Lana Del Rey Takes a ‘Ride’ on The WILD Side
by: Diego Martínez
October 12, 2012
If anyone ever owned 2012 is clearly Lana Del Rey. She has enjoyed an incredible journey since her debut album Born To Die was released in January, and though she also had her share of challenges (SNL, shaky early gigs and that “Carmen” vid), the New York singer/songwriter remained ever graceful with a smoky vocal range and a visual esthetic that’s very much her own.
Hot on the heels of her association with fashion greats H&M, Lana is treating her loyal following with a “Paradise” reissue of Born To Die and a new EP with fresh tracks. To promote the upcoming releases, she has embodied two different extremes: first as a sultry goddess on her rendition of Bobby Vinton’s iconic ballad “Blue Velvet” and now as a rebel child with a heart on the single “Ride.”
From “Video Games” onwards, Lizzie Grant’s videoclips always showcase her knack for melodrama, freedom, love and lust, all wrapped up in an artistic capsule that sets her apart from her fellow contemporary songstresses. The 10-minute short film for “Ride” (which she premiered, along with director Antony Mandler, for hundreds of fans at a Santa Monica, California movie theater) is no exception, but I gather a slightly personal and daring element that is deep to the core of the artist herself. It is almost autobiographical, though it’s only part of a well thought character.
As she slowly sways on a tire swing, she takes us for a three minute look back at how men affected her life at some point:
I was in the winter of my life — and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell asleep with visions of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour and my memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet — but upon an unfortunate series of events, saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again — sparkling and broken. But I didn’t really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is.
When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living — they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lie your head.
I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way, I’d be lying — because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one — who belonged to everyone, who had nothing — who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about — and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.
Lana takes the mic on a pretty white dress and thus begins a wild ‘ride’ of sorts through three different affairs: a scruffy biker who bends her over a pinball machine; another one who combs her hair and leads a soft dance in the dressing room; and a clean-cut older dude who embraces her on a motel balcony. The clip’s climax sees her taking part on a frenetic night time celebration in the desert. Very “Easy Rider” of someone who already embodied the refinement of JFK’s Camelot in “National Anthem,” also directed by Mandler.
There is no tragic ending to “Ride” and that is welcome. Instead, there is a lot of playing in the sand and a closing statement that shows exactly where she stands as a performer and as an individual:
Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people — and finally I did — on the open road. We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore — except to make our lives a work of art.
Live fast. Die Young. Be Wild. And Have Fun.
I believe in the country America used to be.
I believe in the person I want to become.
I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever.
I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself, I ride. I just ride.
Who are you?
Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies?
Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them?
I am fucking crazy. But I am free.