First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2002, Volume 9, #12
Written by T.J. Simon
Over the past three years, the Chicago-based rock quartet OK Go has constructed itself a loyal local following that has culminated with the bandís recent major label deal with Capitol Records, massive radio exposure, and MTV video rotation. The groupís fan base includes They Might Be Giants and National Public Radioís Ira Glass who chose OK Go to be the de facto house band on his acclaimed program This American Life. This year has certainly been a very good year for Americaís newest boy band, but does this magic touch from the music industryís heat-seeking idolmakers equate to a worthwhile album?
The first single from OK Goís self-titled debut Get Over It is by far the hardest rocking song on the album. It features a We Will Rock You-style drum beat, heavy guitars, and punchy, almost rapped, vocals with clever, memorable lyrics. From this opening track, itís clear that the fellas in OK Go are better than your average saran-wrapped alterna-teen radio group. Donít Ask Me is pure California pop with a catchy keyboard bridge, and Youíre So Damn Hot is heavy on melding harmonies with crunching guitars and clappy percussion. Thereís not a song on the first half of this record that doesnít deserve to be played on the radio every 45 minutes (and ruined) by overzealous program directors.
OK Go has a unique sound that bridges the gap between power pop and alternative rock, and if the entire album was as good as the first handful of songs ó Side A, if you will ó it would be easy to believe that these guys could actually be the saviors of both alternative rock radio and the teen scene. Unfortunately, things get a bit weak on Side B beginning with the track Shortly Before the End, and perfect harmonies canít justify the mediocrity of the mid-tempo yawner Return. Admittedly, Thereís a Fire has a solid hip-hop drumbeat with a UB40 groove, and The Fix Is In has some astoundingly clever rhymes. But these winning moments canít excuse the silly bubblegum l-l-l-lameness of C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips or the nonsensical lyrics of Hello, My Treacherous Friends.
With only one song clocking in over 4 minutes, OK Go has proven a definite knack for short, punchy pop songs that stick in your head. Indeed, most bands will go through an entire career and never record as many good songs as this band has on this debut release. While there are certainly a few missteps on the disc, fans of the harmonious guitar rock of Queen, Fastball, and, more obscurely, Jellyfish will certainly find something to like about OK Go. Ĺ
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box