I Won't Let You Down (OK Go song)

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"I Won't Let You Down"
OK Go - I Won't Let You Down cover art.jpg
Single by OK Go
from the album Hungry Ghosts
Released December 8, 2014 (2014-12-08)
Format
Recorded Tarbox Road Studios
(Cassadaga, New York)
Genre Disco[1]
Length 3:43
Label
Songwriter(s) Damian Kulash
Producer(s) Tony Hoffer
OK Go singles chronology
"The Writing's on the Wall"
(2014)
"I Won't Let You Down"
(2014)
"Upside Down & Inside Out"
(2016)

"The Writing's on the Wall"
(2014)
"I Won't Let You Down"
(2014)
"Upside Down & Inside Out"
(2016)

"I Won't Let You Down" is a single by American rock band OK Go that was released as a single in December 8, 2014 and is part of their album Hungry Ghosts. The video for the song was released on October 27, 2014. Like many of the band's past videos, the video is a one shot take recorded in double time showing the band members and several hundred dancers on personal transportation devices performing intricate choreographed routines while filmed by a camera on a multirotor aerial drone.

Song[edit]

The song has a very strong disco influence; band frontman Damian Kulash said that the disco influence came as they were toying around with the beat of the song and they hit upon a sound, evoking the style of Jackson Five and Diana Ross, at which point, "we knew we had something worth chasing".[2] The song was released as a single on December 8, 2014,[2] the song was featured in Step Up: All In.

Music video[edit]

The video for "I Won't Let You Down" includes the use of multiple UNI-CUBs mobility devices included in the band's choreography.

The video for "I Won't Let You Down" was released on October 27, 2014, premiering on The Today Show.[3] Similar to many of the band's past videos, the video is a continuous one-shot music video, the band members perform the video while riding Honda UNI-CUBs, personal mobility units that are controlled by the rider by simply shifting their weight on the device. The group performs a routine within a warehouse before moving outside for larger choreographed routines with a number of additional riders and dancers dressed in traditional Japanese school uniforms and using colored umbrella props, the video was filmed on a camera mounted to a octocopter drone, which allows for ground-level and bird's-eye-view shots during these routines, including a final high-altitude (700m) pan of the surrounding landscape.[4] The Japanese electropop group Perfume also make a cameo at the start of the video.[5][6]

OK Go was inspired by a trip they had taken to Japan and visited Tokyo's Robot Restaurant, which had numerous robots moving about the large facility in motions set to heavy-metal music; Tim Nordwind said that the experience was "the best hour of my life".[3] They obtained help of producer Morihiro Harano, a friend of the band who they had desired to work with since meeting him a few years prior.[7] Harano linked them to Honda's internal ad agency, which led to them being put in contact with Japanese choreographer Airman to help plan out the routines.[3] Honda went on to fund the film and provide the UNI-CUBs and the octocopter for the video,[3] during an interview with The Today Show, Kulash stated that the video took about a month of concept, planning, and practicing before it was shot.[6][8] The video was filmed around August 2014[7] at Longwood Station, a vacant Outlet store in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan near Tokyo.[3] Kulash and Kazuaki Seki co-directed the video,[5] the video was filmed in double time, recording the events at half the speed of the song and then sped up for the final video as to allow them to complete the complex choreography. In the closing shots, which show the band and dancers from far overhead simulating a large dot matrix display, Harano had set large speakers at the corners of the area to play the song in half-time to help all the performers synchronize with the music,[3] the camera drone was controlled both with GPS and manual control for fine adjustment by Harano and his crew.[3] The final shot of the video includes over 2,300 participants; as there are not that many UNI-CUBs in existence at the time of filming, they used special framing to capture as many performers on the devices before pulling back in shot to include more dancers on foot without breaking the illusion.[8] This final section took between 50 and 60 practice runs to get the timing correct,[3] the filming took about 4 days to complete, complicated by weather issues, as rain prevented the use of the UNI-CUBs or the octocopter outdoors for most of the filming period. The rain cleared up on their last planned day filming, allowing them to complete the video.[7] According to Harano they recorded about 44 takes with 11 being fully completed takes, and three of those being of the quality they sought.[6]

The band recorded the video using a camera mounted to a remote-controlled octacopter (similar to the one shown here).

The choreography in the video was inspired by the elaborate routines of musical director Busby Berkeley,[3] and took the idea of using double time filming after observing that Berkeley had used sped-up footage to allow these routines to be captured properly on film.[7] The opening sequence, primarily focusing on the OK Go band members, was made to feel like a futuristic version of Gene Kelly's dancing in Singin' in the Rain.[3] Another inspiration was from mass games, popular in Japan and North Korea, which was used for next-to-final shot mimicking a dot matrix display; they had used computer visualization to plan out the choreography, and plan to release an interactive version of the video that will allow users to create their own choreography based on this.[7] The final shot, with the camera panning across the Japan landscape, was inspired by The Beatles use of extended outros, as to give the viewer something "that packed a bit more entertainment even after the main part was over", according to Harano.[3] The final ascent and pan shot lasts a full 70 seconds without audio accompaniment.

The video went viral when it was released, it garnered 6 million worldwide YouTube views in two days and sent the song to No. 1 on the Billboard/Twitter Trending 140 chart.[9]

The video won for Best Choreography at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.[10]

Charts[edit]

The song debuted at No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100.[11]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[12] 22
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 71
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[14] 7

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schultz, Barbara (July 1, 2014). "OK Go's Electronic Art: EP Previews the Elegant Pop Noise of 'Hungry Ghosts'". Mix Online. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Gee, Catherine (October 27, 2014). "OK Go release video for 'I Won't Let You Down'". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brown, Harley (October 27, 2014). "OK Go Deconstruct Their Drone-Filmed 'I Won't Let You Down' Video". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bacle, Ariana (October 27, 2014). "OK Go dances with umbrellas in 'I Won't Let You Down' video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Trenholm, Rich (October 27, 2014). "OK Go take off with a drone and electric unicycles in latest stunning one-take video". CNET. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Ripley, Will (October 29, 2014). "How did they do that? OK Go's music video in Japan goes viral". KHON-TV. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "I Won't Let You Down" - Interview with Damian and Tim. OK Go. October 30, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "'OK Go' talk about their new video". The Today Show. NBC. October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ Harley Brown (October 31, 2014). "How OK Go's Viral 'I Won't Let You Down' Video Took Flight". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "2015 MTV Video Music Awards Winners and Nominees - Complete list". hitfix.com. August 30, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  11. ^ Paul Grein (November 5, 2014). "Chart Watch: Imagine Dragons Returns". Yahoo! Music Chart Watch. 
  12. ^ "OK Go Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  13. ^ "OK Go Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "OK Go Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 6, 2014.

External links[edit]