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William Rexer

OK Go and the Real Writing on the Wall for Music Video

“We don’t view [music videos] as promotional materials for the ‘real’ thing, the song. To us the song is the real thing when you’re listening to the song and the music video is the real thing when you’re watching the music video.” - Damien Kulash, OK Go [source]

I moderated a panel the other week at the New Music Seminar where a big part of the discussion was about how in an era where people are consuming music via devices with screens attached — computers, mobile devices, TVs — there needs to be a visual for every song. And ideally that visual should be a video, and it should be compelling. It should either reinforce the meaning and appeal of the song, and it should inspire you to stay tuned, rewatch and share it with others. That's a lot to accomplish, especially if you're deaing with the typical budget and timeline of a music video production.

OK Go have certain luxuries and attributes that should make other bands envious — none more so than a relentless commitment to creativity — but it's still awe-inspiring that "The Writing's On The Wall" checks off every need from my usual video wishlist. It's the kind of video that you can appreciate without knowing anything on the "how'd they do that" tip, but becomes all the more impressive the more you see the moving parts behind it all (some of which are provided in this Making Of)...

The writing is indeed on the wall. You need a video for every song. Nielsen may proudly boast that radio is still the primary means by which people "discover" music, but even they also note that the #1 source for teens is YouTube. And just watch those numbers continue to flip over the next few years... If your potential fans are initially experiencing your music through a visual platform, then shouldn't the visual be prioritized?

The New OK Go Video Will Break The Internet and Your Brain

OK, go watch this video right now. Don't read my nonsense. Just watch it, because OK Go have made all their previous videos look like mere sketches compared to this utter brainteaser. "The Writings On The Wall" us filled enough illusions and perspective gags to carry many music videos, let alone just one masterpiece like this.

And yes, of course it was done in one-take.