The latest album from OneRepublic, Native, has it’s moments but it falls short of making the impact that OneRepublic’s last record did. It’s a front-loaded affair that’s strengths lie with the things that you’d expect them to; Ryan Tedder’s outstanding production and vocal, and yeah... some pretty catchy choruses too. It sounds really appealing at first, but unfortunately those catchy choruses don’t come in as often as you’d like them to.
Ryan Tedder knows the power of a hook far better than I do. He’s more than adequate at songwriting too. But this album just doesn’t feel as well written as the past two albums did. Waking Up was a quintessential pop album, 90% of the songs on that record weren’t just catchy, they were addictive. Dreaming Out Loud before it was the same, just not as much. Native is different. It’s a pop album with great melodies on each and every song, but the hooks just don’t catch all of the time. And when they do catch there are a couple of moments where they revert to modern pop cliches. If I have to hear about someone lighting up or being on fire again I’m going to light myself on fire. They’re not just cliches, they’re redundancies.
Most of the songs aren’t as good, and there are some annoyances, but there’s also some great music and superior production. Very few people do as good of a job getting amazing percussion sounds in pop music as Tedder. That stands out, as do some of the other sounds. There are very few instances in music where you get to hear a sound that you’ve never heard before; Tedder does that over and over on this record and his vocals on the album are outstanding.
Native isn’t as good as what we’ve heard from OneRepublic, but it’s serviceable. There are some good songs at the front of the album but the back of the record is fairly weak. It’s not a must listen, but fans of the band will be happy with the record.