OK Go released their latest video on Facebook last week, and have once again proven themselves to be the Kings of the 21st Century music-video. In light of this, and the fact that it’s been a decade since they released the clip that put their names on the map, it only seems right to write a top 10 list for their videos.
I’ve decided to exclude the segment they did for Sesame Street, since I’m not entirely sure that qualifies as a music video.
No.10 – Last Leaf (2010)
A pseudo-psychedelic animation by Geoff McFetridge, there’s a surprising beauty to this video, despite not being as complex as some of the groups other clips. Created using 2,430 pieces of laser-etched toast, the scale of the project remains an impressive feat. And yet, it’s the subtlety and sweetness of film, much like the accompanying song, which makes it work.
No.9 – WTF? (2009)
This clip uses a devilishly simple trick to combine green-screen with a repeating overlay that has a one-frame difference. The result is an effect which effectively blurs the line between the background and the foreground. And, as with most of their videos, it’s made even more amazing when we see they used nothing but everyday objects for their props.
No.8 – End Love (2010)
Whilst most of their videos are challenging based on the number of takes they do, the length of this take brought a new challenge. Bringing time-lapse to a new level, this was filmed in Echo Park Lake, LA, over an 18 hour period. Jumping between cuts 270x faster, and 36x slower than real life, this video is the best of both the fast and the slow in the videography.
No.7 – Needing/Getting (2012)
Ever wanted to see a cross between NASCAR and Stomp? Well, this is the closest you’re going to get. Their only video made entirely with live music, the group use the Chevy Sonic as a giant drumstick, driving past the assortment of instruments and junk-instruments to play their song. The piano section may be a little out of tune, but I’d be damned if you could do better.
No.6 – White Knuckles (2010)
Choreographing humans is hard enough. Choreographing dogs is another matter. An idea that was conceived back in 2006, it would be another 3 years before it was used for this song, given its funky sound and animalistic lyrics. Throwing stacking-cups, swivel chairs and chair-tipping into the mix, you have a video which the band like to call “absurd but awesome”.
No.5 – Upside Down and Inside Out (2016)
Their newest video is already one of their greatest! Shot in 27 consecutive flights, the group and two air-hostesses dance and bounce as they float around the aircraft in zero-gravity, with the best moment arriving at the end as they all popped paint-balloons. I guess they mean it literally when they sing “gravity’s just a habit that you’re really sure you can’t break”.
No.4 – I Won’t Let You Down (2014)
Japanese school girls, drones, umbrellas and Honda UNI-CUB’s may not sound like the best match for a music video, but boy do they do together well in this one! Shot at double-speed, what’s really impressive in this video is the final few minutes, when we get to see just how blooming big this production is. Honestly, you’ll just have to see it to believe it.
No.3 – The Writing’s on the Wall (2014)
You’re never quite sure what you’re really looking at with this video, as the key to this clip is that it’s chockablock with optical illusions. Playing around with perspectives, angles, and reflections, it’s just a non-stop collection of moments that make you say “wait, which bit of this is real?” And, like the best of their videos, it just gets bigger and bigger as it goes along.
No.2 – Here It Goes Again (2006)
This was the video that put OK Go in the map! Choreographed by Trish Sie, one of the band-members sisters, this video has an elaborate routine on 8 constantly moving treadmills. This was one of the earliest YouTube phenomenons, ranking a whopping 50million views before it was pulled from the web. It took 17 attempts to make, but it was well worth it.
All Is Not Lost (ft. Pilobolus) (2011)
Not only is it fun to watch the group become a human kaleidoscope, but this video is also a staple in the growing trend of interactive music videos.
Do What You Want (2007)
With everyone dressed in the same wall-paper that was used for the groups album cover, this video put a twist on designers’ perception of brand continuity.
Muppet Show Theme Song (2011)
Colourful, chaotic, and undoubtably funny, the OK Go-Muppet combo is one that worked in favour if to both brands, even when the Muppets parodied the groups previous videos.
I’m Not Through (2013)
Much like ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’, this video works by making you wonder what’s really on screen, alongside adding a spin to green-screen effects.
A more poetic video from their catalogue, it’s the simplicity of this concept, and the well-choreographed tango routine, which makes this clip memorable.
It may not have the “how’d they do that?!” quality that their other videos do, but it’s still a flashy and explosive ride from the groups earlier days.
No.1 – This Too Shall Pass (2010)
The good ol’ Rube Goldberg machine wins again! OK Go’s iconic use of every-day objects turned into props is put to the max with this colourful, two-story contraption. Diving between the big and small, the fast and slow, and the complex and simple, all perfectly in time with the song in question, it’s about as good as a Rube Goldberg machine will ever get, as well as the proof that OK Go are going to make iconic videos for many years to come.
Do you agree with my list? Which do you think is the best video from OK Go? If you think these should be an a different order, let me know in the comments below.