OneRepublic
Native


3.5
great

Review

by toxin USER (20 Reviews)
March 30th, 2013 | 94 replies | 7,294 views


Release Date: 03/22/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Native is a major player in a growing revolution towards musical accountability in pop music. Who saw that coming from OneRepublic?

“If we only die once, I wanna die with/ if we only live once, I wanna live with you”

Beginning with a revelation about only living once, ‘Something I Need’ ends with the above line, finally stating the answer to the question of with whom exactly he wants to live---and, by extension, die. It’s absolutely predictable, but that’s beside the point. In the era of #YOLO, where the wisdom of carpe diem has been perverted and diluted to justify all sorts of short-sighted behavior---and keeping in mind that pop music is designed to place the listener as the narrator of the lyrics---a pop artist declaring his life’s dedication to a cause beyond hedonism or self-aggrandizement is both surprising and refreshing. Lyrically, most of Native follows suit, with a dedication to someone, likely the wife of vocalist and songwriter Ryan Tedder. Yet despite the cliché, there’s a certain degree of sincerity that is otherwise conspicuously absent from today’s pop circle. Consider the gospel undertones of lead single ‘Feel Again’ and ‘Preacher.’ Deviating from the formula, the latter is a genuine contemplation on Tedder’s faith and family. Even though the song never strays from being pop, it also never feels manufactured or processed, and the lyrics are beautiful and intimate. Even though the rest of the songs’ lyrical themes are far more conventional, they retain this aura of authenticity.

Consequently, Native is a release that should have people excited for the future of pop once again. It’s the foil of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience---in terms of sound it is relatively unassuming and meek, yet it’s equally heartfelt and intelligent. Opener ‘Counting Stars’ is the infectious, vital, and bombastic track that Timberlake’s album avoided, a smartly made anthem that shows pop doesn’t have to try to break boundaries to succeed. But Native is not anthem after anthem---from the heartfelt, violin-driven ballad ‘Au Revoir’ to the glut of midtempo tracks, including second single ‘If I Lose Myself,’ to the edgy ‘Light It Up’ (which isn’t pop at all), there is undeniable variety here, even if it’s all evenly dressed up and slicked over with a healthy dose of polish. Not everything succeeds---some of the understated midtempo tracks get drowned out by the synthesizers and other elements of production, and ‘Light It Up’ doesn’t shine until the extended outro---and it rarely stumbles upon brilliance, beyond the opener. Yet it’s different and sufficiently high-quality enough to indicate actual songwriting effort was put into the album, and Native thus never feels formulaic. This is what pop music needs right now. Luckily, the worst-kept secret in the industry is how influential Tedder is in mainstream pop’s songwriting process, and if musicians more talented than he put in as much effort as was put into Native, this may be a release ultimately more influential than even Timberlake’s.

It’s a quiet, unassuming rebellion, and one that may fizzle out soon. But Native is a major player in a growing revolution for musical accountability in pop music. Who saw that coming from OneRepublic?



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user ratings (105)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4.1)
...never again to touch the ground...


Comments:Add a Comment 
toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Because I hate bad formatting.

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1) Yes I'm aware I posted this at the worst time possible, really, in terms of getting traffic to this review. Bite me.

2) Yes, this is actually good. And yes, it's better than their other stuff.

3) No, you most likely won't like it, as long as you have your elitist tendencies clouding your judgment.

4) Yes, this reads like a 4. It's right in between a 3.7 and a 3.8. It may change. It may not.

5) No, even though I compare it to 20/20, it's not genre-defying at all. Which is probably why you won't like it as much.

6) Yes, I still think this is as good as 20/20 despite resting comfortably in the current limitations/boundaries of pop.

Good night.

StolenIdentity
March 30th 2013


239 Comments


Good review.

Have always had a soft spot for these guys but I must admit I wasn't really engaged by this on first listen. Will give it a few more plays before I form an opinion though.

StolenIdentity
March 30th 2013


239 Comments


Oh and I think you went a little overboard on your above list of defences and justifications :p

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hah, I said good night but I got caught up in a blog post. Anyways, I can see where you're coming
from, to a certain extent. It's top heavy (assuming the opener becomes a single, and it should),
with the first three songs being the singles. Like I said before, the midtempo songs aren't as great
as they could be---maybe if they stripped these songs to their core, they'd be standout.

