STORY BY ANNELISE TARNOWSKI
OK Go was the first band to create a viral music video back in 2009, with their famous treadmill video for “Here It Goes Again.” Since then, their music videos have yielded between 2 million to 45 million views on YouTube. Whenever rumors appear that another video is in the works, fans know that they won’t disappoint.
I have two personal favorite OK Go videos. The first is the video for the song “This Too Shall Pass.” It takes on a Rube Goldberg Machine style, similar to dominoes. Each piece turns or hits another so that it hits another, and so on. This one was shot in one take and includes a few TVs, a car, colored flags and a couple hundred ping-pong balls.
Another notable video comes from a song from their most recent album, dropped last Tuesday. The song is called “The Writing’s On the Wall.” Again, it’s all in one take. It happens in a giant warehouse with a bunch of optical illusions and color blocks that are made up of objects in multiple dimensions of the space.
What’s cool about this one, though, is that the band members take control of the camera as the video goes on, rather than allowing a machine or a videographer to control it. Even cooler: At the end of both of these videos, they show the crew that helped create the masterpiece.
On to the new album: It’s called “Hungry Ghosts.” Compared to the last few albums, it’s a lot more electronic, as is evidenced by the first few seconds of the first track, “Upside Down & Inside Out” (and, of course, that continues as the album unfolds).
It’s no wonder that the band has time for such cool videos.They have short tours, and they only put out an album every four or so years. They’ve been a band for 16 years and this is only their fourth album. “Hungry Ghosts” is the first of their four albums that was released on their own label, Paracadute.
This album, being just as creatively focused as the others was crowd-funded through PledgeMusic.
This album has gotten some flack from fans that say that the group didn’t put nearly as much innovation into the tracks as they did for their videos.
Personally, as an occasional OK Go fan, I liked it. The ‘80s-synth sounds, the electronic warbling and of course the one of many videos makes me still appreciate the effort.
There are a few tracks, though, namely “Turn Up the Radio” and “The One Moment,” that seem to be made-for-commercials tracks.
They rely almost completely on simple and short verses, knowing that the catchy chorus can carry the track.
All in all, a totally listenable album, and I anticipate even more amazing videos to come.
Wanna see OK Go live? They’re coming to St. Paul, Minnesota in November. They’ll be on the comedy radio show called “Wits,” but you can see it all happen in-person if you buy tickets through the Fitzgerald Theatre. You can hear the whole show the following week on mpr.org.
P.S. Another honorable mention for one of the best videos was their Tiny Desk Concert moving from the original NPR headquarters to their new location in 223 takes.
Want to hear more? Click here for a Spotify playlist.