OK Go Continues to Rule the Music Video Game, This Time With Optical Illusions

Slate's Culture Blog
June 17 2014 1:36 PM

OK Go Continues to Rule the Music Video Game, This Time With Optical Illusions

OK Go can do no wrong when it comes to music videos.


OK Go may be better known for their elaborate music videos than for the music that plays behind them. Their Grammy-winning video for the 2006 single “Here It Goes Again,” an impressive dance routine performed on moving treadmills, catapulted them onto the Billboard Hot 100 for the first (and only) time. They continued to best themselves with each new video, employing canine actors in 2009’s “White Knuckles,” constructing a massive Rube Goldberg machine for 2010’s “This Too Shall Pass,” and playing roadside instruments from inside a moving car in 2012’s “Needing/Getting.”

For “The Writing’s on the Wall,” the new single off their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts, the band pays homage to the optical illusion. With tricked-out mirror rooms, upside-down bicycles, and people literally emerging from the woodwork, it’s a feat Dalí himself could be proud of. The illusions, which took three weeks and 50 takes to get it right, represent the miscommunication that can doom a relationship: “I understand you but I don’t,” reads the writing on the video’s (literal) wall.


Frontman Damian Kulash, who co-directed the video, acknowledges that focusing on videos is a double-edged sword. “When the treadmill video broke we suddenly were a much bigger band than we were the month before,” he told Rolling Stone. “But we also knew that now people were gonna see us as a kind of a one-hit stunt band.” Happily, though, they embraced the stunt factor, and continue to give us videos like this one.

Eliza Berman is an intern in the culture department at Slate.



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