Sunday, November 15, 2009

Album Review: OneRepublic "Waking Up"

OneRepublic, the Ryan Tedder-led band famous for their Timbaland-produced hit "Apologize," are back this week with their second album Waking Up. Back when their first album Dreaming Out Loud dropped, I pounced on it, having been intrigued by their unique ability to merge the sound of a rock band with radio-friendly beats & soulful vocals. Aside from a select few tracks, however, I found that album quite boring with little variation between tracks. I wasn't about to give up on them though, especially when they released their first single "All The Right Moves," which showcased obvious growth. Listening to Waking Up, I'm really glad I stuck by them--so much so that it even surprises me!

The album starts off with "Made For You," an intro of sorts. The first half of the track is a lovely mellow warmup, while the second half includes creative elements of "All The Right Moves" that lead into the song. Next up is the passionate ballad "Secrets," followed by the funky, upbeat "Everybody Loves Me." Ryan shows his voice off on this song in ways that I don't recall ever hearing before, but wish I had! "Missing Persons 1 & 2," as suggested by its title, is another bipolar track ... in the most wonderful of ways. The beginning features ethereal vibes that lead into a neat, instrument-heavy section.

"Good Life" is most likely my favorite cut on Waking Up. The song's structure really catches my ear, as do the lyrics. The piano-driven "All This Time" also strikes my fancy. More piano & strings weave together to create the gorgeous "Fear." Ryan's soulful vocals then drive the uptempo title track "Waking Up" to a beautiful string section that I live for. The strong "Marchin' On" leads us into closer "Lullaby." This tender ballad is yet another incredible side of OneRepublic to love.

Waking Up is an eclectic effort from the band that also represents a very cohesive body of work. OneRepublic shows a large amount of maturity here & Waking Up really has them coming into their own. If you had to box OneRepublic into a genre, it's not one I typically listen to, but Waking Up is an album that can be enjoyed universally because it's just so darn irresistible. And for that, I thank OneRepublic, as I have woken up indeed!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars