OK Go is back from their (approximate) 3 year hiatus and boy am I excited. I had the great fortune to see them when their tour took them through the Atlanta area, twice. They put on such a memorable show that to this day has still not been top’ed for me. Not even by my long time band crush the highly esteemed Weezer. If you find yourself asking “who even is this kid talking about?” buckle up and prepare for a crash course in appreciation for one of Indie Pops biggest and most malleable outfits, OK Go.
OK Go has been around since the early two thousands. Their sound however was very different; more akin to pop punk than their later (better established) Experimental Pop sound. Very different from what they are now, but still maintaining that little special spark that helped them stand out. One such track from their first album comes to mind titled “Get over it“. This song can be summarized very simply as hating on a particularly whiny entitled girl without empathy. Get over it bitch. The Bridge gets me every time.
“Got a job, got a life got a four door and a faithless wife, got those nice copper pipes got an Ex got a room for the night, aren’t you such a catch what a prize got a body like a battleaxe, love that perfect frown honest eyes oughta buy you a cadillac”
Angsty high school me thought that verse was so potent. Still to this day I belt that song out whenever it comes on.
Because it was the early 2000’s it was practically law that you released an unnecessary amount of music videos in cookie cutter fashion. When Ok Go released their second album they addressed this directly. With their hit song “Here It Goes Again” which they released alongside it’s breakthrough music video. If you were able to access Youtube in it’s early years this video probably looks very familiar.
Today this video has accumulated over thirty five million views. Naturally growing their fan base by thousands upon release. This video aside the second album had a hand full of other catchy tracks including but not limited to “A Million Ways“, “Oh Lately I’ts So Quiet” and “Invincible”.
(Million ways also had a music video though much sillier less influential check the link if you are interested)
Their third Album “Of the Blue Color of the Sky” is where you begin to see their current experimental pop sound take over. With airy spaced out vocals and lots of sound editing to give the music certain effects that couldn’t be achieved any other way previously. With Experimental sound comes experimental videos giving us my all time favorite song and video “Needing Getting”
The Lead singer Damian Kulash learned to drift and drive a stunt car, and they paid a team of experts to help create a course in order to replicate their music with a FREAKING CAR!!! That is just the coolest thing to me. The Lyrics sting deep relating Damian’s break up with his wife at the time. This theme resonates throughout the entire album in tracks such as “I Want You so Bad I Can’t Breathe” (talk about blunt), “This Too Shall Pass” and “Last Leaf”. When performed Live “Last Leaf” actually sent chills down my spine especially when you take into account that Damian actually walked out into the center of the crowd with his acoustic guitar and just started playing one of his tenderest songs among-st his fans. There are very few tracks on this particular album that I did not like. Everyone of them speaks to you on an intimate level that I had never experienced before. The man was hurt deeply and he turned all that pent up emotion and made some truly inspiring music.
(again their are some links, one of them they perform their song with a marching band)
When OK Go visited Atlanta I got to hear some of their pre-release singles from their (at the time) upcoming album “Hungry Ghosts”. I will never forget that first show at Terminal West. During the show they put on a phenomenal performance dancing and just taking up as much space as possible. They started the show with a really cool effect where they drape a sheet over the front of the stage, and video project the band members distorted faces singing to their first song as they play it. Then the sheet drops and lights go off and confetti and utter chaos ensues. After the show I got to meet Damian (the lead singer), Tom (the bearded Bassist) and Dan (the wild bald drummer). Sadly Andy (the back up guitarist and keyboardist) was no where to be found Dan later told us that he had a bad case of diarrhea. That aside everyone we could meet signed my record sleeve for “Of the Blue Color of the Sky”.
This brings us to their most recent album “Hungry Ghosts” which takes their light dabbling of techno in their previous album and amplifies it by 100. The album starts with a rapid build into the very percussive “Upside Down and Inside Out” which had a viral music video earlier last year involving OK Go Filming in zero gravity.
They did it all in one take training weeks in advance to prepare themselves for the ultimate music video. The album carries on the same heavy post edit influence throughout only really calming down for about two songs “The One Moment” and “Lullaby” (we don’t talk about “If I Had a Mountain”). “The Writings on the Wall” and “I Won’t Let You Down” are probably my two favorite tracks. The Former very smooth and Heartfelt; the music video being all about perspective. While the Ladder is very poppy and in your face preaching about loyalty utilizing a lot of drone and sped up footage to create some incredible visuals.
What I hope you take away from this is that OK Go Is a multi talented group who is constantly setting the standard for music videos and crowd pleasing shows. If you find yourself at one of their concerts this next year make sure to get a signature from Andy for me.