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Album Review: OneRepublic – Native

Now, I understand that OneRepublic make pop music. It’s not supposed to be groundbreaking or progressive; it’s merely there to sit in the background while people go on about their everyday activities. That being said, OneRepublic’s new album, Native, is absolute fucking garbage.

‘Counting Stars’ (One of the singles) opens up the album with Ryan Tedder’s voice and an acoustic guitar; I’ll admit it was a promising start but a few seconds pass and… you can easily hear this song having a dubstep remix applied to it and it would most definitely work. In fact a lot of the songs that follow would work very well in a club like scene.

Basically ‘Counting Stars’ sets the tone/song structure/mood for ev­ery other song on the album. It almost felt like each song was a re-write of the preceding song, as if the songs were written for the pure purpose of achieving single status, or stabbing in the dark so to speak.

The song formulas always follow the same structure: Quiet Verse -Loud Chorus – Repeat Chorus- Repeat Verse 1 – Chorus – Repeat Chorus ‘till the song finishes. The songs themselves never evolve into anything besides the main riff or a lonesome kick drum: It’s faceless and soulless dribble.

The overall tone to the album is intended to be very positive, optimistic and uplifting, you know:

‘Something bad happens! Never Fear! Something Good Will Hap­pen! Love conquers all!’

The topics are very safe; never breaking away from love, heart­break, and the need of someone to hold. After 3 or 4 songs the album gets extremely repetitive.

The album production itself gets to be draining after a while too. The heavy reliance on synthesizers to fill in empty spaces make the songs really tacky.

But, there is one song, ‘Au Revoir’, which actually uses the synths and strings effectively by coating and enhancing the character of other instruments rather than swallowing them and taking over. Sadly, this song too falls flat on its face through lack of evolution. It harkens back to their big single ‘Apologize’.

‘Light It Up’ is the most bad-ass song on the album. It has a Beat­les/Zeppelin feel to it. Although it follows the cliché ‘Love is a Drug’ theme, it is still the stand out track; the one song that wasn’t trying to be a hit single turned out to be the best.

‘Preacher’ was the weakest song. Take the chorus: “When I was a kid my grandfather was a preacher/Yeah he’d talk about God, he was something of a teacher”

Drenched in auto-tune, it’s just a lame attempt at appealing to religious folk.

Obviously, OneRepublic are going through that ‘Technicolour’ image and sound phase, much like Coldplay, but have simply churned out watered-down, cliché-infested shit. Perfect for fans of Maroon 5 and to anyone who feels The Killers are way too hardcore. I can only imagine the band being in a room with their record company, noting down popu­lar production techniques amongst mainstream ‘Indie’ bands, watering it down and producing Native.

My favourite line that sums up OneRepublic: ‘I don’t think the world is

 

Nigel Winterman

The author Nigel Winterman

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