Music Review: OneRepublic's "Dreaming Out Loud"
The title of OneRepublic’s new album, Dreaming Out Loud, may prove curiously prophetic for the alternative rock band’s debut release. For the time being, the relatively new band, fronted by the talented Ryan Tedder, seems to be living every band’s dream career. Just one short year ago, the band was gaining fans and praise on Myspace, despite being unsigned.
Their music caught the ear of music multi-tasker Timbaland, who stepped in to produce their first official album and even put a remix of their single on his own recently released album. That single, “Apologize,” has flooded the airwaves and television show soundtracks and attempted to stretch the limits of how far a small band from Colorado could go on one really catchy song and the assurance of one of music’s biggest producers that they were rock’s next big act.
The album, now finally in stores since Nov. 20, is merely the period at the end of a year-and-a-half-long sentence the band has been constructing about their creativity and talent, and it holds firmly to the expectation. Musically, the album churns out potential rock single and rock single, but also contains hints of an R & B influence, aided by Tedder’s crooning vocals. While the falsetto chorus of “Apologize” has shattered Top 40 radio records, it isn’t actually the most stirring song on the album. The desperate chorus of “Mercy” reaches a soaring conclusion that touches an epic sound.
The driving piano chords that form the framework of “Tyrant” also make that track a standout. It’s difficult to find a weak song, as the album seems to improve the further one proceeds into the track list. The classic rock-sounding “Someone to Save You” leads to the softer ballad “Come Home,” and Timbaland’s soft-played “Apologize (Remix)” caps off the entire album with finality.
Along with their powerful musicianship, refreshing insights drift through the album’s lyrics. Songs talk about the loss of a friendship, being authentic and redemption, but not in the pop-friendly condescension of a band already making millions that is trying to cheaply develop a new hit song. OneRepublic’s lyrics benefit definitely from the raw emotions of songs written before the band had ever tasted the fame and media spotlight they are experiencing now.
Although not a Christian band by name, OneRepublic’s new album is everything that Christian music should be. The band members all profess their faith openly (and the band has also performed at Biola twice), and the album possesses definite influences of spirituality and deeper thinking. However, the raw vocal and musical talent displayed within the album leaves has captured the ears of many, and the powerhouse efforts of Timbaland have pushed the band’s popularity to unforeseen heights. “Apologize’s” championing of the highest tiers of radio playlists and request lines should be the goal of every Christian band who wishes the break away from the annoying stigma of Christian music as trite, recycled and uninspired. “Dreaming Out Loud” is anything but.