The Rock Handbook is clear on this. Groups have to build a local following before attempting to conquer the world. Of course, it helps when the hometown is the third largest market in the U.S. Singer Damian Kulash (great name), guitarist Andrew Duncan, bassist Tim Norwind and drummer Dan Konopka (another great name) joined forces in '98 and soon dominated the Windy City scene.
Before Kulash immigrated from D.C., the other three band members were in something called Stanley's Joyful Noise (not a great name). Fortunately, everyone survived that misadventure.
OK Go released a series of CD singles that sold well enough to get them signed by Capitol Records in '01.
When you go with a major label you are suppose to become wildly successful. That's why you do it. But sometimes those big promotional dollars just don't do the trick. Misspent? Squandered? Bad Choices? Always easy to blame the label. Or maybe the world has one too many power-pop bands.
OK Go's debut failed to generate much excitement. Their melodic follow-up, "Oh No," released in '05, was a more serious, and much better received, set.
At the '06 Grammys, the group and Trish Sie took home the "Best Short-Form Music Video" award for "Here It Goes Again." The viral video of the band doing a clever production number on treadmills garnered over 48-million YouTube views, making it one of the most watched clips on the website. "It has always been our position that the reason you wind up in a Rock band is you want to make stuff," said Kulash some time later. "You want to do creative things for a living."
OK Go also contributed to the '08 charity EP "You're Not Alone," which benefited people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
The band's popularity led to a couple of their songs, namely "Do What You Want" and "Here It Goes Again," being used in various video games. The group also appeared in the comedy I Love You Man as a wedding band (with main characters Paul Rudd and Jason Segel). They then landed the track, "Shooting The Moon" on the "Twilight: New Moon soundtrack."
Originally "The Influence Of The Blue Ray Of The Sunlight And Of The Blue Color Of The Sky," the title of OK Go's third album was significantly shortened to "Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky." According to a band release the songs on the '10 effort were the "danciest, most anthemic, most heartbroken, and honest songs" of their career.
2002 OK Go
2005 Oh No
2010 Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
OK Go's self-titled debut is hardly revolutionary or groundbreaking but they kick with little affectation or pretension and that makes for good listening. A solid effort.
"Oh No" features the cheery "Invincible" and a great little guitar-Rocker "Do What You Want." Like their debut, the album contains catchy songs with mass appeal potential. Even the mournful resignation of "The House Wins" has its charm.
"Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky" proves OK Go has life after their novelty video. Their dance-pop shows up in the funk laced opener "WTF" but is more pronounced on "White Knuckles" where they sound like a late '70s Rock band trying to cater to the current trend without losing their integrity. And they pull it off. The dark and haunting "All Is Not Lost" is clearly the set's most genuine track. OK Go's attempts at synth pop or techno don't fair as well. But if the album has a shortcoming it is "Before The Earth Was Round." The song is nowhere near as clever as the title.