But what I took away was a well-crafted and thoughtful album which isn't quite as enjoyable as it
could have been. Oh look, the similarity to 20/20. Just about the only negative in terms of writing
I can come up with is 'Burning Bridges' sounds a lot like 'Good Life' and 'Something I Need' sounds
like Hall & Oates (chorus) + fun. (bridge). I give them a pass because they work in spite of it. Edit:
And it was definitely more facetious than it came out. Promise ;-)

henryChinaski
March 30th 2013


2750 Comments


I really enjoyed their debut back in the day. Never really cared for the second album, but i'm gonna check this out. If I Lose Myself is pretty good. Nice review.

breakingthefragile
March 30th 2013


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

You know, I must say, I completely agree with everything you said in this whole review, right down to the rating. It's also pretty well written. I'm happy that when you do review, you do a really nice job. Consider urself posd.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

StolenIdentity
March 30th 2013


239 Comments


Just finished my second listen and despite intending to give it my full attention, I just kept finding myself drifting off. I
swear it seemed like every great song was followed by a dud!

Sitting around a 3 for me at the moment. Hopefully a few more listens will bring me around...

"Burning Bridges sounds a lot like Good Life"

Agreed! I initially thought I'd accidentally hit the shuffle button on my iTunes before the first verse began.

Ecnalzen
March 30th 2013


6530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Based off the singles I have heard, I never really found this band that interesting. Haven't heard anything from this yet
though.

Ecnalzen
March 30th 2013


6530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Double post. I think this is my first time. I thought it would be more special than it is.

cm7com
March 30th 2013


7 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So far, I think this is one of the best albums of the year. The instrumentals are very well made and the lyrics are well written. This album is seriously underrated. I actually like it a lot better than JT's new album.

Cygnatti
March 30th 2013


21352 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"I actually like it a lot better than JT's new album."

epic fail

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2013


15968 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is definitely better than JT's hype train of a new album

At the same time though, the two are completely different and shouldn't be compared in the first place.

Pretty good review toxin, glad to see someone give this the attention it deserves. I wouldn't have minded if you gave more love /
more in-depth analysis to "preacher" and "au revoir" - neither of those tracks will probably ever get the accolades that they need to
in light of Coldplay's and Radiohead's vast "I did it first" shadows.

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"At the same time though, the two are completely different and shouldn't be compared in the first place."
I have to disagree on this point. In the same sense that JT's album was compared all over the place to MBDTF despite no similarity in sound, I thought it was an apt comparison due to their (potentially) being gamechangers in the pop scene, or at least evidence of a shift towards legitimate songwriting instead of singles-chasing. I can see where you're coming from with regards to 'Preacher' and 'Au Revoir' and believe me I was, but I decided it didn't really fit the point of my review.
Either way it's good to see you aren't too satisfied with my review---now you can write one to argue your point ;-)

@cm7com,
It's a fair opinion to have. It's a well-crafted album, and the lyrics are much better than they'll be given credit for.

@Ecnal,
I'm not 100% sure this will change your opinion of them. This isn't so exciting that it'll make a fan out of a non-fan, but it's evidence that OneRepublic isn't a bad band (with, again, Au Revoir and Preacher showing that the band can write meaningful music. When's the last time you heard that about pop?)

@Stolen,
I can see where you're coming from. It's not my rating is a 4.5 or anything.

@btf,
Glad you agree, and thank you! :-)

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ugh double post.

Ecnalzen
March 30th 2013


6530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To be fair, the bands singles got overplayed a ton where I live, so I might have actually had more interest the band if I
hadn't heard the same songs over and over again by them.

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Henry, whoops didn't see your comment there. If you liked "If I Lose Myself" you should quite enjoy this album I'd say. Most of the tracks are midtempo in that vein.

@Ecnal, yeah I know where you're coming from. They definitely got overplayed here as well, though I think most of their singles were pretty good for what they are. I'm still not convinced this album will change your opinion at all---if anything you'll probably hate it once the singles gain more traction. haha

Ecnalzen
March 30th 2013


6530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am not in a situation where I have to listen to pop radio anymore (like because of work, etc.). It's been nice, lol. I do remember thinking this guy had a great singing voice. I will give this a try.

Great review. I always like reading your stuff.

toxin.
March 30th 2013


12389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mhm, see what you think, then. I predict you 2.5'ing this, possibly a 3 if you're feeling generous. And thanks buddy, I appreciate it!

Cygnatti
March 30th 2013


21352 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Apologize rules.

Sometimes, I heard so many covers/remixes on the radio, I can't tell which is the real song tbh.



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