Spectacular visuals, but would I listen to it twice?

This is an amazing video, but I think the music was kind of an afterthought to the visual gimmick.

I’m also wondering how much they had to rehearse, and whether any of them suffered from motion sickness.


  1. says

    I think there’s a few subtle jump cuts or fast-forwards in the video, when the aircraft is on the upwards part of its trajectory. As I recall, the NASA planes only manage about 30 seconds of freefall, if that, at a time. But that bit of video magic makes the whole thing that much more impressive, I think, because other than that it looks like they managed it all in one continuous take.

    And, PZ, you philistine, it was a dance. How would it have even worked without music?

  2. Rich Woods says

    Hmm. At one point all the balls were on the floor and looked like they were being pushed back against the seats and the foot rails, yet there was a man floating above them. Not sure how that could work.

  3. unclefrogy says

    well I’ll say one thing that was not cheaply done.I would guess that after that much time in the needed rehearsal even I would be over the inevitable motion sickness and would have found my “space legs”
    uncle frogy

  4. mirrorfield says

    Not bad. As said, the song is not impressive, but the microgravity aerobatics are not that bad. Of course, they’re something of a new idea for a music video, but nevertheless.

    As for the motion sickness… Well, there’s reason they call it “Vomit Comet”.

  5. says

    OkGo are well known for their very, very elaborate videoclips. They rose to fame though a viral video where they danced on four treadmills and their choreography only increased in complexity since.

  6. says

    As an OK GO fan, I will toss in my $.02 here. =)

    This was probably shot at half or 3/4 speed (that’s what they did with a previous video, and you can see some sped-up movements throughout) and so they probably timed to go with the “waves” of the flight required to generate the microgravity). They are known for single-camera, one-take videos so I would be really surprised if they didn’t shoot in one take.

  7. Bill Buckner says

    Even 1 second of zero-G on an amusement park ride makes me want to puke. I never could have been an astronaut.

  8. whywhywhy says

    rq @9

    Pretty much all their videos are gimmicks

    When does a gimmick become art? I am fan of both the music and videos and definitely see much of what they do as being just having fun/gimmick rather than high art. However, it does the raise the question of what is ‘art’?
    On the visual side: When Leonardo was painting the Mona Lisa, was the smile just a gimmick and over time became art? Or was it always ART?
    On the musical side: Other than Mozart’s requiem, is all other music mostly a gimmick?

  9. rq says

    I’m not knocking gimmicks, I enjoy them… and if you can make a gimmicky music video for your own music, why not?? I actually have great respect for Ok Go’s creativity and the ideas they come up with and then actually execute. I love their style and the way they do it with colour and panache. So… I suppose sorry if it sounded like I was being a downer? I was trying to say just the opposite. (Does gimmick really have that much of a negative connotation?)
    Also, I would say Mozart’s Requiem is also a gimmick, if you look at it the right way. Seriously, who needs funeral music that grandiose? But even I have to admit it’s a pretty good piece (not a Mozart fan).
    To answer your question, when does a gimmick become art? No idea! But if I can enjoy it, I’ll enjoy it, high-art or gimmick.

  10. marcoli says

    I could not listen to the whole thing at once. What was that crappy music? I don’t even remember because I was distracted by the visuals.
    I heard the director of the next Star Warz movie wants to film some of it at 0 G. Not computer generated, but for reelz.

  11. numerobis says

    “Gimmick” has the connotation of “cheap trick” so yes, definitely negative.

    OK Go is definitely making art, and art of the best kind: surprising, thought-provoking (how? why?) and open (there’s always a making-of).

    I appreciated but did not enjoy the car-and-piano-smashing one. My favorite remains the toast one, and second-favorite is the drone-and-scooter-and-umbrella one.

  12. whywhywhy says

    rq @17

    No idea! But if I can enjoy it, I’ll enjoy it, high-art or gimmick.

