They fly under the radar. Their music pulses through the industry, marked by song-writing credits and singles that hold power long after release.
OneRepublic is the kind of mainstay you want to love, but you’ve definitely hated somewhere along the way.
“Apologize,” the band’s most famous single, was released on 2007’s “Dreaming Out Loud.” That song has definitely been on the radio sometime in the past couple of weeks, still straddling the precarious line between “throwback” (see 104.7) and something just lost in the shuffle.
But, thankfully, the boys are back with some new material.
The band released its third album, “Native,” Tuesday, a record that holds frontman Ryan Tedder’s sound style but experiments with an electronic edge.
An album’s first track is rarely the prized spot. It’s the intro, a lovely little musical interlude into the real single-worthy enterprises — largely a throwaway with enough pep to hold the immediate attention.
“Counting Stars,” the first in the lineup on “Native,” is certainly not some extra change. Actually, it’s hard to make it to the rest of the album. You repeat, rewind, repeat one more time.
Tedder, a real unsung pop genius, knows catchy. He knows how to make a hit (see Beyonce’s “Halo,” Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone”).
The first-place song, “Stars,” starts slow, a sweet, love-swept acoustic single and quickly throws into a well-paced Tedder run with killer lyrics and amazing vocals.
“Feel Again,” track No. 3, has earned criticism for its similarities to Florence the Machine’s “Dogs Days Are Over.” They do sound eerily similar, with a steady clap and the opening twinkle of electronic bells.
OneRepublic’s take, however, is to benefit Save the Children’s “Every Beat Matters” campaign, so, we can’t hate too much.
“Light It Up” comes randomly. It may have been the band’s look to a more indie, alternative vibe, but it didn’t go so well.
The next track, “Can’t Stop,” is better. It’s a falsetto Tedder with a kind of pain that bleeds through heavy drums and a few long-drawn notes.
Tedder has the kind of gift not many musicians or songwriters have been blessed with: He can make the most morose, love-hurt words sound like just another night at the disco.
“Burning Bridges” is one of those.
The real gems are the last three tracks on “Native’s” deluxe edition, all acoustics. Tedder and company recorded “If I Lose Myself” (the album’s already established single), “What You Wanted” and “Burning Bridges” with acoustic guitar and piano and the lead man’s all-but-angelic vocals.
“Native” acts as the actual dream for OneRepublic fans, or really, fans of any song Tedder has ever written — and that’s a lot of songs. He sings the meant-to-be acoustic songs, with the acoustically-suited lyrics, with a heavier bass and all the OneRepublic bells, but he also strips it down to its heart.
There are the songs that are catchy and there are the ones that are just there to be appreciated, with only one, maybe two, bad apples in the bunch.