Video killed the radio star

I think I might be late on this, but whatever. If a band wants me to be on top of things they'll write good music. Which I suppose is the perpetual quandry related to Ok Go. They're known for sweet videos, and their latest (embedded below) is no different. Of course, I have a problem with the video at roughly 2:40 when the sledgehammer smashes their old (linked to above) video. The treadmill video is the band's only notable accomplishment (yes, I am discarding "Get Over It"), and the imagery involved in the smashing shows a sort of demolition, a re-invention, which of course is the exact opposite thing they're doing here. The song, like "Here it Goes Again," is boring and relies solely on the viral campaign of its visual accompaniment (I actually had to search YouTube for "Ok Go Treadmill Video," just to illustrate the irrelevance of the music itself).

From the start we know the punchline: They're already plastered in dry paint, so we know that at some point they're getting blasted. The story of the video, then, is the means. Ok Go show some humility by including at the end of the video a shot with the group of people who are ostensibly responsible for the elaborate construction, but at the same time the band is discrediting themselves. Or, rather, they're exposing themselves. Like I said, the song isn't the draw here, and by including the video's makers (even if the band lent some insight to design ideas) it's like they're passing the torch to the ones who really matter. They get blasted with paint, but I can't help but think of the paint as egg, and the people who deserve the credit are cheering while the band has to wipe the egg from their faces.

But it also introduces a few thoughts on the relevance of music videos. "Video killed the radio star" is a radically outdated concept, and the medium of videos themselves show little promise beyond ephemeral marketing schemes (Ok Go ostensibly the masters of said campaign). More and more bands are including videos on enhanced versions of their CDs, but those too are becoming outdated. In the end a band's meddle is always proven or disproven relative to musical performance. Perhaps the Buggles' insight should be modernized to "Video saved the radio bust... for a minute or two." The title of the song, "This Too Shall Pass," is eerily self-aware. But I suppose, so long as they know what they're up against...



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