"The Writing's on the Wall" (CD single)

Music review by
Max Mobley, Common Sense Media
"The Writing's on the Wall" (CD single) Music Poster Image
Appealing pop-rock song about a breakup has brilliant video.

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

The singer is lamenting a relationship that has soured, but he exhibits self-awareness and maturity by admitting fault of his own and a desire to make the other person happy one last time. Additionally, OK Go is well known for its innovative music videos; the video for "The Writing's on the Wall" has elaborate and mind-blowing optical illusions that demonstrate positive messages about creativity and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The music video demonstrates the value of teamwork, made particularly poignant at the end when it becomes apparent a large group of people were responsible for its elaborate construction and execution -- all without relying on digital editing.


There is sexual innuendo in repeated mentions of wanting to see pleasure in the other person's eyes one last time.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's a repeated lyric about wanting to get the other person high, but it's used as a metaphor for happiness. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that "The Writing's on the Wall" is a catchy alt-rock song by OK Go, a band known in large part for fantastic music videos. The song is about an unhappy relationship coming to an end; there are a few mildly sexually suggestive lyrics, such as the metaphorical "I just want to get you high" and "I just want to see some pleasure in your eyes." The official music video, shot in a single take and made without any post-production or digital editing, is a highly complex series of amusing and elaborate optical illusions that unfold one after the other. Although the song has some mature references to sex and relationships, the video is kid-friendly and has no iffy content. 

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Teen, 13 years old Written byILikeReviewingThings March 26, 2015

Appropiate Music Video And Lyrics....AWESOME!!!

OK Go Is one of my favorite bands/musicians because they make appropiate videos and songs (I don't mind innapropiate but this band ROCKS anyway). The music... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 16, 2014

One of the best from Ok Go

Ok Go is the master at quirky,fun,clean, and simple rock music. This song (and their whole album, Hungry Ghosts) deals with the ups and downs of relationships.... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE WRITING'S ON THE WALL is a catchy alt-rock track about two people in an unhappy relationship. The singer wishes to fix the relationship and admits that both sides are equally responsible but still wants to "get you high" (used as a metaphor for happiness) and see "some pleasure in your eyes" one last time. The music video features a colorful series of handmade optical illusions that involve different members of the band as they move throughout a warehouse. The video was shot in a single take, and the camera angles adjust to reveal one illusion after another to incredible effect.

Is it any good?

"The Writing's on the Wall" explores unhappiness in a relationship in somewhat sentimental terms, as it becomes clear both parties are to blame and a breakup is imminent. It's a catchy but nostalgic track, as the singer's melancholy tone conveys a feeling of lament as he remembers the good times and strives to make things better one last time. The kid-safe video is great fun and worthy of repeat views to see the optical tricks unfold. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the music video. Are you surprised the optical illusions were created without using a computer? What do you think about the collaboration that was revealed at the end of the video? 

  • What do you think about the message in the song? Does it make you feel sad, relieved, angry, or something else? 

  • Do you think the band is making a statement about perception through the trickery used in the music video? What do you think about the fact that they didn't rely on digital editing to create the illusions? How may have the video been different if they'd opted to use more post-production? 

Music details

  • Artist: OK Go
  • Release date: June 17, 2014
  • Type: Single
  • Label: BMG
  • Genre: Alternative Rock
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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