[Mosley Music Group, Interscope Records]
Key Tracks: “Counting Stars,” “Feel Again”
Ryan Tedder gives people worms. Earworms. You know, those gosh darn catchy songs that get stuck in your head and stay there for what seems like forever. These songs can be heard on every radio station across America. Teenagers trying to show off their deeper side quote their lyrics on Facebook, and people looking to get YouTube famous upload countless covers to the Internet.
Well Ryan Tedder is the man responsible for writing earworm hits such as Beyoncé’s “Halo”, Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” and Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield”. When he’s not writing or producing hits for people like Kelly Clarkson, he’s kicking back with the boys of OneRepublic laying down tracks for their junior album Native, a long ways away from their days as an unsigned band on MySpace.
The Colorado Springs band first reached superstardom back in 2007 after Timbaland dropped a remix to their song “Apologize” on his album Shock Value. After that “It’s too late to apologize/It’s too late” could be heard on nearly every radio station over the next year. Fans of the famed rapper/producer flocked to the OneRepublic’s breakout album Dreaming Out Loud, gushing over other hits like “Stop and Stare” and “All We Are”.
Then in 2009 the boys put out a new project, Waking Up, with a whole new slew of songs like “All the Right Moves”, “Secrets” and “Good Life, that seemed to be tailor-made for radio success. Now with their new album Native they’re staying true to their pop/rock roots that gave them fame but with a folk twist on trend with artists such as Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers.
The folksy vibe is heard right away with their opening track “Counting Stars”, which starts off with Tedder’s soft soulful crooning that leads into a foot tapping, head nodding jam that’s even more infectious than their previous hits.
“Can’t Stop” breaks up the string of upbeat airy ballads with some voice manipulation and a chilling falsetto. In “Preacher” we see a different side of Tedder, as he reflects on his childhood growing up with spiritual lessons from his grandfather who was a pastor. The story’s lyrical narrative is told in a beautifully catchy way that pairs nicely with the charm of his story.
Native as a whole is a weekend road trip must, packaged in artsy animal spirits and then wrapped in a bow. OneRepublic stays true to the music their fans love with a janglin’ twist that’s sure to usher in new fans and be summer playlist staple
This album review was written for ACRN.com and published on March 31, 2013.