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The Writing's On the Wall
June 18, 2014 1:36 PM   Subscribe

Time for a new OK Go video!
posted by curious nu (64 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was great--thanks.
posted by yoink at 1:41 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I dig it. That moment at 3:28 genuinely threw me.
posted by mochapickle at 1:45 PM on June 18


As someone with no depth perception, this is very confusing to me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:47 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Man. MAN. That was incredible. And they really don't half-ass anything, do they? They could have easily done half as many effects and this still would've been great. I mean, they've got stuff crammed in every nook and cranny of that.

Also, I've snarked in the past about how OK Go is a video production company that also happens to need music for their videos, but that song was really good, too.
posted by jbickers at 1:48 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I think I would be concerned about being typecast as "the band that just makes quirky, interesting, and elaborate music videos", but I guess that's okay if you really like making quirky, interesting, and elaborate music videos. Which clearly they do.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:49 PM on June 18 [12 favorites]


Whee! What a ride. I admit to being legitimately baffled by how they could have different people on either side of the hand-held mirror and then feeling embarrassed when I realized it was the same guy with half his face clean-shaven. Yep, no, I really couldn't tell!
posted by harujion at 1:57 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I think this video skirts the fine line between neato and trying too hard. It's like they took every idea they'd had while making earlier videos and packed them into one.
posted by Catblack at 1:57 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I think I would be concerned about being typecast as "the band that just makes quirky, interesting, and elaborate music videos"

I have to admit I think of them as an art-video collective who set their videos to pleasant but unmemorable tunes. But I love their videos and I'll share this with several people.

As someone with no depth perception, this is very confusing to me.

Huh. I'd have thought that would give you an advantage rather than anything. After all, the video's taking advantage of the fact that it renders a three dimensional space as a two-dimensional image.
posted by yoink at 1:58 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


cool.

Incidentially, I'm at work so I can't listen to music, so this worked great!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:59 PM on June 18


the fine line between neato and trying too hard

Personally, one of the things I really like about their videos is their unrestrained "let's just go for it" attitude. Whatever they're going for it's not the "too cool to be caught trying" aesthetic.
posted by yoink at 2:01 PM on June 18 [16 favorites]


Cool indeed!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:01 PM on June 18


I think OK Go's main motivation to create music is solely to have something play in the background while they pursue their true passion: making music videos.
posted by bigendian at 2:14 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]


The art seems inspired by Felice Varini's "denial of perspective" technique. :)

The music seems inspired by "The Breakfast Club" soundtrack. :(
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 2:18 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


As someone with no depth perception, this is very confusing to me.

The 2-D camera doesn't have any depth perception either, so that really shouldn't matter. It's really rather the point.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:19 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Short video on how they made one of the shots.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:28 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


That was very cool, except for the part where I constantly felt like I was going to barf.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:30 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I will never understand why "trying too hard", like "too much time on their hands", is considered a bad thing.
posted by bondcliff at 2:33 PM on June 18 [17 favorites]


I think I would be concerned about being typecast as "the band that just makes quirky, interesting, and elaborate music videos", but I guess that's okay if you really like making quirky, interesting, and elaborate music videos. Which clearly they do.

I pretty much stopped watching music videos 15 (okay, maybe 20) years ago and I've seen at least 4 OK Go videos. I don't really know much about their music, but I know who they are and think that they're probably bright, artistic guys with a sense of humor. I'm obviously not their target demographic, but I think these videos are a lot of fun.

I don't know if this means "great to have wide appeal" or "hipster kiss of death."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:34 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


WHAT THE HELL. That was the coolest video I've seen in a very long time. Up there with Michel Gondry's peak. Best song I've heard from them too. I guess I can't snarkily dismiss them now.

Was that all SERIOUSLY done in one take? No fake-seamless edits or anything?
posted by naju at 2:37 PM on June 18


Was that all SERIOUSLY done in one take?

They seem pretty seriously committed to the "we do it all in the camera" thing in all their videos. It seemed entirely believable to me--although clearly very, very carefully rehearsed (and see the large support crew at the end!).
posted by yoink at 2:41 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Some really nice stuff, ruined for me by the motion stablizing. I don't know whether shooting it in 4k might have given more margin for stablizing, or whether they already thought of that.
posted by opsin at 2:43 PM on June 18


I love OK Go. So good. One of the more earnestly creative groups around.

When I saw them during the Of the Blue Colour of the Sky tour, they did this cool thing at the shows where you could buy a thumb drive (which was a domino that came apart to reveal the usb) with the studio album on it and a recording of that night's show for $10. Super clever, super classy, all awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:46 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I believe it was indeed one take.

Rolling Stone notes it took "nearly three weeks to assemble and 50 takes to get right."
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:52 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


The beginning especially reminded me of Depeche Mode's I Just Can't Get Enough song.

