Wednesday, June 8, 2016

OneRepublic- Native (2013)

By Sandra Tulk

OneRepublic is an American pop rock band that was formed in 2002 by lead singer Ryan Tedder and guitarist Zach Filkins. The band gained international success in 2007, when their debut album Dreaming out loud was released. Dreaming Out Loud was followed in 2009 by the band's second album Waking Up, which also produced several successful singles like ''Good Life'' and ''Secrets''. I am going to review OneRepublic's third studio album Native. The album was released in 2013. Originally, ''Feel Again'' was intended to be the lead single of the album, but due to the albums release being pushed back, it was branded a promotional single and ''If I Lose Myself'' was released as the lead single. The album was in the top 20 in eleven countries and is branded platinum in the United States and Australia.

The album is opened by ''Counting Stars'', an upbeat, self-empowering song. Tedder sings about doing things that are wrong, but feel right, he doesn't want to do what others tell him to do, but rather march to the beat of his own drum. He shows off his capabilities as a storyteller and a vocalist. The course is catchy and stays in your had for hours after listening. ''Counting Stars'' is a fine opening for a versatile album.

''If I Lose myself'' is the second song on the album. It takes the tempo down a notch in the beginning, but as the song builds, so does the tempo. By the end of the first chorus it is a full-on dance song. I would not mind dancing to it in a club or at a concert. Tedder is able to bring the song to life with his vocals and his expressive voice.

Next up is ''Feel Again'', which really takes you on a journey. Listening to it makes you want to get up and dance. To me it is a feel-good song. The claps that can be heard in the background and the tempo of the song make it a really energetic song.

''What You Wanted'' is one of the slower songs on the album and gives off a sleepy vibe, but fits perfectly between the energetic ''Feel Again'' and ''I Lived''. It gives you time to catch your breath between two dance songs that will have you up on your feet and dancing.

''I Lived'' is the next entry on the album. It starts of quietly, but you can immediately tell that it is building towards a big climax. I also really like the lyrics of the song. The message is to live your life to the fullest and not regret anything in the end. Ryan Tedder is an extremely talented songwriter and he does not disappoint with this song either. ''I Lived'' is one of my favourite songs on the album. I can picture OneRepublic performing it live, Tedder is an amazing performer, fully committing to giving the audience as good an experience as possible, every time. If he can get me up on my feet with his voice only, then seeing the band perform live would be an even more awesome experience.

''Light it Up'' gives off a little different kind of vibe than the other songs. To me it feels closer to a rock song than the other songs on the album. The sound also differs from the other tracks. It seems to be from a different era when compared to the other songs, almost giving off a 70s rock song vibe, which to me, makes it stand out. To me it almost sounds like Tedder is singing through a megaphone, giving his voice a murmuring under-tone. I don't at all mind that this song is included on the album. It stands out among the more contemporary sounding songs and is a nice breather among them.

In ''Can't Stop'', Tedder's falsetto is on full display. The claps that could be heard in ''Feel Again'' can be heard on this track also, although the tempo is slower. I don't like this song very much. Although Tedder's falsetto is impressive, there is too much of it on this track in my opinion. The entire chorus is sung in a falsetto voice and that makes it sound a bit flat to me. There is no peak, the song stays on the same level.

''Au Revoir'' is a another ballad. It begins with a piano solo and then Tedder comes in with his soft voice. The chorus give off an echoy and whispery feel. It is a nice song, but by now I would like to be already listening to something more up-beat. In my opinion there are a little too many slow-tempo songs on this album.

Next up is ''Burning Bridges''. The tempo builds up a little on this track, but is still on the slower side. I also don't like that Tedder sounds like he is screaming some of his lines during the chorus. He is trying to show off his vocal range, but at times I feel it falls flat.

''Something I Need'' feels a like an anthem for lovers. Tedder sings '' If I only die once, I want to die with you''. This album as a whole seems to be about love, death and important moments in life. I like this song, but I prefer the version of Ben Haenow, which has slight alterations in the lyrics. ''If I only die once'' has been replaced with ''If I only live once'', which is in my opinion the better version. OneRepublic's version sounds a little too morbid.

''Preacher'' has a spacey and floaty feeling. The lyrics are very personal and deep. Tedder sings about faith and about the kind of wealth that you cannot spend. The chorus is made more powerful by including a choir.


''Don't Look Down'' is the closing track of the album. Tedder's voice is very soft and it almost sounds like his voice is echoing through space. The song is mostly instrumental and shorter than the other track on the album. It ends the album on a floaty note. It gives of the feeling that this is not the end, but just the beginning. To me the central message of the album seemed to be to live your life to the fullest and because of that, this track is the most suitable ending for the album.

I liked the first part of the album more, because it was more up-beat. I expected to second half of the album be the same, but it was a lot slower in tempo. As I was listening, I was hoping that the next song would speed up the tempo or the next, but after ''I Lived'', the songs mostly stayed in the same place. I could probably relate to the first half of the album more also because ''If I Lose Myself'', ''Counting Stars'' and ''I Lived'' were all released as singles and were constantly played on the radio when the album was released as opposed to songs like ''Au Revoir'' or ''Don't Look Down'', which were entirely unknown to me. That did not take away from the quality of the album though. It was still pretty cohesive and gave off the same central message.  

No comments: