Best Beat

Setting the Rhythm for Your Music

One Republic: Native Sons

One Republic: Native Sons

If there’s one thing to remember when writing a great song, it’s that you need great melodies. And those melodies need to be arranged into great pieces of music. And that music has to be well-performed and well-recorded. One Republic has more experience than nearly any five bands at creating great music. With lead vocalist/chief songwriter, Ryan Tedder, having worked with Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Rhianna and Beyonce; the songwriting savvy that comes naturally to One Republic is self-evident. Also evident is Tedder’s plaintif, agreeable tenor, taking songs from emotionally grounded into stratospheric falsetto high drama.

With the release of ‘Native’, One Republic puts a little pep in their step, offering more upbeat numbers than on previous releases as with the gorgeous, propulsive ‘I Lose Myself’ and ‘What You Wanted’, both of which showcase Tedder’s big tenor vocals. With a sound that nods to 80s uber-pop outfits like Simple Minds and Big Country, One Republic is smart enough to know that they can stand on the shoulders of past pop because absolutely no one else really is. Even with the decade of decadence being 20-plus years removed, there is still a bit of a musical stigma attached to 80s sounds. While One Republic does not sound like an 80s band, the influence is evident in every good way with monster melodies and big drums and percussion creating a signature sound for the group.

Additionally, there is an organic, tribal throb to many of the tracks that seems to hearken to the ‘native’ title and feel of the album and artwork. It grounds the work and with some of the lo-fi treatments, it creates cool, intimate and edgy textures on at least a half-dozen of these cuts. While Tedder and company have not come out and spoken on whether a Native American sonic thread runs through a lot of the work, the sounds of quasi-aboriginal percussion would seem to indicate that there is that influence involved.

To be sure, One Republic’s signature take on power ballads like ‘Au Revoir’ and ‘Burning Bridges’ is still present on this album, encapsulating all the big percussion, power vocals and mega-melodies we’ve come to expect. The ‘Native’ album as a whole, however, has an expanded feel, showing the Colorado band stretching out into newer, more upbeat and imaginative territory. With bonus tracks and a bigger sound, Ryan Tedder and company continue their search for pop/rock perfection.