It's been two years since the debut album of piano-rock sensation OneRepublic hit the charts, and expectations were high as the group's new album, "Waking Up," was released in November.
OneRepublic's first album, "Dreaming Out Loud," was marked mainly by the hit single "Apologize," which did not become popular until it was later mixed with the hip-hop star Timbaland into the chart-topping song. With this release, OneRepublic made it big, and publicity for the band soared. Soon after, "Stop and Stare" became one of the most popular songs in the country. "Dreaming Out Loud" showed us what OneRepublic's style was, with Ryan Tedder's impressive falsetto being complemented by the swooning guitars and ethereal piano in the background.
However, as the anticipation for its new album grew, OneRepublic released a few singles that showed an entirely different side of the Colorado-based band. "Everybody Loves Me," for instance, is a sharp contrast to the first album. Instead of the deep, pensive lyrics accompanied by the swaying background instruments, this single instituted electronic drums and twanging guitars. Tedder, whose voice is usually soft and clean, sounds almost whiny, and the lyrics are more literal.
Yet to judge OneRepublic by this single alone would be entirely unwise, as "All the Right Moves," "Good Life" and "Secrets" all interweave the past styles of the band with their new outlook, creating a fresh sound. This new mood correlates with the names of the albums. Tedder has been quoted as saying: "We have a song called 'Waking Up' ... It just seemed ironic because the last album was called 'Dreaming Out Loud.' Now we have a song called 'Waking Up.' It was just kind of like this stupid play on words. So we said, 'Hey, that's what the album feels like. It feels like we've woken up to where we are now.' "
Personally, I find OneRepublic's music extremely enjoyable. The changes in the music are a success, even though the band wouldn't have gone wrong with its previous style. A major thing I like about the new album is the variety. "Dreaming Out Loud" had extremely good music, but many of the songs sounded the same, with the same message. But OneRepublic's sophomore album has an array of different sounds, messages and moods. Some of the songs, such as "Lullaby" and "All This Time," revert back to the band's original sound, with Tedder's voice creating a calming atmosphere. In contrast, songs such as "Made For You" and "Marchin On" are much more upbeat, with lighter lyrics. The title track, "Waking Up," is a masterful blend of music, with the organ/vocal intro leading seamlessly into a guitar-dominated body, complemented by the relentless beat of the drums.
OneRepublic has shown us that even though they are a smaller market band, they are here to stay. Their deep lyrics accompanied by their fine musicianship seals them a place in the music industry. Their fresh styles and new upbeat music make this album, for me, a great hit. It may be "too late to apologize" if you haven't checked out "Waking Up" yet, but as long as you make "all the right moves" and make it a point to look up this CD, you won't be disappointed.
My rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Kimball Gardner is a junior at Clearfield High. E-mail him at email@example.com.