Thursday, February 9, 2012

From Dancing on Treadmills to Driving Musical Chevys, OK Go Makes Music Videos Worth Watching

Perhaps you're one of the over 10 million viewers who have seen alternative rock band OK Go's latest music video since its release on February 5th. if not, please watch the following video before continuing:

Before elaborating on this video, some background info:

Since originating in Chicago in 1998, OK Go has released three acclaimed albums along with a slew of incredibly unique music videos. These videos account for much of OK Go's success, as evidenced by the 151,649,453 views their videos have collectively received through Youtube. 

OK Go's first video was created for their single "A Million Ways" in 2005. It featured the four band members (Damian Kulash, Dan Konopka, Tim Nordwind, and Andy Ross) performing a choreographed dance in Kulash's backyard. It would become the most downloaded music video ever by August of the next year. Their next video for "Here It Goes Again" brought them a Grammy award in 2006 for best short-form music video, taking choreography to an entirely new level with the introduction of treadmills on which the bandmates swing, dance, and glide. 

Each of their subsequent videos show OK Go surprising expectations of what original means of presenting music the band might possibly think of next. They released two different videos for their song "This Too Shall Pass," enlisting the Notre Dame University marching band for the first and creating a Rube Goldberg Machine in the second. The machine video was done in one continuous take, and makes the contraption's crashing and clanging all a part of the music. 

The video for "White Knuckles" was also shot in one take, and features dogs performing a wide repertoire of tricks to various musical cues. Salon magazine's Matt Zoller Seitz claims that these single-take videos "restore a sense of wonder to the musical number by letting the performers' humanity shine through." The band's video for "Last Leaf" employs the animation art of Geoff Mcfetridge and the talents of MIT students to project images onto hundreds of individual pieces of toast. OK Go's most recent video for "Needing/Getting", featured at the beginning of this post, required four months of preparation, four days of filming, stunt driving lessons, a number of specially-modified cars, and over a thousand instruments. A number of apparatus were fixed to the car to make it a music-making machine, which can be viewed in the image below. The image also features a map of the route along which the car had to be maneuvered. 

The intricacy required in the making of this video is just one more example of OK Go's commitment to creating transfixing and awe-inspiring music video experiences for their audience. The band also has released many behind-the-scenes videos, where the intricacy of their creative process is even more apparent.  

OK Go has consistently produced videos that are elaborate and innovative, and that can be considered works of audiovisual performance art. OK Go executes their videos with an acute level of precision and finesse, which is especially impressive considering the staggering variety of what all is included in the videos. OK Go refuses to be limited to one method of expression, continually taking risks and imagining new possibilities for their art. "What we want to do with our videos is have a short burst of feeling; to give you a cool little world to live in for three minutes," said lead singer Kulash in a Q&A with SPIN magazine. In a separate interview with Car and Driver magazine, he said, "I like the idea of doing videos that are live recordings. It helps break down the idea that these are all distinct forms of art."

Check out more of OK Go's music and videos on their Youtube page:

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit, I'm really amazed at the ingenuity of Ok-Go, if not the studi artists that come up with these ideas for their music videos. They have always been engaging and interactive, but this is the first music video I've ever seen where the artists play the song with a varity of objects and not themselves.

    You have to wonder if this is what the music industry has come to though. Obviously, the music quality isn't as good - probably because they're not playing their normal instruments. But yet, it's very popular. It's not about the music anymore as much as it is about the video and the virality of the content.

    Regardless, I really enjoy Ok-Go's music and their videos and I hope to see more of them in the future.


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