Milano was inspired by another city that has been an essential part of Daniele Luppi’s life. The album is reminiscent of 80s Milan high fashion’s achingly cool vibe. The album beautifully blends Karen O’s brush energy and slacker punks Parquet Courts’ yin and yang. Although at first glance, you may think that the frenetic purr of Karen O’ and the slurring dissonance of Parquet Courts are incompatible, the duo is pretty intriguing.
Karen O only makes an appearance on half of Milano, and in O’s absence, Parquet Courts are predominant with all the nervy DIY features that are responsible for the success of their albums. While the first track, soul, and cigarettes, Daniele Luppi intersperses keys that shine through the buzz saw, ramshackle guitars like glitzy department shop windows lights, “Mount Napoleon” is down-tuned and off-kilter with a jittery and laxity undertone reminiscent of pavements or silver Jews.
Milano’s highlight moments is when Karen O picks up the mic, and Parquet Courts play the guitar to compliment Karen O’s kittenish exuberance. Jack riffs stub, thrust, and needle on “Flush” and “Talisa” while the vocals of Karen O’s drip, strut, and stalk with sexuality that’s unapologetic. In” The Golden One”, Karen O mischievously orders “Touch Yourself”, and later in ragged magazine-esque riffs on Pretty Prizes, breathlessly asks whether her dance is appealing.
On paper, the album ought to be a failure, but it was a resounding success. In Milano, Daniele Luppi created a fashionable and fast-paced record that epitomizes Milan’s lifeblood as a super stylish, seductive, and hedonistic city. In the 80s Milan, there was a perception that all things were possible. The streets were full of glamorous foreigners, money flowed, and parties raged. It was a very vibrant atmosphere, although a bit superfluous. This description is at the heart of Daniele Luppi’s album Milano. Daniele Luppi achieved his fame in LA, where he worked for artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gnarls Barkley as an arranger. However, Daniele Luppi’s work dates back to his native country. The album is a tribute to the 80s, where Daniele Luppi spent his teenage years in Milan.
In a similar fashion to how the utilization of White and Jones to induce the youth of Ennio Morricone wasn’t very convincing on paper but became successful in the album Rome, Milano’s success is equally surprising. In the album, Milan is dubbed Milano da bere, which in English means drinking Milan because of Milan’s excessiveness in the 80s. 80s Milan has a lot of things in common with New York City. Therefore, it makes sense that Daniele Luppi’s album-length lyric to that place and time is reminiscent of New York city’s punk nascent vibe.
Other than a couple of sax storms here, and a couple of bell chimes there, you will be hard-pressed to pinpoint Daniele Luppi’s fingerprints throughout the album’s lively half-hour run time and 9 tracks. But when the duo of Karen O and Parquet Courts is this inspiring, who wouldn’t want to step back and let it flow? Much in the manner that “The Deuce” by HBO delights viewers by seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco strut the streets of New York in the 1970s, hearing Karen O and Andrew Savage voice Milano’s desperate and wound up narrators is quite the thrill.