OK Go has shared the new track “This,” from the Apple Original Film “The Beanie Bubble.”
The band’s lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash co-directed the film with his wife Kristin Gore, who also wrote the screenplay. According to Kulash, the idea for the song, filled with exuberant guitars and horns, was in the script: “The term said, ‘We close to unbelievably joyful music.”
The film debuts theaters on limited release on July 21 before streaming on AppleTV+ on July 28. It stars Zach Galifianakis, Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan and follows the story of the Beanie Baby phenomenon.
Kulash says the ending of the movie hits two emotional beats: “feeling a sense of victory and being pissed off about our system.” So, “This” needed to have a “sense of joy with a bit of melancholy and nostalgia to reflect the story and time.”
Kulash adds, “After almost two hours of a musical journey through 20th-century pop music — which is like the most satisfying mix tape of all time, for me personally — we needed the final beat of the film to bring viewers back to the present day. Our fable about the American Dream is over, and as the lights come up we want you sinking into that bittersweet-victory flavor of nostalgia.”
The Beanie Baby market, at its peak, was worth $1.4 billion. But by 1999, Ty Inc. had increased production of newer Beanies, lessening the value of rare ones, and consumers started to move on, causing the market to dry up. When the bubble burst, some collectors lost millions. Says Kulash, “I was excited to write a song that would lean into all of that. It’s not too sad, but there’s an asterisk to it.”
But during the scripting process, Kulash had never imagined the film would end on an original song, “certainly not by my band.” But soon enough, he began writing “This,” and with one week before the film went into the final mix, he recorded vocals.
The song captures not just the story of Robbie Jones (Banks), lighting designer Sheila Harper (Snook) and 17-year-old college student Maya Kumar (Viswanathan), but also a deeply personal one for the co-director and songwriter. “It is the sentiment that I want to feel for those women at the end,” Kulash says. “But it is real because it’s what I feel about my wife and our life.”
Listen to “This” here.