Ok Go, the band that rose in YouTube fame with their impressive music videos involving elaborately choreographed dances on treadmills (Here it Goes Again) and in backyards (A Million Ways), releases their third full-length album this week with Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. The album is a bit mellower than the previous two, and doesn’t really have any songs as bouncy and danceable as the older tunes. Despite that, this is in my mind the best album the band has put out, meshing together a bunch of different styles in the process. The songs on the record are filled with quirky melodies and lead singer Damian Kulash’s high-pitched voice, which together make up the signature Ok Go sound.
WTF? Opens the disc and is the first single, with a slow rhythm, handclaps, and of course Kulash singing in an impossibly high register. The video for this song, while not featuring any crazy dance moves on workout equipment, depicts the band members playing in a big green screen room with a bunch of silly props, and the result is pretty psychedelic and fittingly offbeat. It’s a bit less guitar-driven than the band’s most notable songs, but it’s a good kickoff to the album anyway.
Some of the other songs are heavy in rhythm and beat, such as This Too Shall Pass, Skyscrapers (which has funky Jamiroquai-ish disco glam guitar driving the song), and White Knuckles, which halfway through busts out a guitar riff that isn’t unlike the kind of guitar that Daft Punk samples on Discovery. I hadn’t ever expected to make any Daft Punk comparisons when discussing Ok Go, but it fits for that song, a glam-tastic freakout that finds the band doing its best 1970s funk imitation. This Too Shall Pass now has a music video (just released today), check it out here. It has marching bands in fields and grass monster horn players. Yes.
I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe could possibly inspire some impromptu dancing, as it has the type of beat that I can imagine the guys in the band creating some elaborate and ridiculously impressive dance sequence to. It’s also a highlight of the album, with some more funky guitar that to me sounds like a better version of pop/soul funk-lite than bands like Maroon 5 can manage.
Ok Go really defies genre classification, one reason I’ve always enjoyed their songs. They’re able to mix together a bunch of different styles and create a pretty original sound overall. They remind me at times of bands like the Cars, with their bouncy pop songs and keyboard-driven sound. While nothing has quite matched the perfection of their song There’s a Fire from their debut self-titled album, Ok Go has continued to evolve with this new record. The songs are more fleshed-out and experimental, instead of simple but cheery dance-pop of the variety that they churned out earlier in their career. Of the Blue Colour of the Sky is a great collection of indie-pop gold, a nice alternative to the hipster-approved quirkball simplicity of bands like Vampire Weekend.
Like I said before, while this album might not spawn another much-favorited YouTube smash, it is on the whole a substantial improvement upon the band’s undeniably original spin on pop music. Ok Go deserves to be appreciated for their songs instead of their amazing videos, and I hope this album is well-received by the public. It’s a fantastic album of infectious and memorable tunes that any pop music aficionado or appreciative music fan should find irresistible.