OK Go’s new music video for “I Won’t Let You Down” is a refreshing, vigorous burst of cinematic energy, referencing everything from Busby Berkeley’s spinning geometrical fever-dreams to the wild happiness of Bollywood dance numbers to the lyrical outpourings (and downpourings) of Singin’ in the Rain. The song itself is a throwback, of sorts; its sincere croons about truth in love could have sprouted straight from the depths of Saturday Night Fever. In the video, the band zips around an immaculate urban landscape on scooters; we see them head-on at first, and then the camera moves upwards, until we witness the design behind their zipping. How dos it do this? With a drone camera! In any other band’s video, this might have seemed like a cheap move; here, though, the shift achieves some cosmic significance, as if the comfort of love might offer some balm for life’s battering. And then: they whip out the primary-colored umbrellas. Gene Kelly, anyone? The symbolism is obvious, sure: partners provide shelter for each other. But in this little film, what OK Go has done is transporting.
And it’s not the first time they’ve pulled it off–they have a long-standing reputation for well-crafted videos. Look, for instance, at this Neo-Geo masterpiece for “The Writing’s on the Wall”:
The first time I listened to OK Go was on a CD The Believer offered as part of their annual music issue, a few years ago–I remember being struck by their upbeat charm, their clear enunciation, their rambling chord structure, and above all, the way in which, despite the fact that they seemed unlike the selections surrounding them, all of which had a slightly more handmade, “indie” feel, the combination worked, somehow–which is part of the band’s virtue. OK Go fits anywhere.