November is a big month for music, and last year was no exception. There were many big artists that released albums in November, and one of my favorite albums that came out last November was Waking Up by OneRepublic. The album was highly anticipated but never really caught on fire with sales or airplay, which is a shame as I thoroughly enjoy the album and think it is very underrated and under-appreciated. The album only managed to peak at #21 on the US Billboard 200, and #29 on the UK album charts. It is better than that, really.
Ryan Tedder is not only the lead singer, but had a major role in the writing and producing of all 11 songs on the album (plus bonus songs), which is very impressive. The album opens up with “Made For You” which concludes with a chilling performance of the chorus by a choir of children. It is one of my favorite moments on the album. “Marchin On” is an uplifting track, about moving on when life gets difficult. The song is built upon a marching beat, which works sonically and thematically. “The Good Life” is quite the opposite, highlighting some of the good times the band has experienced since their success. But the track and sentimentÂ is not pompous, boastful, or insincere, but honest and almost serves as an invitation to join in on the fun and the good good life. The ballad “Fear” is another great track, very haunting. It has an eerie quality that is heightened by the use of piano, and the lyrics. Great song! “All This Time” is another great song, a slower song.
The album has had two singles so far, the first being “All The Right Moves” and the current single, “Secrets”. The lead single, “All The Right Moves” is another highlight on the album for me. The song is very energetic and has the trademark OneRepublic sound. The song is quite dramatic, sans the bridge, which is basically just Ryan and the piano, adding variety and making the song interesting. “Secrets” is quite dramatic in the arrangement, and builds the intensity of the emotions. It is an interesting song and doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio now. It has an interesting tempo that is driven by violins and cellos. I love the arrangement and vibe. Hopefully it will receive some airplay and will help promote the album.
There are several versions of the album, including a Deluxe version that has 4 additional songs. All four songs are great and should have been included on the album in my opinion. “Sucker Punch” is an upbeat song that sounds similar to early Coldplay, and instantly gets stuck in your head without being repetitive. It always captures my attention and I never tire of hearing it.
“It’s a Shame” is another song on the deluxe edition, and is probably my favorite from the 15 tracks. It is another mid-tempo ballad, and Ryan’s lyrics, vocals and emoting are amazing. It is about unrequited love and beautifully written. You really feel for Ryan when he sings. Ryan Tedder has written some of the best ballads of late, (“Halo” for Beyonce, “Already Gone” for Kelly Clarkson and “Battlefield” for Jordin Sparks), and this is another brilliant ballad.
It is no big secret that I am a fan of Ryan Tedder. I think he is one of the best song-writer and producers out there right now. And he’s not a bad singer either. I was eagerly waiting for this album and was not disappointed, but impressed. If you are a fan of their debut album, Dreaming Out Loud, you will not be disappointed. Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic managed to maintain their artistic stamp on the follow up, as well as the lyrical content. The band sounds amazing and Ryan Tedder’s vocals are on point. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Waking Up.