OneRepublic Ė Waking Up
Record Label: Mosley / Interscope
Release Date: November 17, 2009
A lot of people know this about me, but I do enjoy pop music from time to time. In fact, some of my favorite artists are pop/R&B, and while Iím always on the lookout for new music, some bands and artists have always gotten past me, such as pop-rock band OneRepublic. Theyíre a band that Iíve definitely heard of, but never really got into. Thatís the case with a lot of bands and artists, but this isnít an exception. I knew the band released a new record earlier this year, but I didnít think much of it, because I wasnít really a fan. However, I managed to find a copy of 2009ís (and sophomore) record Waking Up at my local Barnes and Noble for $4.99, which is a pretty good deal. Iíve always wanted to listen to them, and there wasnít much else that I wanted, so I picked it up. Well, needless to say, Iím glad I did. Iím not exactly in love with this band, but for what they are, theyíre pretty good. Theyíre nothing spectacular of game changing, but thatís kind of the point. Theyíre a rather straightforward pop-rock band who uses some interesting instruments here and there, like violins, pianos, etc, etc. They do switch things up, but itís still pretty straightforward. Vocalist Ryan Tedder isnít the great singer in the world, and aside from a few songs that really donít do much for me, as most records tend to have, his voice is quite solid throughout. Heís not bad at all, and he definitely shines at plenty of points, but itís never above and beyond. He doesnít really do a lot with his voice that makes it stand out much. You can be the greatest singer in the world, but if you donít have a ďpersonalityĒ in your vocals, meaning you donít really stand out in any way, you wonít be all that noticed, because there is nothing memorable about you. And thatís kind of the case with Tedder. His voice isnít bad, but heís not that memorable. There are some songs that do have really catchy hooks (such as sixth track ďGood Life,Ē which is a song that I vaguely knew, but never knew it was by them until I heard this song), but others just really fade away into the background. There are some cool and memorable moments, but they are few and far between.
The record starts with ďMade for You,Ē and itís a decent enough intro track. It starts off with a nice little piano riff, and Tedderís voice providing a nice groove, so to speak. Itís a nice intro track, until the song suddenly switches gears towards the very end. Suddenly, a childís choir appears and starts singing lyrics to the next song ďAll the Right Moves,Ē which is actually one of my favorite tracks. The hook on that song is absolutely gorgeous, but itís weird, because it feels like these two songs should just be one, instead of making one come after the other. They do lead into one another, and they do hold up as separate songs, but I wouldíve liked it much more if the childís choir started off ďAll the Right MovesĒ instead of appearing at the end of ďMade for You.Ē Itís a nitpick, but it wouldnít made a record a bit better. The childrenís choir is cool, because itís something I havenít heard too often, and it works, unlike a lot of songs. ďAll the Right MovesĒ is a rather poppy track, and so it makes sense that the only con I have about it is that it is quite repetitive. The hook can really get stuck in your head if youíre not careful. Tedderís voice is also quite great here, too, and itís one of the few times where he gives his all on a track. Following track ďSecretsĒ is another solid track, and has another very solid hook on it, too, but it does sound quite similar, which is another problem this record has. Like I said, the record does kind of fall into ďgenericĒ territory, because if you like every (or most) pop-rock band on the radio, you may enjoy this one. There are some that do stand out, but this one sort of does. Not quite, but they try. The first few tracks are actually some of my favorites, and quite memorable, but the rest of the record varies on quality. Itís never bad, but itís usually okay or quite solid. For instance, fourth track ďEverybody Loves MeĒ is okay. Itís a generic pop-rock with rather odd lyrics, because itís just about how great Tedder is, which is rather pointless, so itís not exactly a highlight. I would even say that ďGood LifeĒ isnít really a great track, either. Itís catchy, and so as far singles go, itís not bad, but itís got rather generic lyrics about living a ďgood life,Ē and whatnot. Itís a subject matter thatís been popular the last few years, so itís nothing quite new. Things like this have been done to death, so while itís not bad, it just doesnít do anything for me.
The rest of the record doesnít really do much for me, either, save for a couple of tracks. Eighth track ďFearĒ is a quiet track that does show off a nice softer side of the band, and Tedderís vocals are at a higher register, which he doesnít use for a majority of the record. The title track, which appears right after, is another great track. Itís one of my favorites, along with ďAll the Right Moves,Ē actually. Mainly because this song has a nice hook, and has a really beautiful instrumental for the last couple minutes. It slows things down, but itís a nice little interlude, so to speak. Finally, another track that I do enjoy is closing track ďLullaby.Ē Itís got the most fitting name for a closing track, too. The record doesnít put me to sleep, but itís a nice way to end it. The record is quieting down, and thatís how it should end. All in all, this is a very solid pop-rock record, but itís nothing spectacular, either. A few tracks are great, but as a whole, the record is okay. Itís not perfect, and some songs are rather generic, but itís not bad. Itís definitely a solid record, especially for pop-rock, but itís nowhere near fantastic, either. But it does make me slightly curious to listen to the rest of their discography, so thatís always a plus. Nonetheless, while I like it, it wonít be one of my favorite records at all.