The psychology of OK Go

There’s the idea that in life we have primary and secondary emotions. Secondary emotions are the thousand and one impulses and reactions, highs and lows that colour everyday. Primary emotions are the very few, perhaps just one or two, sentiments or moods that remain constant beneath the noise. I want to be heard. I long to be held. I must mend what’s broken. They don’t add colour to the day. They provide the steady and singular tones of your life.

I think this is what I find so satisfying about the genius videos of OK Go. Take Here It Goes Again. The treadmills keep turning at a steady pace whilst the band jump and jig all over them. In a more complicated way This Too Shall Pass – that starts with a few dominoes tumbling and ends with TVs smashing, pianos and cars crashing – is propelled by a constant sense of falling.

Perhaps it’s most explicit in End Love. It’s 18 hours-worth of life in Echo Park compressed into a four minute song. I’m fascinated by the idea that in and through the normal speed of our lives there is a slow song playing, a primary emotion, which if only we could hear it – perhaps by some time-lapse trick – would make sense of it all.

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