Ride by Lana Del Rey, Paradise, 2012
Directed by Anthony Mandler
The song Ride is a ballad about freedom, loneliness, parental problems, and alcoholism. The music video pictures Del Rey as a prostitute involved in a biker gang after leaving her wealthy family for “the open road.”
Anthony Mandler teamed up with Lana Del Rey to direct the ten-minute short music film, released on October 12, 2012. With over 83 million views on YouTube, it is a very well known music video. It received both positive to mixed reviews considering its glamorization of many controversial topics such as violence, sexual affairs, and prostitution.
The opening scene of the video pictures Del Rey gracefully and “freely” swinging on a tire swing in the middle of the desert after she ran away from the oppression of her opulent family. This scene represents the introduction of one of the song and video’s main themes—the desire for freedom from the pressures of both family and society
This scene pictures Del Rey as a streetwalking prostitute. During this scene we hear Del Rey’s opening monologue where she says, “I was a singer, but not a really popular one. I 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 it because I knew that it takes everything that you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is.” Unable to find her place in this world, Del Rey looks lost and troubled. It is clear she is seeking meaning in any way that she can.
Throughout the video Del Rey rides through the desert with a biker gang on an open road, representing her need for company, deep lingering loneliness, and yearn for freedom. The bikers could also be a physical representation of the American Dream, as bikers and their culture are commonly considered “white trash.” This poses as an opposition to the pressures her opulent, entitled family. Instead these “white trash” bikers live to seek thrill, something that Del Rey desires.
After the monologue ends, the song begins as we see Del Rey about to perform at a theater. The filming and clothing is similar to the styles seen in old Hollywood glamour. Del Rey is commonly thought to represent a post-modern Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor—a woman who is idealized and glamourized by American society. Although Del Rey is both beautiful and “free” she still faces the pressures and constraints that come with being seen as so.