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White Knuckles (OK Go)
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An alternative rock song by OK Go from the album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. The music video for "White Knuckles" premiered on The Ellen Degeneres Show on September 20, 2010, and was posted shortly afterward by the band to YouTube, being an immediate success.

The video was directed by Trish Sie, the sister of lead singer Damian Kulash. The band considered the idea "absurd and awesome". One dozen dogs were provided and trained by Talented Animals. Part of the requirement of the band was that the shot had to be performed in a single take, a feat that Roland Sonnenburg, a spokesperson for Talented Animals, said was "not bloody likely" to happen. The dogs were able to learn the routine's tricks; the most difficult trick, according to Tim Nordwind, was convincing two dogs to step in and out of a set of shelves while the band members provided platforms for the dogs to use and while spinning the shelves around. They initially trained the dogs to perform their tricks at half-speed, and slowly increasing the pace to match the song's beat; however, as they near the end of the filming period, the dogs were enjoying the performance so much that they began to outpace the song.

A total of 124 takes were made during the filming period; about 30 were complete takes, and 10 of those being considered "excellent" by the group.  The released version was Take 72, completed on the second-to-last day of shooting. They had considered splicing together other takes where certain actions were more "magical" than in Take 72, but the group did not want to cheat the one-shot requirement, and instead used what they had considered the best overall shot.

You never get that taste
Out of your mouth
You never get the paw prints
Out of the hen house now
And you can't go back
Same way you came
Round all the pieces up
But they just don't fit the same

White knuckles
Maybe it's not so bad
So let your hair down now
White knuckles
Yeah, maybe it's not so bad
Aw, go ahead and let it down

So come and let it all out
Let it bleed
Did you get what you want?
Did you get what you need?
And behind the lines
Behind the wall
Tell me 'bout the bed you made
Was it that bad after all?

White knuckles
Maybe it's not so bad
So let your hair down now
White knuckles
Oh, maybe it's not so bad
So let it all come down now

So just how far
Is far enough?
Everybody needs to sleep at night
Everybody needs a crutch
But couldn't good
Be good enough?
Cause nothin' doesn't ever change
But nothing changes much.

Yeah, maybe it's not so bad
So let your hair down now
White knuckles

Oh maybe it's not so bad
Then let it all come down now
Yeah maybe it's not so bad
Just let your hair come down now
Oh maybe it's not so bad
Just let it all come down

PAW PRINTS= "Paws" are the "hands" of animals with fingers (for example a lion, a bird or a dog have paws, but not a cow). "Paw prints" are like footprints but made by a paw (the mark they leave on the ground). (see picture)

OUT OF THE HEN HOUSE= The hen house is a little house for keeping hens. There is an expression in English which says "Keep the fox out of the hen house", which means "Don't assign a job to someone who will then be in a position to exploit it for his own ends". So now we know that the "paw prints" they said before belong to that fox (and on the SongMeaning tab you can read who the fox is). The song says "You never get the paw prints out of the hen house now", which means that you let them exploit you before, but not anymore, so it's fine now.

ROUND UP= Gather. Seek out and bring together.

LET YOUR HAIR DOWN NOW= (expression) Relax, don't worry and enjoy life.

GO AHEAD= We use this phrase to encourage someone to do something (or to give permission to do it).

LET IT ALL OUT= (expression) Express yourself, say everything you need to say, don't leave anything inside, and so you can relax and forget about it more easily.

LET IT BLEED= This is not a standard phrase or idiom, it was made up by The Rolling Stones for the title of a song, and in that context it seemed to mean "even though you might want to hold back because something appears to be wrong, if it feels good, just do it". So it probably has a similar meaning here. But the rest of the song seems to suggest that what you did was actually the right thing, so this phrase would simply mean "No regrets, forget now about the past and go ahead".

DID YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT?= This and the next question have an obvious implicit answer: NO. That's why it's alright to forget about the past situation and move on.

BEHIND THE LINES= (expression) This expression comes from the battleground, "the line" is "the front", the area closest to the enemy, where the real fighting takes place. So if you are behind the lines, you are at the front, fighting.

'BOUT= (coll.) About.

THE BED YOU MADE= The bed is your resting place, so this phrase is probably referring to that, to the new situation you have created for you to rest now.

CRUTCH= A staff or support used by the physically injured or disabled as an aid in walking. This word is also used figuratively (like here) to mean "support".

CAUSE NOTHIN' EVER DOESN'T CHANGE= This sentence is grammatically wrong because it uses a double negative; it should be: "Because nothing ever changes". But as it is, it sounds much more emphatic than the correct sentence, and double negatives are kind of common in colloquial language.

The image of "white knuckles" is, obviously, what happens when you clench your fists tight out of anger. So in this song they talk about feeling angry or very worried about something wrong that just happened and how you should relax about it because there is nothing you can do about it now. But I found this comment by FXGhost which explains what is exactly that thing that has happened:

When I saw them at bonnaroo, they mentioned about their anger/ new hopes now that they broke away from their record company and their journey towards making this new album. The whole album itself signifies everything about that statement, about how poorly treated and badly controlled they were by their old record company.

'White Knuckles' is just signified as clenched fists and the color of your knuckles from it. Clenched fists of course because of anger and frustration. You can see this frustration in many songs about how things can change and it's never the end of the world.

The beginning lyrics are actually very intelligent, that no matter what you try to do, once something is done, it's been done and you can't change it. It will always be in people's memories, or a stain of it seen in random places no matter how much you try to back track and redo an action.

The rest of the song still has the same feelings. One of my favorite lyrics out of any song is 'Nothing ever doesn't change, but nothing changes much'. It flows smoothly off the tongue, and it has a lot of meaning to it. Original statement of finally leaving their record company, things changed for them, but they are still doing music and have done an amazing job at it, just with more freedom.

This song is well applied in daily life since all of us have these frustrations, but the message here is that it isn't as bad as you think. Just loosen up and 'let it all come down'. It's going to be okay. 'Everybody needs to sleep at night, everybody needs a crutch'. We are all very similar and usually experience the same bad things as everyone else does. So no one experience is usually too unique. Other's have gotten through it, so you can too.

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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