Milano is a concept album, complete with songs that are fictionalized stories about misfits, fashionistas, outcasts and junkies in mid-1980s Milan. Daniele teamed up with Parquet Courts and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s vocalist, Karen O, to help deliver his vision of an emerging youth culture struggling to be heard amidst the rapid gentrification of old Milan.
The first offering from the album was the track Soul and Cigarette, a jaunty, springy tune belies its more sinister, saddened backstory of artistic struggle. Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts describes Soul and Cigarette as a tribute to Alda Merini, one of Milan and Italy's most renowned poets, yet unfortunately not as heralded internationally. He says, “I was reading her and trying to imagine Milan as she saw and experienced it. Her story is one of great suffering and her verse is often quite painful, an important juxtaposition from the cosmopolitan Milan we associate with luxury and excess.”
The second track released from Milano was Talisa featuring Karen O. Talisa is a love letter to Talisa Soto, the model and actress who was a dear friend and muse of revered designer Gianni Versace. Celebrated for her model-esque figure and striking beauty, Talisa appeared in numerous Versace ad campaigns at the height of the brand's fabled existence. Talisa's comely face was regularly plastered on billboards across Milan and she was a steady presence on the catwalks during Milan Fashion Week. Says Daniele, “For Talisa’s lyrics, Karen and I dreamed up a fantasy photoshoot, a la Antonioni’s Blow Up. We imagined a scenario where Talisa is on set in a fantastical couture creation and Gianni himself is the photographer. We wanted to capture the excitement, vibrancy and fast lane life of Milano in the 80s, draped in fashion and models, as cliché as that may seem.”
MILANO is the unofficial follow up to Luppi and Danger Mouse’s 2011 album Rome, a love letter to classic Italian film scores, with Jack White and Norah Jones.