Obsession

Album: Hungry Ghosts (2014)
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, OK Go frontman Damian Kulash sings of a couple's intense desire for each other. Kulash normally dreads writing lyrics as he prefers the way music can incorporate differing emotions all pulling in contrary direction. However he found the words for this song came easily. Kulash explained to Purevolume:

    "I love music precisely because it can say things that language can't; it can communicate emotions that are more complicated and more raw. So if a great song pushes your heart one way while pulling the opposite, what can you say over it that won't screw it all up? Most words just literalize one of the component emotions and collapse the whole thing into a single dimension. It's a vicious riddle to solve, trying to balance the warring emotions without highlighting just one, or devolving into meaningless abstractions to intentionally keep it vague.

    This is one of the rare songs where the feeling in the music screamed so loudly that writing lyrics wasn't such a fight. As soon as we had the basic foundation of the song laid, it was obvious what this one was about: obsession."
  • The song's psychedelic music video features the incredible feat of synchronizing 567 printers without a paper jam as we watch two walls of printers spitting out colored paper to create different patterns. Meanwhile, the OK Go band members float about and get themselves into all sorts of strange positions.

    At first, YouTube couldn't handle the clip. The band wrote on the video page:

    "Just leaving it on 'Auto HD' results in some pretty intense distortion during a few sections, because when the colors and patterns get crazy, there's actually just too much information flying by for YouTube's normal HD compression."
  • The video was directed by Damian Kulash and Yusuke Tanaka. It was shot in Japan over the course of two years.

    "This song is about how our most intense and complicated emotions are also our simplest and most universal. Obsession is so overwhelming and perplexing, but it's also so binary and basic - everything's normal and then suddenly it's not," shared Kulash. "For the video, we wanted that same idea: take the simplest thing and just revel in how powerful and not-simple it really is. And animation is that - it's just one picture on one piece of paper, then another, and then another, and somehow that progression turns into a whole universe. So we tried to create the physical version of that universe, a room where the walls can change into anything you imagine, but everything is made of just one piece of paper following the last."

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