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February 7, 2012 7:47 AM   Subscribe

And now, ladies and gentlemen, OK Go will play 1000 instruments with a car.
posted by swift (59 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mr. Dyrdek also flogged a Sonic for advertainment purposes.
posted by obscurator at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've enjoyed a lot of OK Go's videos to date, but the spectacle and the corporate sponsorships are starting to be a bit much.

I think a better gimmick would be abandoning gimmicks.
posted by hamandcheese at 8:01 AM on February 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


They looked uncomfortable in those outfits.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2012


Yeah, I went through this:

1) Oh yay, another advertising post on MeFi.
2) I guess I'll check it out, because OK Go can do some neat stuff and maybe it won't be too intrusive.
3) Wow, this is really neat!
4) ...wait, I haven't really listened to a single word or note. I'm just watching a car drive around and hit things.
5) Oh yay, another car advertisement.
posted by DU at 8:07 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, if every advertisement were a company bankrolling some creative people to do a creative thing, instead of what advertisements usually are, I think I'd like advertising on the whole a lot better.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:13 AM on February 7, 2012 [47 favorites]


If companies want to sponsor interesting music videos, that's fine by me, but unfortunately, this one seems to have missed the mark. Seemed like a good idea on paper, but once executed it just wasn't that... fun. I kind of agree with hamandcheese: If their next video was just a straight up live performance, I bet it would, at this point, get just as much attention.
posted by gwint at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah dude we all saw the Superbowl. Thanks.
posted by spicynuts at 8:16 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK Dude.
posted by swift at 8:18 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah dude we all saw the Superbowl. Thanks.

This wasn't on during the superbowl where I live, anyway.
posted by inigo2 at 8:18 AM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


OK Go really needs to go into a dark psychedelic phase now for me to like them.
posted by frenetic at 8:23 AM on February 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


agreed frenetic, right now there's something offensively harmless about them.
posted by litleozy at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2012


I loved it. Come on, it’s like live action Mario Kart with a great sound track. If they paid for a video with their own dollars we would never see it, or talk about it, we wouldn’t see the crazy ideas produced in such a spectacular way. They are a band that has decided that they can get more attention and funding with some co-sponsorship dollars and from the looks of it, have a whole lot of artistic freedom to do what their creative minds can come up with. I learned about them initially because their videos are always inventive, and then learned about their body of work from this exposure. I understand that it’s not always cool to “sell out” but how else would this idea come to be if they didn’t take advantage of some marketing dollars to fund this. I did feel bad for the instrument abuse though. I mean there are a LOT of dusty and scratched up pianos available for resale now.
posted by brinkzilla at 8:29 AM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think a better gimmick would be abandoning gimmicks.

Holy geez there are a lot of contrarians here. Forget you, this was awesome. OK Go's "gimmick"s are what make them worthy of a Mefi FPP, instead of the thousand other music videos released this year.

As for corporate sponsorship (recall that State Farm paid for the Rube Goldberg machine), I get better entertainment than I would from a record label, and better commercials than I would from the sponsors alone. Win-win.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:40 AM on February 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not a fan of this band or music videos, but I'm glad they made it anyway.
posted by orme at 8:42 AM on February 7, 2012


It was awesome. The amount of planning must have been incredible.
posted by drezdn at 8:44 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like it when people do things that look fun. This was great.

Ooh -- just imagine if OK Go and the Mythbusters could team up in some way. That would be awesome.
posted by meese at 8:45 AM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


spicynuts: Not every living human watches the Superbowl. Especially the large international readership on Mefi.

I really did like the concept here, but it was a wee...flat...in the execution. This is the first of the OK Go clips where they looked bored throughout the clip. Even in the White Knuckles vid, the blankness of their expressions seemed really deliberately used to juxtapose how stoked all the dogs were to be performing. Here it looks like they're just waiting to get out of the car.
posted by Jilder at 8:45 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


In hopes of salvaging this thread, here's a fairly interesting article from Car and Driver about how the video was made.
posted by me3dia at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


I saw this yesterday, and it is very fun.
The Car and Driver article is fun too, and I look forward to some more stuff about how they figured out what notes had to go where, and what speed, and how many times they were able to practice it and so on.

