People always have certain expectations when an artist releases new material, no matter if it’s a new single or an entire album. Those expectations vary depending on how high the artist is rated by the individual. Naturally, I had very high expectations for OneRepublic’s new record, which is one of my favorite bands. And again, I was not disappointed with what I got. “Oh My My”, their fourth studio album, is a masterpiece I cannot stop listening to and is one of the best releases of 2016 – maybe even the best.
Colorado-native and OneRepublic’s lead singer Ryan Tedder (37) is (secretly) known to be a musical genius. Besides the instant classics he wrote and produced for his own band, such as “Apologize”, “Counting Stars”, and “Love runs out”, he also penned and produced worldwide chart toppers for other artists. Adele’s “Rumour has it”, Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love”, and Beyoncé’s “Halo” were all born in Tedder’s mastermind. In fact, OneRepublic’s breakout hit “Apologize”, a remix of the original version produced by Timbaland, was knocked off the top of the UK singles charts by Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” in 2007, before OneRepublic’s follow-up “Stop and Stare” reclaimed the top spot.
The “appetizer” single for OneRepublic’s new album, entitled “Wherever I go”, already proved that Ryan Tedder still has what it takes to create an instant classic. Fans of OneRepublic got exactly what they expected – a melodic, catchy song that gets stuck in your head in an instant. The relatively short song and the follow-up release “Kids”, another harmonic up-tempo tune that boasts a haunting rhythm and melody, are both immediately identifiable as they have the typical “OneRepublic sound”. The newest single off “Oh My My”, the power ballad “Let’s Hurt Tonight”, follows the same pattern.
But if you listen to the band’s newest record in its entirety, you are in for a surprise. While all sixteen songs on the standard edition are clearly OneRepublic, some of them come by with a little more edge than usual and feature unexpected artists. You can even discover some country music-inspired tunes (listen to “The Less I Know”). The choice was tough as almost every song on the album struck home with me, but here are my top five (yet unreleased) tracks I cannot stop listening to:
- “A.I. (featuring Peter Gabriel)” – This collaboration with one of the 1980’s most iconic musical artists marries futuristic electronic beats with fast electric guitar chords. My personal highlight: the portion at the end sung by Peter Gabriel alone, which almost seems like a seperate track and resembles the songs on the 1980’s “Miami Vice” soundtrack. You can totally visualize Don Johnson steering his speed boat off into the sunset!
- “Choke” – The melodic ballad captures you with its touching lyrics and powerful choral singing. A possible worldwide hit!
- “Future looks good” – The song that was already released for promotional purposes starts off with a mellow guitar intro and gradually adds instruments. Additionally, Tedder’s lead vocals become more powerful with every verse, before the song returns to it’s mellow roots at the very end.
- “Dream” – The rough, edgy electric guitar and Tedder’s low vocals at the beginning sound unusual for OneRepublic enthusiasts, but they are exactly what makes the song stand out in a good way. Their combination with the electro-pop beats during the chorus make the song unique. A “2016 OneRepublic”!
- “Better” – Another song that seems like a contemporary reinvention of the classic OneRepublic sound. Tedder combines a steady rhythm with electronic backbeats and interesting lyrics. Listen to the string-version on the bonus edition as well!
My final conclusion: Ryan Tedder can simply do no wrong.
“Oh My My” was released on October 7th on Mosley/Interscope Records.