e>Rock music is under siege and nearly dead. Melody-free hip-hop — dark — with its relentless sixteenth-note vocal phrasing and manic pitch-correction, offers zero innovation. But certainly rock has been a bit short on innovation. For every Radiohead, there are 1000 Fall Out Boys. OK GO is so innovative they are nearly a genre unto themselves. Entering their third decade, it seems like they are just getting going. In the 80s, during MTV mania, a thought occurred to me that recording artists should make their videos as important as their songs. Friends in the record business guffawed. Music videos were strictly a function of marketing, and an excuse to hire ‘models’ to get the band laid. Video directors, paid the big bucks for meaningless scenarios and a dearth of ideas, spent their giant budgets on blow. Who wants to argue this? So finally in the 21st century my wish comes true. OK GO is a band whose music captures my heart, and makes imaginative, inventive, physics-defying movies. Their videos, like the best art, invite questions. On their current retrospective tour, they answer these questions. On stage. But here’s the most daring innovation: they are a family band. Rock is certainly not noted for family values. But going to my first OK GO show, I was unprepared to revisit the meaning of an all-ages show. There were the 3-year-old kids, there were the 70-year-old kids, and there was a genuine effort to model responsible behavior. Of course, they freely admit the videos themselves can be dangerous to produce. Which makes their risks somehow more sincere than disingenuous. How can you have fun if you aren’t willing to skin your knee?
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