Ok Go and the Five Stages of Grief

Have you ever had a bad day? I don’t mean a bad day like you got fired or your boyfriend broke up with you. I mean the kind of bad day where nothing really happened but once you are by yourself, you feel like you could kick the collective world in the shin just for looking at you wrong. The type of day where you walk the line between responsible driving and yelling at that car in front of you that can’t seem to pick a lane. This kind of day really sucks, mainly because you don’t have a good excuse to be in this bad mood but here you are just the same.

Well, for the last few years I’ve had a solution to this problem. Discovered one day through the crazy algorithmic that controls shuffle on my Ipod, I found this method to be so effective that now I reach for it almost automatically. I speak of none other than Oh No by Ok Go, their second album released in 2005. The reason is simple. In the songs of the album are the five stages of grief– or in this case, the five stages of dealing with a bad mood. Don’t believe me? Here, I’ll map it out for you*.

Stage 1: Denial – Do What You Want

So you’re cranky. The world is against you. Traffic is nuts. Pedestrians seem to jump in front of your car and all trains everywhere are late. You can’t get away from here fast enough and of course none of this is your fault, right? Right. The chorus of this song literally gives you an excuse to indulge in your general annoyance with the world: “Do what you want/What could go wrong?/Come on.” You are great. It’s just the rest of the population that is nuts.

Stage 2: Anger – Invincible

As you continue along, your energy begins to hit its peak. The strong guitar riffs and the whispering voice of Damian Kulash fan the flames of your supreme impatience with life while buttering up your ego at the same time. You don’t need to put up with this crap, whatever it was. You are invincible and you are going to destroy all who dare to cross you with your lazer-shooting eyes and general awesomeness.

Stage 3: Bargaining – Here It Goes Again

But the high of adrenaline doesn’t last. Generally at this stage, I start silently asking no one in particular “Can we not do this right now?” If they would just lay off a little, things would be okay and you’d stop looking daggers at the other drivers on the road. It’s a deal you promise to keep, but by the end of the song you start to doubt things will go your way.

Stage 4: Depression – Oh Lately Its So Quiet

So you’ve calmed down a bit, no longer ready to bite someone’s head off. But the void left behind by the adrenaline is hard to fill. As the album transitions from rowdy to more melodic, the dip in your mood increases. Maybe you think about people you’ve left behind—for better or for worse. The song asks, “Whose house are you haunting tonight?” It is a song of regret, but maybe of relief too. The past is gone and whatever happened (today or years before) that put you on this emotional roller coaster has moving away.

If that is the case, you are finally ready for:

Stage 5: Acceptance – Let it Rain

Finally, you are coming out the other side. Either you’ve figured out what the problem was or you’ve put enough distance between you and your day to be pleasant company again. Bad days come and bad days go. The song asks, “Did you come here to dance?/What’s in your glass?/Do you feel better?/Let it rain, let it pour.” Now you can just let it go because it doesn’t matter any more.

Try it sometime. It works, I swear.

*No, this is not quite the actual order of songs on the album. Just grant me a little artistic license, please?


One response to “Ok Go and the Five Stages of Grief

  1. Cool stuff. Why didn’t you tell me you were blogging? I also use music to keep my head in a reasonable facsimile of screwed-on-straight-ness: Meat Loaf for the angst, German-language musicals and certain artists for the occasional soundgasm …

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