred and how you find it again. Okay, so they are abolished from the Garden of Eden: now what? How do we push that forward through the modern lens? [We're looking] at this sort of modern hell on earth that people live in: working in a convenience store, stripping for money, not doing much of anything. There’s that moment — and I love it that [Shaun's character] Adam does it — where he goes, “It’s not always going to be this way.” The third act is about moving back to paradise and finding another Eden that’s not on Earth.

Source: Time.com



So was Tropico a masterpiece, or more a slice of pretentious pie from another Diva who takes herself too seriously? Vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments!


Thoughts?

43 comments:

  1. i liked it :) lana be looking hot as hell and thats coming from a man of the gay variety.

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  2. It's great, but nothing genius. At least she did an effort trying to make the clip show something deeper than the average clip that most pop singers do nowadays. She always showcase her songs with good clipes, so...

    I like her music and she looks hot².

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  3. I enjoyed a lot actually. The interview just made it a lot better, knowing that there was thought put into this, rather than just a random storyline sprinkled with cultural references to make people she's deep. And I agree with Ruru, again coming from a gay guy, she's looking as gorgeous as ever.

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  4. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't consider it "genius" per say but it was really creative. :) I always enjoy Lana's vintage Hollywood themes.

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  5. I loved it, it was very beautiful and touching. She can put beauty in the most violent and ugly events and places, like the strip club and the ghetto. And honestly, who else could put Marilyn Monroe, Jesus, Elvis and a cowboy together and make it work?

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  6. i agree it is a beautiful video and sure she may be another diva who might come off as pretentious and "too serious" but music today is dominated by mindless singers who only care about creating catchy songs and makings sure the music and the videos aren't too out there because theyre afraid it will offend some people

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  7. oh and she looks stunning

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  8. That's what I thought too. I am completely mystified by this year's nominations. It seems they completely overhauled each category and now there's no more awards for vocals plus no separate male/female categories anymore. WTF
    Also I am baffled at what the eligible time frame is because really? Adele's Skyfall is nominated this year?

    Again I say...WTF happened to the Grammies???
    What I do know is...lost another 20% of my interest. Which leaves me at practically zero % interest.
    Just going to vaguely hope the few people nominated that I like will win but seeing as they are in categories very likely to be ignored during any broadcasts ....

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  9. OMG you're right Opie they combined the female and male act and i didn't see adele's nomination but BS that. Grammy is so messed up i feel like they are no longer credible. anyway i look forward on my favorites too but ugh i'm just so sad Wrecking Ball is not nominated. i thought it was as good (or even better) as the other noms for song & record of the year but maybe they didn't like Miley or her image whatsoever. This is just BS

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  10. Personally I feel Miley's album ought to be nominated for the old categories best pop album and female pop vocals and indeed record of the year. And should win the first two.
    This looks like a major snub and one clearly influenced by stuff which has fuck all to do with actual music. Very very bad form from the Grammy people.
    Adele's song btw is nominated in the (new) category song for a visual medium or some such title.


    Seeing as there now no longer is a vocals award but instead a "performance" award, I guess the acadamy is going with the hip new view that "visual" is as important as audio when it comes to...music.
    How the fuck they are going to review every performance is beyond me. But I guess they at present still mean in a studio but in that case I wonder..does that performance go to how believable a singer presents the engineers efforts as their own?

    Sorry, this is all making me rather bitter. LOL

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  11. Sept. 30, the last day of this year's eligibility period. the reason why Bangerz is not nominated, i just wish it will be nominated and we can't really blame them for changing "vocal" to "performance" since there isn't much vocals anymore from the so called "artist" i mean isn't it awkward that "white horse" by Tswift was nominated for a vocal category yet it's just a simple song right? and in my opinion wrecking ball was so much better than a Tswift songs that was nominated ever. Good heavens i was so confident that miley will be nominated but ughh

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  12. My opinion is that this is POP not OPERA so moderate knowledge on singing would suffice

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  13. Aha! Well that at least is something. :-) Thanks for looking it up. I was too annoyed to.

    I would agree with you re vocals v. performance if it was just the pop genre but they did so in all genres. ;-)

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  14. ps don't even get me started on Taylor Swift again getting a couple of nominations..even when the competition includes all men as well. Ridiculous imo.
    I am just going to focus on Sarah jarosz, Della Mae and The Civil Wars hopefully winning in their respective categories. :-)

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  15. Love the "all I want..." performance, but... "joy to..." was A MESS. I have the original sound taping here with me. And the second whistle note was fake.

