Music Monday: Two OK Go Videos

January 11, 2016

OK go notoriously does crazy videos with long takes, elaborate choreography, and complex props (consider the famous treadmill video, which is probably still their best). Sometimes this works really well and sometimes not. Here’s a not and got!

Got: “This Too Shall Pass”. Who doesn’t love Rube Goldberg machines!

This video is really amazing. Not only is the machine super-duper fun (the mousetrap flags alone!) but it largely goes with the song. Now, of course, any video has to have some correspondence and synching to the song, but this machine practically dances. (Check out the rolling balls at 0:25.)

Compare with the pedestrian marching band video:

Boring!

Not: We have a recent video of similar ambition to the Rube Goldberg machine one, “The Writing’s On The Wall”:

This is super clever. The illusions are truly amazing. And maybe if I go through the supporting site enough times, I’ll finally be able to see and grasp everything while just watching the video. But let me tell you, the first several views were mostly bewilderment and nausea. Part of the problem is that the flow just wasn’t there: I didn’t understand why I was leaping from one illusion to another. (The Rube Goldberg machine had no such problem of course because everything was causally linked. Sometimes it was a little hard to see the trigger, but I new it was there. The weakest parts of “This Too Shall Pass”‘s video were when the camera person got a bit lost and was swinging us around.)

Perhaps with enough viewings, I’ll finally see a marriage of image and lyric that will make it all worth while. But I sort of doubt it! I’ll watch it a bunch more times because I think the illusions are interesting and I was super frustrated at not seeing them the first 3 times. I’m not sure this adds up to a good video though, even as conceptual art.

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