Their videos are always pretty, but I can't imagine watching any of them more than once.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:52 PM on June 18


Yeah, I like their videos, but their music is just "eh."
posted by Blackanvil at 3:01 PM on June 18


Loved it.
posted by cazoo at 3:02 PM on June 18


OK Go is a video production company that also happens to need music for their videos
-
Yeah, I like their videos, but their music is just "eh."
-

I feel the same way, but somehow that just makes them even more appealing somehow. I've never seen them in concert, I wouldn't put on their music to listen to, ever. But I really like these guys. We're all living in a weird Wiliiam Gibson future/present, where every artist has to be a multimedia/performance artist, because the state of media in the age of the internet demands it. And OK GO has realized it, and embraced it by assembling their team of artists to create short avant garde films for/with them every few years.
posted by DGStieber at 3:09 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Very cool. Just the other day I happened across this photo by Bela Borsodi, which is really just a single photo but creates the illusion of 4 separate photos - very similar to what they're doing in the beginning of the video with the colored square and triangle.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:11 PM on June 18


2M views in 2 days for what is basically an Echo and the Bunnymen song. Not bad.

I actually love these guys, both for their music and for how they trick people into listening to it.
posted by gwint at 3:12 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Rolling Stone notes it took "nearly three weeks to assemble and 50 takes to get right."

I think "White Knuckles" took about 3 times that. (The outtakes for the "White Knuckles" video are actually really adorable.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:20 PM on June 18


As I've said before, it must be much more fun to be in OK Go than to listen to OK Go. The videos are amazing, particularly on mute with something else playing in the background.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:32 PM on June 18


I think this video skirts the fine line between neato and trying too hard.

Anything worth trying is worth trying too hard.
posted by maxsparber at 3:33 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I was really digging it, but then I realized it was a breakup song and it brought me down a bit.

I mean the video's still brilliant as hell, don't get me wrong.
posted by Imperfect at 3:37 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I totally get that not everybody is going to like their music, but I don't really get why so many people feel compelled to noisily dislike it whenever discussion of the videos comes up. I listen to them, I think they're good driving music, although my favorites for that aren't necessarily the ones with the best videos.
posted by Sequence at 3:37 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I listen to them, I think they're good driving music, although my favorites for that aren't necessarily the ones with the best videos.

If you were going to recommend one album to try, what would it be?
posted by yoink at 3:39 PM on June 18


Fantastic, but I wish they'd give up on the fakey, distracting lip-syncing. Just stare into the camera, guys, it's okay.
posted by rifflesby at 3:44 PM on June 18


I was really digging it, but then I realized it was a breakup song and it brought me down a bit.

Well, yeah, but the song's about how he knows they're doomed as a couple but he wants it to be good for just one more night. The video supports that: There's all these images, but they're just tricks, and if you look too closely, it all falls apart.
posted by mochapickle at 4:00 PM on June 18 [15 favorites]


If you were going to recommend one album to try, what would it be?

I kind of alternate between OK Go and Oh No, but some preference for the second. I don't dislike Of the Blue Color of the Sky, but I just don't like it quite as well. I have developed a habit of starting my drive home from the gym with Invincible pretty much every time. Yes, it's silly, but it feels pretty amazing when I'm exhausted.
posted by Sequence at 4:01 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


They seem pretty seriously committed to the "we do it all in the camera" thing in all their videos. It seemed entirely believable to me--although clearly very, very carefully rehearsed (and see the large support crew at the end!).

Their Rube Goldberg video for "This Too Shall Pass" has a couple of sneaky cuts in it, I think.

I do think that they do this stuff in one take, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that they haven't put together a couple of takes if they can do it seamlessly to make the video flow or sync up better.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:09 PM on June 18


I loved it. It's nice to see someone having meticulous fun just for the hell of it.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:20 PM on June 18


It's fun. Their videos are fun. Glad they're doing it. But that's a lot of people and quite a lot of stuff, so how do they make their money? Do people really buy the music? Not that it's bad music, but I don't see it having much of a life without the video.
posted by Devonian at 4:20 PM on June 18


It is okay to like cute things.

OK Go Is a cute thing.
posted by winna at 4:33 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I think their music is not bad. It's catchy pop--it sticks in your head for an hour and then is gone forever...until the next time you hear it and then repeat. This song is probably the best of theirs that I've heard.

Personally I prefer the Rube Goldberg stuff over these more static illusions, but I have the special ability to like several things at the same time.
posted by zardoz at 4:36 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


One time, before the "treadmill video", they played a tiny club in Oklahoma City to a less-than-record turn out. Not only did they play their goddamned hearts out for about 30 people, but they abandoned their set list to perform songs from Les Miserables. It was one of the most charming things I've ever witnessed, and endeared them to me forever. I'm so glad they've been successful doing what they do.
posted by the_royal_we at 4:56 PM on June 18 [15 favorites]


ughhhh i try hard to hate them and their 2008s blogginess, but its hard when they are so damned creative and ambitious with their videos. especially in a time where there is literally absolutely no need to be.
posted by young_son at 5:40 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Is no one going to mention the similarity to New Order's Temptation?
I assume it's an homage, because otherwise it's a lawsuit.
posted by brevator at 5:52 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


My friend directed this! So proud!
posted by ghostpony at 5:55 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Yeah I can definitely hear "Temptation" in there, but that's a song I love, so I don't mind hearing it here. The similarities are so many that I'd lean toward homage rather than ripoff.
posted by good in a vacuum at 5:57 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


so how do they make their money?