I think it's great that these guys have developed a cottage industry of fun things like this and the cottage industry is well-liked enough that companies want to pay these guys a million bucks and give them a car so they can organize fun things for us to watch. I hate advertising with a burning passionate fury, but they have done a good job with their sponsored stuff making the advertising element un-objectionable.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:58 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah dude we all saw the Superbowl. Thanks.
Uh, not everyone watches the superbowl, and in general most of the ads suck anyway. I actually did know that they were going to put this video out but I probably would have forgotten to watch it if not for the post.
Holy geez there are a lot of contrarians here. Forget you, this was awesome. OK Go's "gimmick"s are what make them worthy of a Mefi FPP, instead of the thousand other music videos released this year.
Yeah no kidding. That's why I'm taking it up a notch and being contrary to all the contrarians. Seriously this was pretty cool. It was fun to watch and yeah, it was sponsored but how else would they have been able to pay for something like that?

The other thing, some of the other rube Goldberg stuff gets old but this was much more of a spectacle. Plus, I like cars and driving and stuff. I loved this M.I.A video for example.
This is the first of the OK Go clips where they looked bored throughout the clip.
I thought they looked nervous. It had to be a little nervewracking driving that car around that stunt track.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy geez there are a lot of contrarians here. Forget you, this was awesome.

Look, I'm not trying to hate on this. I just think that these guys have set themselves up for having to constantly outdo what they did last time. This is a recipe for jumping over sharks on waterskis.
posted by hamandcheese at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean there are a LOT of dusty and scratched up pianos available for resale now.

And this. I shed a tear for those pianos.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:01 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ooh, yeah, and each shark would be carrying an amplifier and a phonograph stylus, and there would be coded grooves on the bottom of the skis...
posted by moonmilk at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just think that these guys have set themselves up for having to constantly outdo what they did last time.

Good for them.
posted by brain_drain at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Here it looks like they're just waiting to get out of the car.

My guess is that they were just concentrating, and the video we saw was probably one of several takes that day.
posted by Think_Long at 9:07 AM on February 7, 2012


So now by logical extension the shitheads who go around smashing mailboxes with baseball bats are musicians?
posted by aught at 9:11 AM on February 7, 2012


So now by logical extension the shitheads who go around smashing mailboxes with baseball bats are musicians?
You may not understand how logic works.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2012 [33 favorites]


Holy geez there are a lot of contrarians here. Forget you, this was awesome. OK Go's "gimmick"s are what make them worthy of a Mefi FPP

I don't think that's a complement to any real band.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:28 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yay, another advertising post on MeFi.

There is probably a difference between 'Hey everyone, check out the great new Chevy Sonic! Here's a link to the page, where you can explore all the features!' and 'Look at this crazy great music video which incidentally had corporate sponsorship.'
posted by shakespeherian at 9:35 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


i like these productions they put on, they really are quite ingenious, but they tend not to build up to anything.

like, the chevy ad starts getting repetitive after a while and ends with a not-really-dramatic-mostly-offscreen-fishtail-into-some-random-object-i could not identify upon first viewing.

maybe could have built up to something more epic for the final pass, or to go the other way, maybe they could have driven up to a little hanging triangle that the percussionist could lean out and 'ting' by hand? just something to put some punctuation at the end of the song.

or, watching their dog video, i was really really hoping that they would bring out a real live pony at the end to make it a true Dog & Pony show.

people rarely if ever accused Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry of being 'gimmick' music video directors, despite employing many similar 'tricks'. i wonder how much of that comes down to subtlety in introducing the gags, and whether or not those gags build into something a bit more [even just a little bit] meaningful at the end.

or maybe its just that presenting things on YouTube automatically flips the "gimmick" flag in people's brains, in a way that play on Mtv did not in the late 90s and early aughts.

call me old fashioned, but i think that OK Go doesn't so much need to lose the gimmicks as allow the videos to build up to something, instead of just being a sequence of 'gimmicks on parade'.

i'm not sure it would take much, and they and their creative colleagues are clearly more driven and inventive than so most, and i think capable of taking their shtick that one notch higher.
posted by striatic at 9:46 AM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think that's a complement to any real band.

I'm not sure OK Go cares what anyone considers a "real band". From the Car and Driver Article, quoting (lead singer) Damian Kulash: "The essential point is that OK Go peddles not singles or albums but audiovisual art intended to create “joy and wonder and surprise”. Mission accomplished.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:46 AM on February 7, 2012 [10 favorites]


I watched the Superbowl, but we don't get American ads. So even watching it wasn't enough.

