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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Record Routine: OK Go fail to impress on fifth album

For some reason, I just don’t think I will ever be able to take OK Go seriously. It might have to do with the fact that their first viral explosion—the “Here It Goes Again” video—came out during the peak of my YouTube awareness curve. This being my first impression of the band, I can’t help but group OK Go in my middle school brain with the “Muffins,” “Shoes” and “Old Greg” videos—compiling this time of my Internet life into one big, bad comedy sketch.

That being said, I think there’s a point to be made that the band’s music is usually not spoken of without a mention of their multimedia presence. They’ve been making creative and visually appealing music videos ever since they started making records, and now that I listen to their 2014 LP Hungry Ghosts with no crazy visuals to distract me, I find myself unimpressed.

The album strays away from what little pattern OK Go had in their catchy, headbobbable pop-rock tracks of the past and instead over-synths the crap out of everything. Some tracks are entertaining enough—“Upside Down & Inside Out” is a decent, if not forgettable, opening track; “I Won’t Let You Down” is a catchy disco jam that further proves my point that any song with either clapping or whistling will please most listeners (it’s science); and “Turn Up the Radio” is a Spoon-esque glam rocker with pleasant vocals, pretty lame lyrics and a cool bass line.

Some of the slower tracks have positive elements to them as well, but somehow the more I listen, the more I dislike them. The last batch of tracks I have to discuss are the more serious songs on Hungry Ghosts. “Another Set of Issues” is a dark narrative with intriguing instrumentals and a lighter-sounding melody in the chorus which contrasts the subject matter in an interesting way. “Obsession” is a really, really creepy tune, but happens to have one of the more original productions on the album and a robot guy in the bridge that I inexplicably love.

In the end, I hope OK Go has some bitchin’ videos on the way, because if I don’t see middle-aged dudes jumping around on treadmills soon, I do not foresee listening to any of Hungry Ghosts again.

Rating: C-

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