Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Musical Production

As I'm sure many of you have seen, or at least heard about, the band OK Go has yet again released a stunning music video to the world through YouTube. The band, best known for these video spectacles and relatively catchy singles, has truly worked to redefine what music videos can be, and also what viral videos can be. While I believe most lyricism and music writing to be a creative endeavor in and of itself, combining these two things to make a song and then go above and beyond to bring it to life in a completely new way made this band and this video catch my eye. As lead singer Damian Kulash states in the making of video (below), "This project is unique in that the visuals actually are going to be the sounds." A relatively simple sentence, but its consequences result in a ton of creative work on behalf of the video.!
(can't get this to load in the post, sorry guys).

It's newest release, entitled "Needing/Getting," is creative on a variety of levels the band has never reached before now. A typical music video - even one's made by OK Go in the past - usually features the band or artist doing a variety of things, such as dancing, dancing on treadmills, exploring some foreign land, etc. You get the gist. What's really amazing and creative about both the song "Needing/Getting" and the video is that they are dependent on one another. The video is highly entertaining as you follow the band in its Chevy across the desert while it basically enacts a highly musical Rube Goldberg machine, but it's still music. Literally, it's a music video perhaps in the purest sense.  While the idea of a music video and the idea of the Rube Goldberg machine are clearly not new entities, the creativity put forth to imagine this idea and then actually go about enacting it on such a grand scale is seriously cool.

This is not just a Rube Goldberg machine for the fun of it; the band uses everything at its disposal to create music in real-time to drive (pardon the pun) its song. Think about that for a second: the band members are in a car, using its engine, doors, various percussive aspects, hundreds of perfectly lined-up guitars, sounds of tires on the sand and hundreds of other devices to empower its music. While synchronized treadmill choreography is absolutely impressive, the sheer magnitude of this conception is a spectacle to behold.

Check it out:

The band members spent weeks rummaging through warehouses working to find suitable instruments and other objects that could be whacked with a Chevy car to produce music. While physics of instrumentation may not sound exciting to most, the band and helpers from Chevrolet clearly put a surmountable effort of thought and uncanny creativity into making this happen.

For instance, it is one thing for the band to get its creative juices flowing to conceptualize a Rube Goldberg music video. It's another thing to say, let's have the car makes chimes. But the band and the production team also had to imagine exactly how to enact this crazy convention. For example, the first 30 seconds of the video are very telling of the insane amount of detail that went into creating the video. The chime sounds had to come from somewhere -  so it was determined that the car would drive over boards with nails attached at precise increments to 'ding' the various chimes.

One last thing that I think really ties the entire creative process together. The lyrics actually seem to make some sense in context of the musical production. The lyrics outline someone who has been waiting on presumably a significant other to change. "Waiting" being a key word in the song. But now, the singer is done waiting, ready to move on. And the video explores that theme, albeit in a quirky way. The band is not waiting around, "wasting [its] time" despite being in the middle of the desert - it's acting. Though the band may not have intended such an interpretation, it nonetheless works quite easily to tie musical lyricism, musicality, story-telling and video production elements all into one.

I hope that bands such as OK Go continue to conceptualize novel ways of producing music videos. Though the band may not be critically revered for its indie-style music, its uniqueness and superb execution (two traits found in all of our eminent creatives) give something to the music and music video community that at least as of 2/9/12 (four days after initial publication), 10 million some-odd YouTube fans have enjoyed.

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