I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "ok ok?" by half•alive mean?

What does "ok ok?" by half•alive mean?

“ok ok?” Lyrics Meaning

(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)

Today we're talking about “ok ok?” by half.alive, the lyrics and the music video; now, the thing you need to keep in mind before we get into this is that half.alive has seen a lot of success recently; and when it happens , especially that quickly, it can be kind of unnerving for people; especially with artists; and Josh Taylor has an artist's heart; he also has a vulnerable person's heart as well; and he's willing to share some of the stuff that has been going on with him; and in recent songs, I've heavily identified with some of what he said; speaking of that, there is going to be some really good stuff here in “ok ok?”, as we get to understand more of his perspective on the fame process; and the music video is just weird; but we're going to talk about that too.

Verse One

Far too great a toll it's played on me
the animals of destiny
I have seen it from afar
saw its teeth and felt its claws
felt it ripping me apart
to find my place among the stars

It’s so clear what is being said here; he is talking about the animals of destiny; and it's almost like he's identifying all of the things that are causing their success as like these creatures that are pushing them towards something great; he can feel how fast their band is succeeding, and how much attention they've gotten for what they do; and to be fair they do a really good job, so it's not that surprising; but when he says that he saw its teeth and felt its claws, it is a little bit odd, isn’t it?! Why is he talking about the teeth and claws? Well, it's because this animal is ferocious, and it will tear you out of where you were, and what you were doing, and it's going to put you somewhere else; that's that destiny. “To find my place among the stars”, I think that this is twofold; I think he's asking where he’s going to be when he grows up; but also he's is in the music business, right? and so I think there's them literal rockstars that he's beginning to maybe find his place among. The band’s YouTube channel and he has like 235,000 subscribers, so they're not a hugely popular band, with a ton of people; they're not worldwide renowned yet or anything like that; but they're quickly getting there for sure, and apparently, that's a lot of pressure and stress; and so this whole process is very very stressful for him, and for the rest of the band.

Verse Two

Far too great a toll it’s played on me
the poll of popularity
Trying to squeeze into a mold
just an actor in a role

So he’s trying to make everyone happy, right? People expect certain things of a pop-star, or someone who’s making music; and he's feeling like he's having to be that person that people visualise; rather than just be who he really is.

but I'm through with being you
I know it's okay to be me

So he’s talking to that person that he has been trying to be to meet people’s expectations; and that's really interesting, because I feel like that's something that I go through a lot, trying to decide which version of me am I going to be, you know? Now I've always had the ability since I was a kid to go into a room, and within a few minutes, kind of figure out who everybody was, and in a sense become all things to all people; so if there is a bunch of redneck people, I can hang out and talk about redneck things; if there is a bunch of older professors, I can go and try to be one of them; I'm not always the smoothest at it; but like it's a thing. And so I see where he's coming from; because he's feeling like his whole platform, his whole stardom, can very easily become based on this destiny that is driving him to be somebody that he's not; and he just wants to be himself.


It's okay
is it okay?
it's ok
is it ok?
through with being you
I know it's okay being me

He's basically going back over the heart of verse two.

Verse Three

How great a joy it is to see
this hidden gold and dried up streams
I'll grow in this discovery
and rest in what it'll bring

That's really interesting to me; again, I identify with what he is talking about so much it's uncanny; I haven't felt this connection with a new artist or a new song for a while.

“How great a joy it is to see, this hidden gold and dried up streams”; so there's two things here; there's gold, and there's a lack of water; one is a good thing, and one is a bad thing; and so I think what he's talking about is this process, and the difficult things that comes with it; maybe the invasion of privacy, or maybe when he feels like he's not doing what people want, so they are less inclined to think about him; so that could be the “dried up streams”; but again, maybe there's hidden gold in that; basically what he's saying is that it's not just one or the other; even in times when things are not going as well, there's something to be had.

Oh goodness! I've experienced this exact same thing; and maybe this is just me emoting onto the lyrics; but I've experienced this thing recently with my channel, you know; last year it was exploding, man; we were getting tens of thousands subscribers a month; and we were getting like over a million views a month, for several months; and it was awesome; but then recently it's been a lot less crazy; so it went down to like three hundred thousand views a month, and maybe a thousand subscribers a month; like in terms of YouTube's growth, that's not really growth, that's more like just keeping it even; and that was discouraging at first; but then I thought about it, and I think now that there's way less pressure when something like that happens; I can experiment with more things, I can respond to a higher percentage of people's comments, we can have more community interactivity, I can work on developing courses, because there's not as much pressure to make amazing videos that will keep people coming back; because it's my core fan base right there, right? So I say that not because it's a perfect match for what he's saying; but I think that even in the dried-up streams, there's hidden gold there, right? Does that make sense to you, guys? I hope so.

I think the message of “ok ok?” is twofold; I think he's saying “1- it's okay to be me”, and “2- even in the difficult times, there's something good about those things too; so let's find the good in that thing, and live in that moment; all while being ourselves”; and I actually agree, because I think that if you aren’t yourself, if you try to be somebody else, it's going to be a lot harder to find that good thing; because you're just going to be faking it, trying to keep the good times rolling, or trying to give back to them; so be yourself, where you are.

“ok ok?” Music Video Meaning

Far as the music video goes; basically, we see Josh and the guys in the band, kind of walking through this forest; they run into this airy-glassy wall thing, and it's like a boundary that's there; so they keep walking, and they do their own thing; and all of a sudden, on the other side of the glass wall, there is these two other guys; there is some interaction there with the usual dancing stuff that half.alive is kind of famous for; and I am not sure, but they don't necessarily seem friendly with each other; but it becomes more of this collaborative thing between them, it's not really clear; and then for some reason, after they've all given up trying to get through the glass barrier, Josh just kind of pushes through; it's not exactly clear how that happens, but then we find all five of them are in the same area together; and so now they're all running through the fields, until they come to the edge of a cliff; we zoom out, and they're all in this big glass dome.

I'm not completely sure what exactly this means; but I have a theory; I think what they're talking about is that we put ourselves into bubbles; and maybe there's a bubble of friends that we are with; or maybe we're in a bubble by ourselves; but part of life is pushing through into new bubbles, and to interact with other people; but then we find that we're in this bigger bubble perhaps; and so it's this sort of message of groups, how we form them, and how we connect with other people, even when there are barriers that might not have been obvious at first; and perhaps this ties into the lyrics, maybe the bubbles are the animals of destiny, which are like “you'd be over here, and you'd be over here; this is your track; this is what you do; this is who you run with” and so on; and maybe you have to push through those to be yourself, and to simpely go where you want.

Here's why I'm not going to go further into this theory though; because I believe it was tweeted by the director - or maybe it was on Instagram - that they filmed two music videos in the same day, I believe; so I think this is a two-part story, so we can expect to hear more about this, and it will make exactly what's happening there a little bit clearer; and maybe they'll tackle the bigger bubble.

So hopefully that's a very satisfying explanation to the lyrics, if not super satisfying with the music video; but I think we have a second part coming out; so thanks for reading this blog post; don't forget to check out the music video yourself, and as always, you can check out the tags for more half.alive explanations; where there is an explanation of “Pure Gold” where I get a little bit vulnerable with how I relate to it.

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