It’s road trip season in America, a joyous post-graduation month of overloaded Instagrams and blatant cultural voyeurism. Kids from the city drive through rural territory in their parents worn-out cars to experience the pleasures of working class life – infrequent bathing, gas station coffee, insecure lodging, and maybe a decent view of the Milky Way. It’s about the only time that middle-class young people experience something resembling American patriotism, in no small part because the America they’re experiencing is so far apart from the pseudo-suburban America they’ve come to hate. It’s the patriotism that’s summed up in the concluding monologue to Lana Del Rey and Anthony Mandler’s 2012 Ride: “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 […] I am fucking crazy. But I am free”.
Hanna Lux Davis has volunteered the 2016 pop entry to this new American dream with the video for Ariana Grande’s soon-to-be hit Into You. Into You is almost comically imitative of Ride. Beyond the fringed jacket and the high-wasted cutoffs and the matching title cards, it fetishizes the same sloppy runaway love that’s Lana’s bread and butter. Both Ariana and Lana ride through the desert with dangerous men who are evidently below their class status. They both throw their hands up on the back of a motorcycle in the same slow-motion way. Their men wear the same bandanas and denim vests.