Tuned In: OK Go Take A Backseat To Animal On Leno

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OK Go‘s attention-getting music videos and performances have been an effective way to get attention for their music in a Web 2.0 world, but it’s probably pretty exhausting. The band’s off-kilter visual sensibilities, though, are not far off from those of the Jim Henson Company, so we weren’t surprised that they were tapped to cover “The Muppet Show Theme Song” (and shoot a music video) for The Green Album. Their appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno yesterday was an extension of that, but it was also a showcase?and, probably, a relief?for the band. Joined by Animal, who provided a wicked drum solo mid-song (no explosions, though), the band found themselves able to focus entirely on their performance, without needing to supplement the song with another gamble for the audience’s attention. So they sounded great! Plus, the promotion of Thanksgiving-weekend film The Muppets was as unobtrusive as a multi-million dollar push can be, and any excuse to get someone playing a theremin on The Tonight Show is a bonus.

Bonus evangelism (pun not intended): Kirk Franklin appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, performing “I Smile,” a song that’s just outside the Top 20 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart (after peaking at #12) but virtually unknown to all but “urban adult contemporary” listeners, because it’s also spent 21 weeks at #1 on the Gospel chart, and for most American listeners, non-secular music (no matter what the religious affiliation) may as well be in another language. “I Smile” is a funked-up “Hard-Knock Life” based around an S.O.S. Band sample (as interpolated through the 1997 Scarface and Tupac single “Smile”). If Glee renditions can cross over and chart, why not Franklin’s choir (filled with chart-toppers in their own right, like Isaac Carree) singing a track based on a Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis break?

Elsewhere in late night…

The Late Show With David Letterman: Thurston Moore, “Benediction”