This Too Shall Pass

Album: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the third single from American rock band OK Go's third studio album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky.
  • The band recorded a video for this anthemic song with the Notre Dame marching band. Frontman Damian Kulash told Spin magazine: "That was a hell of a lot of fun. There were 200 kids from the marching band and local elementary schools making it with us. That was a real high."
  • A second video was filmed, for which the band spent six months designing, building and implementing a two-story-tall Rube Goldberg mechanical device with the help of Syyn Labs, a Los Angeles-based arts and technology collective. The contraption they developed triggers a series of complex reactions all in time to the upbeat tune. Frontman Damian Kulash told MTV News: "Our band has always had a running list of things we'd like to do if somebody gave us the time or the money, and the Rube Goldberg machine has been on there for a long time. The barrier to entry with it is that you have to be a little crazy, you have to have a lot of time, and you have to be really, really patient. Of course, we had a lot of help. The people we were working with, they have day jobs at the jet-propulsion labs. They built the Mars Rover. They know how to make a set of dominoes fall over. I don't think any of us anticipated how much work it would be."
  • The video was shot in one continuous, three-minute-plus take and the timing had to be exact to make it work. Kulah explained: "We did actually shoot it in long, single takes. We only made it all the way through three times. But the truth is, one part, where we come down a waterfall, the action got a little behind, and three times, we actually got all the way through, the camera guy only got it once. So there is a bit of an edit in there. One edit. The machine did run all the way through each time, though, which is important."
    Kulash added that the dominoes and the mouse traps were the biggest challenges. "The machine was basically designed to get more and more consistent as you go through it. So the larger interactions, while they are a lot more explosive and visual, they screwed up less. When you drop an oven from the ceiling, it almost always lands in the same place. When you take a giant file cabinet that's been welded shut, it does fall in the same place," he laughed. "It was the smaller, more intricate interactions at the top that were more flaky. We reset the dominoes on that thing hundreds of times, and the ball-track table that comes after the dominoes, that would change with the temperature and the time of the day. We'd have it exactly right at 2 in the morning, and we'd come back at 10 and it wouldn't work at all. We were trying different ball-bearing sizes, within a 16th of an inch, and that would change the way the thing ran by a second and a half, which was an eon in the machine.
    The one spot that was really a nightmare were the rainbow flags that were on the rat traps. They were very sensitive, so when the piano would drop, they'd go off. So we had to put cushions under them so they wouldn't go off," he continued. "And as soon as one went off, they'd all go off. I don't know if you've set a mouse trap recently, but you have to be very delicate in setting them, and if you need to set 25 of them in a row without setting any of them off, it's a nightmare. So there were, like, two people who dedicated a week of their lives to learning how to exactly set those things, but it was worth it. At least, I hope it was."
  • State Farm insurance put up a lot of cash to make the video. What did they get for their money? The toy van that kicks off the contraption has a State Farm logo on it, we see a State Farm stuffed bear in a fleeting shot, and at the end of the clip, we see a screen that read, "OK Go Thanks State Farm for making this video possible."

    The union of hipster band and stodgy corporate behemoth prompted debate over the deal and material for comedians. Stephen Colbert said on his show: "I've heard about nerdy being hip, but I've never known that just plain boring can be hip. This is a new level of hipness!"
  • The clip won the Best Video of The Year and Best Rock Video categories at the 2010 UK Music Video Awards.
  • The song featured in The Sims 3: Ambitions soundtrack. OK Go recorded the song in Simlish, the language of the Sims.

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