OneRepublic’s “Native” Showcases a Fresh Take on Pop Music

OneRepublics Native Showcases a Fresh Take on Pop Music

Mary McAvoy

Pop-rock bands seem to carry a curse as far as the success of their later albums. Take The Script, for instance. Their debut had a few memorable radio singles, and follow up Science & Faith was quite consistent. Then #3 was released in 2012, killing their hit streak with the overuse of rapping attempts and unintentionally corny, out of place lyrics. The Fray’s third album Scars & Stories did not have the same over-development and utter failure as The Script’s #3, but rather more of the same, taking zero risks in stylistic growth. Even Coldplay, an extremely versatile and popular band, faltered a bit in keeping listeners engaged with 2011’s Mylo Xyloto. Despite the slow decline of these bands, the genre is not completely hopeless. OneRepublic’s third album Native strays just far enough from the path to keep old fans around and peak interest in new listeners.

Native shines from the start with opener “Counting Stars.” The song’s versatile breakdown, from deep vocals and acoustic throughout the first verse to the surprising gospel influence in the bridge, gives it unpredictable and exciting quality. Track two, “If I Lose Myself” is even more powerful, merging a Calvin Harris-worthy dance beat with songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder’s inspirational lyrics. Another strong point is the seamless transition from the atmospheric bass of “What You Wanted” to the lighthearted acoustic in song five “I Lived.” The album is full of variety with hint of a psychedelic rock influence in the opening verse of “Light It Up” and a Coldplay-esque vibe to “Preacher.” Other highlights include “Life In Color,” an electric piano track that sounds as bright as its title, and “Feel Again,” a standout that seems destined to be played in every commercial this spring.

Native is an unexpected step up from OneRepublic’s previous work Waking Up. Despite the increased pop influence, the band manages to throw in a mix of different styles without breaking the flow of the album. Native keeps the listener engaged and is one of the best pop albums of 2013 thus far.