OneRepublic: Waking Up

RIYL: Coldplay, U2, Greg Laswell

OneRepublic’s 2008 debut was full of the kind of middle-of-the-road, calculatedly inoffensive pop that’s groomed for multiplatinum success – and it found that success, selling nearly a million copies and spinning off a Top Five single in the Timbaland-assisted “Apologize.” You’d think finding its commercial stride so soon would be the only excuse a band would need to churn out a carbon copy of its debut, but give OneRepublic credit: Album Number Two, Waking Up, actually represents a surprising step forward for a band that, just a year ago, gave no indication it was even ready to learn how to crawl. Make no mistake, the band’s stock in trade remains slick, pointedly proficient pop – but the band has gotten much better at carving canyon-sized hooks out of the barren bedrock of its influences.

onerepublic edit

There isn’t a single moment on the album that could be described as unusual or surprising – heck, maybe not even strictly interesting – and that’s exactly what makes it such an easy listen. This type of music derives its pleasure from smart adherence to pop formula, and OneRepublic follows it brilliantly; what it lacks in true creativity, it makes up in the strict discipline of knowing how to get from Point A to Point B – carrying a 500-pound chorus or three – without getting lost or messy along the way. Expecting great things from OneRepublic is probably unfair. But big things? You’re listening to ‘em. (Interscope/Mosley 2009)

OneRepublic MySpace page


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