    I completely agree with your answer.
    Your point regarding the Requiem depends on who the music is for. Is a funeral for the living or the dead? I tend to think it is for the living since I don’t expect to enjoy my own funeral, or at the very least I don’t expect to be cognizant of its existence : )

  13. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    Yeah, as said above a few times, they really put a lot of effort into their videos and it’s worth browsing their library. They have a Rube Goldberg video, a stop-motion video, a video animated on laser-etched toast (they used expired bread).

    I agree with rq that Needing/getting is one of the best; they played the whole song by driving through a specially designed track.

    I haven’t listened to this new one yet but I generally like their music as well (the video version of needing/getting is way better than the album version).

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    ibbica @ # 11: … 58 pukes …

    Almost 10 per dancer, then.

    Cleaning up after the piñatas & gelatin balloons was the easy part.

  15. Nomad says

    I’ve said it before. Somewhere in a parallel universe, a band named Ok Go is known for releasing creative, aurally hypnotic but gimmicky music and promoting it with mundane, borderline unwatchable videos.

  16. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Love them and love their music. Those folks can write a hook, one that will stick in my brain for days. I also often like their lyrics. In this song the lines:

    When you met the new you
    Were you scared
    Were you cold
    Were you kind?

    When you met the new you
    Did someone die inside?

    Really resonated with me.

    And I’ll go further and say that this version of This Too Shall Pass is a damn fine bit of composition and arranging. As someone who’s struggled with serious depression I fucking hate people telling me to “Let it go now, this too shall pass.” and the like. I want to scream at them that that’s what depression is: I CAN’T let it go.

    But this video, with the way the music swells and grows denser, with the way the vocal chorus starts to overlap and is taken up by children’s voices, it grabs me by the emotions and drags me with it. For the duration of the song I believe that I *can* let it go, and that not inconsiderable achievement is a testament to the power of Okay Go’s music. The visuals have nothing to do with it.

  17. chrislawson says

    Like FossilFishy, I am going to stick up for OK Go’s music. They’re moderately experimental so not everything they do works, but I’d rather listen to a band that tries new things and occasionally misses the mark than one that does the same thing over and over. (Much the same reason I love Ween and Frank Black.) Their videos are also great, but I have quite a lot of their singles in my regular audio playlist. Not that particular song (although it doesn’t grate on me), but I adore “Needing/Getting”, “This Too Shall Pass”, “I Won’t Let You Down”, and “Get Over It”, and even if you don’t really like their music, I strongly recommend you check out their Muppet Show intro.

  18. andyo says

    I have no problem with their music, but does anyone know why the sound is always terrible in their videos? It’s turned up so much it’s distorted, no dynamics, as if they recorded the audio out of speakers blasting at the same time they recorded the video. It must be something to do with the way they shoot their videos, I’m thinking.

  19. HappyNat says

    FossilFishy @28

    Thanks for posting the marching band version of This Too Shall Pass. Love compilation with the band. My kids and I watched it over and over figuring who did what. My favorite line:

    “Cause if your mind don’t move and your knees don’t bend
    Don’t go blaming the kids again.”

  20. Ichthyic says

    I think the music was kind of an afterthought to the visual gimmick.

    …also apparently the source of a DMCA takedown claim, considering the video link is no longer available because of that.

  21. Ichthyic says

    “OK Go – Upside D…” This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by BMG_Rights_Management. “

  22. andyo says

    I think the Youtube video above might have been posted by a third party, I saw it first on Facebook (linked amusingly by Buzz Aldrin), and apparently they only posted it there. If you search for it on Youtube the OK Go official channel has one music-only version, and people are complaining why they only posted it on FB.

  23. direlobo says

    I read that they recorded the video in 1 continuous take of 45 minutes and then edited it down. During that 45 minutes the plane had to drop altitude to generate the zero-G simulation, and then climb for 5 minutes so they could do it again, they did that like 10 times – someone else told me that there was quite a bit of vomiting going on in between “takes”. I seem to recall he said “45 barf events” – since there were 6 people in the video (possibly some camera men also) we could divide 45 by 7 and conclude that each of them barfed about 6 or 7 times! Wow. That plane must have stank to hell by the end of the shoot!

  24. ianrennie says

    my general opinion of all OK Go videos is the same. Visually clever, conceptually tedious, no real substance.