OneRepublic has been one of the biggest alternative rock bands since 2007 and finally are back to prove they are here to stay with their third full-length record Native. This album is full of radio hits, irresistible hooks, and memorable melodies, all necessary elements to keep a band like OneRepublic in the limelight. They manage to throw in unique twists to their sound while still remaining true to their trademark style. Native starts this year off remarkably for OneRepublic.
Right from the very beginning, Natives crashes in strong with a refreshing opener, “Counting Stars.” This iconic track has dominated the radio for months now, and for obvious reasons. The intoxicating melody is fun and exciting, and lead singer Ryan Tedder does an incredible job mastering vocals. His vocal range blows minds as he reaches difficult high and low notes effortlessly. This style is an amplified version of OneRepublic’s previous albums; they continue this pop power with “Love Runs Out.” The distinct beat is set with a danceable keyboard rhythm and is complemented by yet again Tedder’s phenomenal vocal hooks. Even as they end this record, the track “Life In Color” has a spirited and lighthearted mood that adds a new joy to this band’s pop rock potential.
This colorful sound is noticeably different from the album’s tracks like “Light It Up” which highlight the band’s signature style. This track uses more of a rock and roll vibe with distorted guitar riffs and vocals to remind fans of old school OneRepublic. It’s place in the middle of the album and is quite a change of pace from the earlier tracks, but is used ingeniously to highlight their fantastic variety.
“Counting Stars” was not the only mainstream hit from Native; “If I Lose Myself” and “Feel Again” are a couple other singles that gained popularity for their atmospheric mood. This is a new sound for OneRepublic that they have no problem succeeding in. The building synth instrumentals and flowing vocals put listeners in a dreamy state of mind.
They use this style with even more original methods as well. “I Lived” uses sharp acoustic guitar riffs and a slow tempo build to give off an adventurous feeling, supplemented by the soothing vocal hooks of the refrain. This liberating track is only one of the empowering masterpieces of Native, “Can’t Stop” uses this approach in a completely opposite way. This track has a slow and groovy beat to supply cooling ambiance while the effects added to the falsetto vocals enhance the musical escapade. These memorable moments on this album prove OneRepublic’s talents like never before.
Native makes OneRepublic’s message very clear. This band is unique, versatile, and here to stay. With the wave of new indie/alternative rock bands crowding the scene, these old pros stand out by livening their sound while still keeping their individual style intact, which is very hard to do. CrypticRock gives this record 4.5 out of 5 stars.