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  16. I'm not "getting that" because it doesn't actually exist as a truth outside of your imagination. :-)

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  17. Gaga >>> Flopriah7 December 2013 at 14:54

    Sorry but like it or now, Mariah's career is over. Gaga is now the vocal goddess. Mother Monster domination!

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  18. Gaga >> Flopriah7 December 2013 at 14:56

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwQinlK8AfY I hope Flopriah can do this

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  19. Just in case anybody is interested, these are those nominations I will be rooting for. (first one the song but also the full album are nominated)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4QdmkXwgEU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJ3gPoEw_s4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV9aQkBpI5o

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  20. It's the same stuff she's been doing since her debut. Pretentious "pap" with an Instagram filter thrown over it. But people love that nowadays as long as it's not coming from a pop singer who takes their clothes off. Lana is somehow viewed as authentic even though she's not so her artsy stuff is super serious.~ I'd like for her to actually stray away from her hipster-esque image and do something truly unique. Then maybe she'll put out a masterpiece. As of now, she's a one trick pony.

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  21. I hope she can't. Personally I hate Gaga's tone.

    But I am just saying IF you are going to compare Gaga with Mariah you need to look at Mariah in 1996 compared to Gaga now.
    To think they are in the same league is already stretching, to suggest Gaga is better is plain delusional.

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  22. Just...No dude. Give it up already. And tearing other singers down is not going to make her a "vocal godess" either. As for your "flopriah"...I'd pipe down if I were you, seeing as Artpop is not doing near as well as Gaga or her fans had hoped.
    At this point it doesn't look like Gaga's career is going to have the success length Mariah's has had.
    I'd post the salesnumbers of Mariah v. Gaga but obviously you are living in dreamland anyway and the rest of the world already knows the truth.

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  23. LOL i don't think you're opie

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  24. LOL this is ridiculous it was beyond my comprehension. i mean i will kinda understand it when you say mariah's career is over but the gaga thing is just....................... WRONG! Anyway something wrong with "DISGUST" i guess

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  25. Vinicius Ferreira Mendes7 December 2013 at 18:57

    I'm not #teamLana, but I liked it... If I got it right, it was a rather interesting social comentary... Something the other big pretentious pop star is failing in delivering since 2010 or so...

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  26. Let me point out some lovely little facts to you:
    Lady Gaga's albums have been progressively selling less than the one preceding it. Now, what will happen with 'Artpop' remains to be seen, however, it doesn't have the singles or the impact of 'The Fame' or 'Born This Way'.
    Mariah's albums of the 90s had RIDICULOUS sales impact, and after the expected 'sophmore slump' of 'Emotions', she bounced back with two of the biggest selling albums in history ('Music Box' and 'Daydream'), and she continued her stream of success, got paused by 'Glitter' and 'Charmbracelet', and then once again bounced back with 'The Emancipation of Mimi'. So unless Gaga can come up with something to bolster her sales, she's doomed there.
    As for vocals...oh please...Mariah's prime was literally unstoppable - she could sing anything Lady Gaga can sing and better with a freak 5 octave range and belts like crazy. Given a few days' voice rest, and she could outsing her NOW, ten years after her prime with hardened nodes.
    Gaga has a good voice, don't get me wrong, but pitting her against Mariah is beyond foolhardy - Mariah's 'Joy to the World' had her consistently in the C5-E5 range, which is something Gaga has never shown she can pull off.
    An actual vocal 'goddess' so to speak would be someone like Beyonce - a person who has perfected their art and honed their voice until she sings like a virtuoso instrumentalist would play.
    So go away until 'Mother Monster' can show us she can REALLY sell herself and her voice again.

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  27. I believe, Mariah's deteriorated voice is the product of the over-exertion that consumed most of her life for an entire decade (90s). Not only is she a light-lyric (a very delicate voice in itself) but the vocal nodules made her vocal cords even more fragile. She requires a great amount of rest in order to perform well. I feel she overused her voice in her prime and so her consistency has suffered as well as her ease and the quality of her belts (her timbre is becoming quite thin, IMO).

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  28. Thats the guy from youtub. who's the vocal "expert".

