OK Go is an American band arguably known more for its music videos than its music, and the group’s latest effort on the video clip front will do nothing to change that.
The single Upside Down And Inside Out inspired the guys to physically act out the tune’s title by taking parabolic flights to produce weightlessness. Visually, it’s pretty amazing. Watch it here.
There are times when the band members don’t look entirely comfortable, but that’s understandable when you realise what’s involved in parabolic flight — essentially climbing steeply before diving towards the earth at breakneck speeds. When astronauts trained in this way, they nicknamed the plane the Vomit Comet.
OK Go has been spending the past week on YouTube teasing the clip, but chose to debut it in full on Facebook, for whatever reasons. With a little more than 1 million views per hour roughly since it was posted (10.2 million at time of writing), that seems to have been a sound decision.
But the question remains: is OK Go a music band, or is it a music-video band? It doesn’t really matter, and it’s become a huge success by, in my view, being the latter. But why have no other artists followed its example?
Maybe it’s because they want people to remember them for their music, and not their videos.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the music video was the chief way artists sold their songs. Michael Jackson’s clip for Thriller was a watershed moment, and that spawned a plethora of other elaborately choreographed clips from his own siblings, and Paula Abdul made her career by conceptualising most of them. Peter Gabriel’s video for Sledgehammer was similarly critically acclaimed, but more recently, such creativity in the music video space is harder to find.
Beyonce’s latest Formation clip has been equally praised and criticised for its political rhetoric, but as a complex piece of visual art, it hardly compares to what OK Go has been capable of over the years. And she’s of course not the first to bring politics into her videos.
The question any band creating a video clip has to ask itself, you’d have to assume, is what am I making this for? Is it to sell the record, or is it to rack up views and rake in advertising revenue? Is it to promote my band so people come and see us play live? Or, is it just for fun?