I think this kind of misses the mark. Sure it is kind of neat, but musically it is dreadful. A couple of videos I've seen played "on" cars (doors opening and closing, engines revving, tapping on various bits of the car) have been much better "performed". I think they sacrificed too much musicality for clever here. But it pretty damn clever.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:47 AM on February 7, 2012


If even one (where I'd dare to guess more) of the 4 million views this has had was a kid who discovered that pitch can be created unconventionally and sparked some creative thinking -- I think it was worth it. Inspiration to think outside of the box is becoming harder to relate to a young audience, in my opinion.
posted by achpea at 9:49 AM on February 7, 2012


I suspect that this is synced after the fact, but if this is really how this song got made, then it's pretty cool. I'd always wished that OK Go would concentrate on making songs worth listening to rather than cool videos, but if they're going to move in the direction of performance art like this, then I wish the opposite.
posted by cmoj at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2012


If they paid for a video with their own dollars we would never see it, or talk about it, we wouldn’t see the crazy ideas produced in such a spectacular way.

Well, except their first two videos that were shot at home with their own money and choreographed by the lead singer's sister. And the marching band version of their third big Youtube single was also really low-budget and still gained a lot of attention. They can do a lot of crazy stuff on their own, and for me that's the best part of OK Go videos -- seeing what super-creative people can do with a low budget and lots of dedication. The Rube Goldberg machine was a bit of a departure because it took so much money and effort, but come on who doesn't love Rube Goldberg machines?

This video, while cool, doesn't ring my bell (har har) in the same way as other OK Go videos because of course corporate sponsorship will produce an impressive video. But it's a long way from guys dancing in their backyard, and I think it loses some of its special OK Go magic in the process.
posted by lilac girl at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I loved it, mainly because I'm always fascinated by people who make music in unconventional ways.

A few years ago we were touring Eastern State Penitentiary, and in one of the long, lonely spokes of the building a woman was setting up a similar-ish installation. She had strung long cables the length of the hall and was using them to create tonal sounds.

Is there an actual term for this kind of music, incidentally?
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Enter Chevrolet, whose new Sonic sub-compact not only takes its name from sound waves but is targeted right at OK Go’s predominantly millennial-generation audience. They aren’t hearing you if you’re not online, says Kevin Mayer, Chevy’s director of advertising and sales promotion. “They consume so much of their media in the digital space that we have to communicate with them on their terms.”

I have no problem with companies recognizing the reality of their market. Good for them. I don't mind being advertised at smartly.

Similarly, OK Go are artists. Artists try stuff. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (this wasn't my favourite for me, mostly I thought it got a little too complicated) In any case, they have found a way to pursue their creative vision. Good for them.

To hit the marks on time and effectively “play” the song, one of the band members wrote a computer program to convert musical bars into miles per hour.

I don't see any shortcuts being taken here via a sponsor footing the bill.
posted by dry white toast at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2012


Is there an actual term for this kind of music, incidentally?

The music is just pop music. The technique could possibly be called Industrial, in an Einsturzende Neuabaten kind of way, or maybe even Musique concrète.

How about Industrocommercial?
posted by swift at 10:15 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've enjoyed a lot of OK Go's videos to date, but the spectacle and the corporate sponsorships are starting to be a bit much.

YEAH EW CORPORATIONS SUCK RIGHT PEOPLE FUCK THE MAN. ALSO I'M 15 YEARS OLD
posted by windbox at 10:17 AM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guidelines for Artists

* Be successful -- but not TOO successful
* Think big -- but not TOO big
* Accept help from benefactors -- but not WEALTHY or CORPORATE benefactors
* Gain a following -- but only a SMALL following
* Basic Rule of Thumb: If what you're doing might make another artist jealous, scale it back!
posted by brain_drain at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Devolutionary Oath

* Wear gaudy colors or avoid display
* Lay a million eggs or give birth to one
* The fittest shall survive yet the unfit may live
* Be like your ancestors or be different
* We must repeat!
posted by egypturnash at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


frenetic: "OK Go really needs to go into a dark psychedelic phase now for me to like them."

The band you're looking for is Of Montreal.
posted by schmod at 11:16 AM on February 7, 2012


I just think that these guys have set themselves up for having to constantly outdo what they did last time.

Isn't that just a way of saying that most of what they do (in the way of music videos) is really great?
posted by yoink at 11:23 AM on February 7, 2012


I did feel bad for the instrument abuse though. I mean there are a LOT of dusty and scratched up pianos available for resale now.

