Do you remember the first time you saw the Lana Del Rey‘s “Video Games” video, that gauzy collage of images of pool parties and open road and Paz De La Huerta? It didn’t seem so different from the millions of other homemade montage videos posted to YouTube — save for that haunting voice of her, of course. But looking back now, the different images have been reborn and repacked as subsequent videos — the American flags became “National Anthem”, the tattooed skateboarder borrowed for “Blue Jeans” — like that first video was a rough draft. That being the case, this beautiful 10-minute video for “Ride,” the new single off Born To Die – The Paradise Edition, is “Video Games” fully fleshed out and her coup de grâce. Signed, sealed and delivered complete with a scene of Del Rey being bent over a pinball machine by a biker dude old enough to be her father. Like she says in the video: “Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them? I have. I am f***ing crazy. But I am free.”
The epic video begins and ends with a long-winded and winding soliloquy. “I’m a singer. Not a very popular one,” Del Rey says. “I 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.”
And so, being the “chameleon soul” with “an obsession for freedom that terrified me” that she is, she heads out into the world to explore her taste for leather clad bikers, Native American headdresses and the wide-open sky. Somewhere therein is also, you know, the actual song. But that’s not so much the point as “life, man:” “When the people who used to know found out what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been living, they ask my 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.” It sounds like she might be talking about a life of prostitution, but we’re pretty sure she means a life on stage. And those motorcycle guys, they just get her.
She ends with this:
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 into a work of art. Live fast. Die young. Be wild. 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. Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them? I have. I am fucking crazy. But I am free.
F***ing crazy and free indeed.