OneRepublic Delivers Enjoyable Fourth Album on ‘Oh My My’
Pop collective OneRepublic offers a variety of enjoyable, soundly produced records on their fourth studio album, Oh My My.
Pop band OneRepublic, led by singer, songwriter, and producer Ryan Tedder, have a respectable following. This began thanks to a smash hit, “Apologize.” Since the biggest hit of their careers, One Republic has been churning out enjoyable pop records including “Stop and Stare,” “All the Right Moves,” and “Counting Stars.” On fourth studio album Oh My My, the band continues to release enjoyable pop records.
“Let’s Hurt Tonight” begins Oh My My with a folk-pop feel. Considering the singles released prior to the album, “Let’s Hurt Tonight” is a bit surprising. Regardless, Tedder sings it well, infusing plenty of emotion on the refrain in particular. Buzz single “Future Looks Good” follows successfully. It’s not a crowning achievement, but enjoyable and soundly conceived by all accounts.
Title track “Oh My My” (featuring Cassius) changes the vibe of the LP. If “Let’s Hurt Tonight” and “Future Looks Good” flirt with the singer/songwriter vein, “Oh My My” is danceable, groovy, and chocked full of fun. The fun continues on the set’s best song, “Kids.” “Kids” features a bright, shimmering sound. Slickly produced, the ear candy is abundant. Among the highlights is a catchy chorus.
“I refuse to look back thinking days were better / just because they’re younger days / I don’t know what’s ‘round the corner / way I feel right now I swear we’ll never change / back when we were kids / swore we would never die / you and me were kids / swear that we’ll never die.”
“Dreams” keeps the groove rolling. Ultimately it is pleasant, but not game changing. The vibe is hypnotic, but not necessarily rousing. “Choke” is rousing, thanks to soaring vocals by Tedder, not to mention spirited choral vocals. Essentially, this is a big, powerful ballad, something the band always excels at. The chorus is epic:
“I’ll keep a picture of you on the wall, of you on the wall / and choke on the memories / I’ll keep a message of you if you call, of you if you call…”
“A.I.” features the legendary Peter Gabriel. The final pre-release single from the album, “A.I.” is inarguably the most ambitious song. Hearing it contextually, it is more impressive. The quicker pace and electrifying groove is a welcome contrast to the more powerful “Choke” the precedes it.
“Better” embraces modern pop, sounding something like a Twenty One Pilots record. Would Twenty One Pilots execute it better? Yes – Tyler Joseph would kill the rhymes particularly. Regardless, “Better” is a head-nodding joint. Give OneRepublic props for experimenting with their sound. The chorus is fire.
“Born” has its moments. The biggest rub is that it takes a while to percolate and reach the “big moment.” Still, the beat is terrific and the vocals ripe, particularly towards the end. Tedder shows off his falsetto once more on ballad “Fingertips.” “Fingertips” is minimal in sound. Follow-up “Human” features heavier production and a quicker pace.
“Lift Me Up” captures the ears from the onset. The groove is typical of OneRepublic, hence, why it’s so great. Tedder shifts between his lower register and his killer falsetto.
“NbHD” is epic. Per a tweet by OneRepublic, it’s about the refugee crisis. The refrain shed some light:
“Fly closer to heaven and far from hell / fly put your wings up so put your wings up / fly far from the city we know so well / fly so put your wings up so put your wings up / time we say goodbye.”
On early single “Wherever I Go,” the band flaunts the urban-pop sensibilities that made them a star. This isn’t “Apologize 2.0,” but gives Tedder and company another highlight in their collection. “All These Things” is as slick as everything else, characterized by mammoth drums and thoughtful choice of synths. Throw in superb vocal production, and “All these Things” lays well. “Heaven” concludes pleasantly, specifically the heavenly chorus:
“Everyone they say we don’t work / but I could swear this is heaven yeah / every day I know that this might hurt but I don’t care / this is heaven yeah.”
All in all, there’s plenty to like about Oh My My. OneRepublic treats the listener to an album filled with ‘records,’ some of which are hits like “Kids.” The biggest knock against the album is its length. At one hour in duration, OneRepublic could’ve trimmed the effort and had a tighter, better-rounded affair. Still, hard to knock the appeal of Oh My My.
Gems: “Oh My My,” “Kids,” “Choke,” “A.I.,” “Lift Me Up” & “NbHD”