Lana del Rey is strange. The self proclaimed “Lolita lost in the hood” has packed her music videos with everything from live lions to a gangster version of J.F.K. Her love of the bizarre is further confirmed in her new 10-minute music video “Ride,” which is filled with creepy old men and indian headdresses. However, these musical and stylistic abnormalities do not dominate or define her work, but instead enhance it. In “Ride,” scenes of bizarre sexual relationships in seedy locations are captured through beautiful cinematography and poignant spoken word segments in order to convey a moving narrative.
The video starts simply, with Lana swinging on a tire in silence. The quiet is broken when Lana begins a subdued voiceover about her realization that the life of stardom is not all it is hyped up to be. She says instead that memories of being with men on the road were “the only things that sustained me and my only real happy times.” Here, the video shows the stunningly gorgeous Lana laughing and kissing a group of middle-aged bikers, most of whom have pretty substantial beer guts. While the stark contrast between Lana and the creepy-looking guys she is with is almost comical at first, the narration gives the scenes meaning: Lana was plagued by alcohol dependence as a young teenager and ended up in many sticky situations as a result. So while the old guys aren’t the sexiest choice for a music video, they hold symbolic power about Lana’s troubled past.
After a montage of clips of Lana and various men at gas stations, motels, and corner liquor stores, the video ends with another voiceover. “Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them?” Lana asks. She then answers herself with a resounding finish: “I have. I am fucking crazy. But I am free.” It is this craziness that powers her songs and music videos and makes her a unique force in pop music.