Monday, October 15, 2012

Lana Del Rey's "Ride" Vs. Guns N' Roses' "November Rain"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM

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Actual Song: "November Rain" is probably better, though not by as much as you think! Because it's kind of overblown and lousy! Its guitar coda is still pretty awesome, though, and it doesn't ever coo the word "daddy" at you. ADVANTAGE GUNS N' ROSES.

Title Card: The prominent title card is how you know you are about to see a work of video ART and not just some promo clip. Axl takes pills over his 90s cursive font, immersed in deeply symbolic, Tony Scott azure blue. Lana's RIDE pops up in silence, stark and important. While that sets a proper tone, for foreshadowing the emotional impact of the deeply vague tragedy that awaits him, The "November Rain" title wins. Not just for grave import, but for sly character development. ADVANTAGE GUNS N 'ROSES.

Storyline: Man, "November Rain" seems really sparse upon revisit. Is this the same video that topped numerous "Best Video of All Time" New Year's Eve countdowns on MTV??? (Oof, does that seem like four billion years ago.) Boy meets girl, boy marries girl in anti-demure wedding dress, reception is rained on, girl catches consumption and dies, like, immediately thereafter, possibly due to unbelievably short wedding skirt.

Who can describe the multitudes that "Ride" contains? Del Rey casts herself as an aspiring singer who falls into prostitution, implied murder, and then hits the open road to live among a pride of middle-aged lovers and outlaws, a rootless state which is the only freedom she's ever known. (Oh, OK, it wasn't that hard.) GNR have the more recognizable tragic arc, LDR is more evocative. Subjective. NO ADVANTAGE.

Performance Footage: Lana finds time out from sex work to perform in rowdy biker bars, bringing a hazy Instagram of glamour into their wretched, violent world. Axl plays piano with an orchestra conductor who looks like Yanni for a fancy concert hall filled with what look to be very excited hedge fund managers. The GNR show looks to be the better gig, sure, but which one better represents the sleazy freedom of rock n' roll, I ask you? In what is sure to be our most controversial decision...ADVANTAGE DEL REY.

Gratuitous Ass Shots: Given that wedding dress, you'd think this might be a walk for Axl and the Boys in a crucial dirt-bag category. But No. Lana bends over a railing, practically sitting on the camera, in a shot that is recycled, Tommy Wisseau in The Room style later in the video. LDR's genius for pre-emptively exploiting herself remains unequaled. ADVANTAGE DEL REY.

Scene in Which its Protagonist is Sexed on a Pinball Machine By a Man Who Uncannily Resembles Axl Rose Circa 2012: Lana wins again, but shit, how I wish it was a tie. ADVANTAGE DEL REY.

Doo Rag Count: 1 to 1. I thought both would have more, but it turns out that Axl wears one on stage, and a particularly beefy member of Lana' man-harem wears one at all times. I has blissfully misremembered that Axl wore a formal doo rag at his wedding, but it turns out he did not. (He does appear to wear a formal coke pinky ring, which the judging committee has duly noted.) NO ADVANTAGE IN THE CRUCIAL DOO RAG VOLUME METRIC.

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