My generation’s tunez (no sic, that) were better than yours. We had songs, man, songs with melodies that entranced, lyrics that really made you think and snare-drum mixes that didn’t induce migraines in lab rats. This electronica crap with the beeping and the booping? Elevator music for the ADD set. Collaborations with a “featuring…” guest spot? Like when Axl Rose sat in with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but minus the rehearsing-is-for-toolz professionalism. Other things that were better when I had the time and inclination to enjoy them include movies, malls, fast food, water parks and Bono. Just because I don’t pay attention to anything created after 1992 doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to make comparisons through the foggy lens of youth.
Oh - videos! How’d I forget videos? Heavens, videoswerebetter. Say what you will about the pop stars of my adolescence, but they didn’t let a cent of their hairstylingbudgets go to waste. So when disrespectful neighborhood whippersnappers tell me to check out the video oeuvre of somebody/something called OK Go, I don’t need to watch more than a few seconds before concluding that they couldn’t hold Toto’s jockstrap and…
Anyway, it appears that OK Go’s distinctive visual wit can be bought (and anyone who wrist-slaps a circa-2015 artist for playing nice with brands probably ought to take a look at music sales figures during the last 15 years). The most recent beneficiary of the band’s creative largesse: a Chinese furniture chain called Red Star Macalline. I know nothing about this company and, given the lack of a subway line connecting my neighborhood with Tianjin, likely won’t ever set foot in one of its stores. But I now officially dig the brand and its wares. It appears to have a little IKEA in its brand DNA, which is as much of a compliment as can be extended to a seller of housestuffs.
As opposed to most band/brand collaborations, the OK Go/Red Star Macalline partnership feels unforced. OK Go is big on the whole optical-illusion thing - and where better to give this signature visual tic an airing than in a cavernous space populated by shelving and the like?
As in previous OK Go videos - and relegating them to the genre of “videos” is grossly reductive - images bleed into live action (and vice versa), walls dissolve, surfaces prove elastic and gravity occasionally ceases to exert its push and pull. Through it all, the band members… I’m not sure “dance” is the right word for it, but they move their bodies in a manner that’s simpatico with the music and rhythm. I like that the band isn’t too proud to share its secrets; several of its recent videos have been accompanied by making-of clips, which are illuminating. If there’s a more striking exemplar of artistic mania in pop culture today, I’d like to see it.
As for Red Star Macalline, we get to see its couches, rollaway beds, lighting fixtures and more. They look neat and functional enough, but that’s not the point. The coolness is earned by association. Hey, I attempted to latch on to Gregg and Joe and a bunch of other people during high school. Coolness-by-association beats the hell out of nerdly solitude. Sometimes it works.
My descriptions don’t do the clip’s perceptual mind-f***ery justice, so here’s a second link to it. Also, there needs to be a law prohibiting intergenerational conversations about popular music and the wider culture surrounding it, and that law needs to go into effect right about… now. Okay. That’s all.