Trending Tropics, the duo made up of Calle 13 member Visitante and the Dominican singer Vicente Garcia, blitz through hard-headed merengue at around 195 beats per minute on their new single “Elintelné,” which also features rapping from Wiso G.
“Elintelné” is a cautionary tale about human obsession with technology. “This song is about a being that comes to the earth and sees everyone looking to the floor,” Visitante told Rolling Stone this summer. “The first verse talks about that, how everyone is staring at the floor. He realizes in the second verse it’s because of the internet. In the third verse, he goes to the internet, he meets him, and he asks, ‘what do you want from us?’ The internet tells him he wants to be everywhere.”
Visitante emphasized that the song was “not preaching.” “We are not exempt from this — we are addicted to this shit too,” he added. “We are making fun of us also.”
The amusing video for “Elintelné” brings this technological dependency to life. The clip follows a man who’s locked to his phone, ignoring his girlfriend and his colleagues at work. As the video progresses, his phone gradually gets bigger and bigger until he’s staring rapturously at a screen that’s taller than he is. The clip comes to a tragic end: The massive phone falls on its user, crushing him into nothing.
Despite the song’s serious topic, the music in “Elintelné” is relentlessly upbeat, charging forward with the single-minded purpose of punk. On first listen, you might expect a song like this to incite an unruly mosh pit. But when Trending Tropics played it live for the first time a few days before speaking with Rolling Stone, the song elicited a different reaction: “People were dancing.”
Trending Tropics are working on their eponymous debut album. It marks Visitante’s first artist project outside of the great group Calle 13, whose last album came out four years ago.
Visitante has a strong partner in Garcia, a gifted singer who used to front the group Calor Urbano before embarking on a solo career. His last album, A La Mar, was a beautiful collection of largely acoustic ballads.
A release date for Trending Tropics has not yet been announced.