Kids, gather ’round. It’s story time.
In the eighties, before on demand and DVRs and Netflix and Hulu and YouTube, when we wanted to waste time, we binge-watched music videos which played 24 hours a day on MTV and VH1. Great songs by Phil Collins, a-ha, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Tom Petty, and others (that’s right, I went there) were accompanied by mind-blowing, creative visuals. I know they look a bit goofy now, but to us, they were life changing. This golden age lasted almost a decade, then began a slow decline.
By the mid-nineties, the creativity and production value of music videos was on a decidedly downward trajectory. MTV and VH1 started playing reality TV (that’s right, Real World, I’m talking to you), and the world largely lost interest in music videos. Video games gained in popularity, and the next generation essentially stopped watching. This made me very sad, though we did still have Madonna, the Jacksons, Nirvana, and a few others who had enough pull with their record companies to continue to make great videos in spite of the slump.
By the early aughts, internet speeds started picking up, and music video production started to regain momentum. Videos by visionaries like Beyonce, Gorillaz, Morningwood, and Lady Gaga went viral and did a great deal to revive the genre. Then along came OK Go.
Their music is great – very listenable, very catchy, very tuneful, but from the beginning, what really made them stand out was their music videos. They first appeared on my radar – and likely on yours – with their video for “Here It Goes Again” in which they did choreography on treadmills. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Everyone has. They have made many very, very clever, inventive, highly-entertaining music videos over the years, and nearly all of them are one-take, single-camera shoots. One of the most successful elements of their videos is that they often let the viewer share their victories. They don’t cut off the rejoicing that happens when everything goes right. Instead, they let us watch, and I, for one, find myself cheering right along with them.
Without further ado, I give you OK Go’s “The Writing’s on the Wall,” the most technically-proficient, practical-effect, single camera, one-shot video you’ll likely ever see. Once again, mind blown.
And in case you still want more, Mashable posted a behind-the-scenes video, too!
June 19, 2014 at 7:21 am
I loved every 4:17 second of this!!!! Good morning!
June 19, 2014 at 11:34 am
Thank you, and good morning (now afternoon) to you!
June 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm
I had never seen that before…. Wonder what I was doing?
As a Canadian, we had Much Music…… my sister watched Corey Hart’s “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” endlessly. Here too, reality TV took over the music channel. I guess things change.
June 19, 2014 at 8:31 pm
Sorry, I just started rambling, without a coherent thought in my head. I felt inspired to comment, but words failed me (as skill and imagination did for some awful 80’s videos). My favourite early video was Twisted Sister’s “We’re not Gonna Take it.–great visuals, and just a tad bizarre.
June 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm
I love that one! And your ramblings are welcome.
June 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Music video is such a great genre. I regretted not getting into the business. Then the business tanked. I’m just glad to see someone keeping the flame alight.
June 19, 2014 at 10:10 pm
I wonder what historians will think of the genre? Did MTV ever do a best 50 videos of all time? I wonder what was number one?…. wait a minute….I think I saw that….never mind, I am rambling again.
What is your favourite video of all time? I will allow multiple answers if you choose different musical genres.
June 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm
I think my fave music video of all time is tied between Vogue and Thriller. I know they’re predictable choices, but that doesn’t make them less awesome. I also really loved Morningwood’s Nth Degree is another fave. The only video I really loved that didn’t make the list is Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson. I still get chills. What’s yours?
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