What do synchronised treadmills, zero gravity flights, Rube Goldberg Machines and a car playing instruments in the desert all have in common? Well they are just some of the concepts that Chicago rock band OK Go (now LA-based) have used over the years to showcase their songs and, in doing so, have created their own genre of genius, one take videos that are now as synonymous with the band as their music.
The band have released a brilliant, emotional and genuinely inspirational new track and accompanying video, home recorded by the band and directed by lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash, as a response to a very personal Covid-19 experience. They are using the release to raise money for health care workers, following a pretty harrowing experience by Kulash and his wife. They both caught the coronavirus early on and went through an awful time, but have now thankfully fully recovered. Whilst the video is not the normal style from the band, it is still awe inspiring for different reasons and, what is normal anymore anyway? It still manages to showcase some cool touches, as you might expect, with the band being their own backing band and the reveal of the last shot (go and see).
The band wrote and recorded the song in their homes over a few days. It was inspired by the nightly cheering for the front line workers in their local neighbourhood, that is repeated all around the globe. It was also inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s piece in The Guardian. The band describe the song as their ‘sombre prayer for hope’ and it really is moving and inspirational – both reflective of the changes that have impacted the world, but hopeful about how we can meet and conquer them together – hence the song title.
“All those harmonies we sang yesterday all sound so different somehow” is a reflection on how things haven’t changed but they still have – “nothing changes until one day it does”. But there is hope in the song and thanks and praise too. The song itself is just beautiful, lyrically and harmonically.
Talking about how to release the song, Kulash says:
I wrote a letter about how my family caught the coronavirus, how scary my wife’s recovery was, and how this song came to be. But it’s too long to send as a blast, or at least I know that if I got something like it from ‘that dude in the video band,’ I wouldn’t read it. A press release seems inappropriate, too. This isn’t the clever new video we’ve been working on for months or the lead single from our new album; there’s no campaign. It’s an earnest, personal song about the moment we’re all sharing, and a homemade video of us recording it in our closets and kitchens.
So instead, he and his band have put together this amazing song and video and there can be no greater way to reflect on such a personal experience and use art to give thanks and raise money for the front line heroes putting their lives at risk every day. Profits from downloads of the song at the band’s website will be donated to Partners in Health, an organisation that brings healthcare to people who can’t afford or access it. Now, more than every, that is a cause worth supporting.