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  29. As a lamb, I cried.
    Go to Mariahjournal.com
    and watch her performance of All I want forChristmas.
    Around minute 1:03:00...
    Yes it was like an hour long thing but skip to Mariah.
    Her vocal cracks and breaks and her facial embarrassment made me sad for her.
    Thats her voice 100% live, and it was difficult to watch

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  30. I like what she is trying to do but I think it still needs a lot of work. This needed an all around tightening up. Of her vision as well as the execution of it.
    But I think it shows more hopeful signs for heading in the "genius" than "pretentious" direction.
    At present, imo,it is neither.

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  31. Primo Uomo Assoluto8 December 2013 at 09:45

    "Good enough" = Mediocre.
    Mariah, WHitney, Lara Fabian, Patti Labelle, Monica Naranjo, Barbra Streisand, Mina, Caterina Valente, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. All the great vocalists were more than good enough, their knowledge and technique was more than "sufficient".
    That something is way over your head doesn't mean it's unnecessary.

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  32. Primo Uomo Assoluto8 December 2013 at 09:47

    Do you have a problem with it?

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  33. And Nope, Streisand didn't listen to your opinion either. She did not take voice lessons throughout her career. She in fact stopped almost right away after starting because she felt it fucked up her singing. I am afraid in using Streisand you undermine your own argument.
    Which does not mean I don't subscribe to singers generally learning what they can about their instrument and how to best use it. But pop is indeed not opera and the demand for the extent of such continuous studies are way lower.

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  34. i didn't say that those artists you mentioned has mediocre singing knowledge and it is not necessary, as you can see i said "moderate knowledge would suffice" i didn't say that they should stop there, after all that is there choice and not all pop singers belt/oversing much like those who you gave me but all i said is that good enough is ok for pop, some lessons in breath control, neutral larynx, and/or proper belting would do. today it is no longer how you sing but the way you can market yourself and relevance/image so get over the technique things this is not opera this is pop. just look at rihanna (though gotten better) and taylor swift.

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  35. Ouch is all I can say

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  36. I honestly don't think her belting is THAT shrill, especially because she hit the same exact notes earlier to much fanfare/resonance. I think, if anything, the temperature caused the difficulties. She's dealt with cold weather before and it's negatively affected her performance and she says she normally keeps her indoor temperature at a mild 75º to keep her voice in check, which I guess means she should really only perform in Florida since that's probably now a habit.


    I think this performance is a little weird to have after the really nice improv she did on Fallon. This is definitely a pleasant performance and an acceptable one, but last year Mariah would literally all over this since she did like, 3 different flawless performances of AIWFCIY

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  37. I completely agree with you. However, even exerting herself half as hard as she did in the 90s would have resulted in some nastiness today, because nodes that are around for that long tend to affect the voice continuously, and they harden consistently. So, more or less, she needs to get her nodes removed. Will she lose some of her singing voice? Possibly. Will she gain back the ease in her belting? Yes. It would be a changed voice. She would need to learn how to sing without nodes, which would be incredibly interesting to hear. She would probably try to go into whistle register, only to have it work differently than before. But with a little practise, she would be back at the top of her game.

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  38. The moment when she bites into the fruit and we see flashes of her on the stripper pole is fantastic. The glimpse of the downfall of woman/humanity was incredible. Instead of grinding on a pole unnecessarily like her "peers" Lana put a story behind it and gave her character some depth. So much better than the generic mess that divas have been putting out with their videos lately. Lana takes chances, and they don't always work but at least she doesn't play it safe. She stands out in a great way and it is clear that she is a visionary in contemporary music. I can't even think of another video lately that employs symbolism, narration, or imagery the way that Lana's does.

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  39. I'll watch the rest when I get home... its gonna be hard to press the X on this tab. It was interesting as hell.

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  40. Vinicius Ferreira Mendes9 December 2013 at 15:51

    Yeap... Coudln't we have something in the between?

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  41. I think that is what she gave us Vinicius...something in between.
    Or did you men in DD's poll?

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  42. Vinicius Ferreira Mendes9 December 2013 at 16:26

    I mean the poll! xD I agree she gave us something in between... Lana is young, she still has time.

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  43. Plenty of time. I have high hopes. Though not for live vocals. But for creating beautiful /lyrics/music/videos..definitely!
    The poll gives you an option to fill in "something in between" if you want. I posted that "neither". :-)

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