It looks like they play close to 200 shows a year, and taking a quick look at some of the venues they're hitting soon, it'd wouldn't be totally out of line for them to be getting 5 to 10K+ for a lot of their shows. Plus it looks they do quite a few college shows, too, and there's this page of asking prices for various acts to play college shows which we had a Metafilter post about not long ago - it puts them in the 30 to 50K range, which in real world terms means they probably get 20 to 30K to play a college.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:25 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


This is the part where I get to brag that I was in an OKGO video, right? Because I totally was in the Wallpaper version of "Do What You Want." I played the part of Segway Rider #2.
posted by hellphish at 6:40 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


ughhhh i try hard to hate them and their 2008s blogginess

If hate doesn't come easily then there's really no reason for it. It's ok not to hate things.
posted by bondcliff at 6:41 PM on June 18 [7 favorites]


I saw these guys play at a very small venue in a medium size town and they really did work hard to put on a good show. It was an excellent time, and I loved the thumb drive bit--what a treat to drive to work the next morning while re-living the show I'd just seen!

I'd been kinda wondering how they could possibly top their last big video. This was lots of fun, and I like the tune! Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:09 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I saw OK Go at Maker Faire a few years ago. The guitarists played with their heads in fishbowls full of water and the lead singer immersed himself in a person-shaped tank. I was suitably impressed by their dedication to bringing the crazy cool music video tricks into a live performance.
posted by fermion at 11:49 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


so how do they make their money?

There was also an article written by one of them a while back taking about how they made money from getting companies to sponsor their music videos. I remember GEICO sponsored one, don't remember who else. I was surprised this one wasn't sponsored.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 1:38 AM on June 19


This, like all their videos, is impressive and huge fun, and is so packed with clever, easily-missed detail it bears many re-watchings. I think their music is perfectly fine in a "light but catchy pop" way, and it seems to be just the right sort of thing for these videos.

In short: cool.
posted by Decani at 3:06 AM on June 19


I know this sounds wrong but I'd love them to make a One Direction video
posted by DanCall at 3:21 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see them collaborate with the Cirque Du Soleil people.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:28 AM on June 19


They played the Big Concert at my undergrad my freshman year of college, right after Here it Goes was the greatest thing on the internet. Rumors went around that they had asked the rec center for four treadmills, and everyone was really excited. Sadly, that was a giant lie, but it was still a really fu-n show. And the best part is that Reel Big Fish also played at the same concert, so the t-shirt for the show was the fish from One Fish, Two Fish dancing on treadmills.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:51 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


I remember GEICO sponsored one

State Farm, actually.

Damian Kulash's Dec. 2010 WSJ piece on making a living as a musician these days.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:43 AM on June 19


re: art collective vs music group: maybe? They're doing pre-order/sorta-kickstarter for their next album, and one of the rewards is some google hangout critiques/discussions on an art project you're doing.
posted by curious nu at 11:50 AM on June 19


Reddit AMA (still in progress, I think)
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:14 PM on June 19


From the Reddit AMA, an answer to the question that seems to crop up most in this thread:
Do you worry that your amazing video work could overshadow your audio work?

[–]Damian Kulash[S] 26 points 32 minutes ago

No. We get this question all the time. But think of it this way. I am a chef. You are in my restaurant. And you are asking me if I am worried by the fact that we are known for our incredible desserts. I am very, very pleased that we have such good desserts, and that they are known around the world for being delicious and singular and unique and unlike anyone else's desserts. As it turns out, I also make very good main courses. Many people also come and enjoy them. If millions come in for the desserts, and hundreds of thousands also find they like the main course, awesome. There are no bad customers in this restaurant.

See, the question you're asking basically masks a way of thinking about creativity (or, more accurately, people's creative careers) that seems... stuck in another century, I guess. That's the idea that creativity and creative people are supposed to stay in particular boxes that were defined by the way our products used to be distributed. It used to be that music and film and video games and journalism were actually very different physical objects with industries built around selling and distributing them. Now all of us make ones and zeros. I spend my time chasing my creative ideas. My process generally starts with writing songs, but it leads to a lot of other fun places. I feel bad for musicians who get trapped in the box of "music" as it was imagined 30 years ago. Some people like it in that box, but a lot don't. A lot of people wish they got to chase all of their creative ideas, not just the ones that involve their guitar. I am that lucky guy who is not trapped in that particular box.
posted by yoink at 2:22 PM on June 19 [8 favorites]


Also from the AMA, co-director Bob Partington on how many takes were required:
We got a full take around take 30 but we weren't completely happy until 61, which was at around 4 a.m.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:13 PM on June 19


Their videos are always pretty, but I can't imagine watching any of them more than once.
Yeah, I like their videos, but their music is just 'eh.'
  1. Watches "A Million Ways" and "Here It Goes Again" for the umpteenth time--twice!--just to spite you.*
  2. Unreservedly loves the songs.
  3. Unreservedly loves the videos.
  4. Goes to bed happy.
* I know that makes me a bad person but I can live with the shame.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:52 PM on June 19 [4 favorites]


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