The piano and guitar abuse had me cringing. Also, singing while driving...you look like a tool.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:27 AM on February 7, 2012


My question is how many "takes" (attempts) did it take for them to get the final version? Or is it multiples takes spliced together? Surely not a one time attempt...
posted by bmorrison at 11:40 AM on February 7, 2012


people rarely if ever accused Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry of being 'gimmick' music video directors, despite employing many similar 'tricks'. i wonder how much of that comes down to subtlety in introducing the gags, and whether or not those gags build into something a bit more [even just a little bit] meaningful at the end.

I think the very overtness of the gimmickry becomes a meta-commentary on the artificiality of gimmick-driven music videos. It's not so much that OK Go's vidoes lack meaning, but that the meaning in the other directors was artificially constructed- a gimmick itself in other words.
posted by happyroach at 1:14 PM on February 7, 2012


Nothing in the world has broadened my outlook more than (or improved my quality of life as much as) relinquishing my ambition to be cool, or to avoid being uncool, or to enjoy only things that are sufficiently cool and authentic.

It's great, because without that cluster of fashion biases, a lot of things that sound on the surface as though they're meaningful criticism are suddenly exposed as empty posturing. For example, I'm pretty sure I can safely disregard any objections to this that are based on the band being "offensively harmless", "having set themselves up for having to constantly outdo what they did last time", not being "real" in some unspecified sense, or (emptiest of all) looking "like a tool".
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


They were driving a particular brand of car you say? Pfft, typical. I missed that somehow because ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING DOES NOTHING IMPRESS YOU

Also, that singer is a pretty good driver!
posted by omnikron at 1:34 PM on February 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


obscurator -- thanks for that link to the full Sonic kickflip thing. I watched both of these during the game and had my doubts. However, I was convinced that during the slow motion version used of Dyrdek's jump that he would hit the giant skate deck and that they cut it. Not only did he actually do it for real, but he ended up on 4 wheels when it was all done (with the help of that little sideways landing ramp). That was pretty sweet.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 1:34 PM on February 7, 2012


I smiled the whole way through, would love to get to do the sorts of videos OK Go does, and know better than to buy that particular brand of car. So basically, this was all win for me.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:59 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of this Touch Wood ad.

Also the song itself was pretty good? I liked it, anyway.

It seems like OK Go has gotten famous enough to do whatever they want, with some sponsorship and the like, and what they want to do is play, and do weird shit, and make cool stuff. And, I mean, hating the man and whatever you guys are doing aside, a lot of artists just get sort of self-indulgent and/or depressing as they get enough traction to play around with whatever they want. So I'm totally good with "make a vehicle plus an environment into a gigantic badass music box" as a thing a band does because they can and because it's fun.
posted by NoraReed at 3:33 PM on February 7, 2012


Fuck these guys.
posted by bardic at 4:25 PM on February 7, 2012


No.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:39 PM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beat that, Clarkson.
posted by Dasein at 5:37 PM on February 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember seeing OKGO back when they were still opening for TMBG. It feels a bit odd that they're now hitting more eyeballs than the Johns. Is this a "getting old" thing?
posted by subbes at 7:48 PM on February 7, 2012


OK Go will play 1000 instruments with a car.

I don't know if I'd call all those bottles and jars and big blue oil drums 'instruments,' but yeah, that was entertaining. (And certainly hundreds more instruments than Clint Eastwood played in his Super Bowl car commercial.)
posted by LeLiLo at 8:35 PM on February 7, 2012


I, for one, loved the video and have had the song stuck in my head since watching the video the first time around.

Not the actual song, the 'version' from the video.

I think "End Love" is still my favorite of what they've put out so far, though.
posted by flatluigi at 12:01 AM on February 8, 2012


I don't know much about this band because I didn't like their songs in the previous videos, and didn't even watch that clever treadmill thing all the way through because the song was nothing special for me. I loved this song, however, sung simply like this in a car. Then I listened to the effects-laden studio version and felt nothing. It reminded me of how much I liked that video that blew up last year of the homeless guy playing and singing the Radiohead song on a radio show. I never got interested in any of their music before that, but stripped down to just the melody and a voice, it was beautiful. Same feeling here.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:57 AM on February 11, 2012


Yeah, OK Go's over produced pop-rock sound hasn't appealed to me for some time, but I think that have a real talent in finding some unique melodies.
posted by Think_Long at 8:29 AM on February 11, 2012


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