Falling off the radar for one too many years, OneRepublic answers the call for a return, and doesn’t spare a single inch of detail to assemble a third studio album. Ryan Tedder certainly lost no pace with his writing and producing, parenting the work of numerous industry record-breakers, including hits like Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and “Turning Tables.” Now, Tedder has taken the time to release work for his chief musical love child that incorporates new sounds for a new decade with the familiar OneRepublic merriment and heartbreak the world will assuredly “feel again.”

Native

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OneRepublic
Interscope Records


An established writer in pop-brand music, Benny Blanco collaborates with Tedder and the gang on a few tracks, including the record’s second single “If I Lose Myself.” Blanco has been showcasing a new fervor for composing pop-rock music for bands, beginning with his work on Maroon 5’s Overexposed, with the hit single “Payphone.” Tedder and Blanco have crossed paths over recent years, both writing and producing for Maroon 5 and Gym Class Heroes, so it’s not surprising to see this direct collaboration on Native.

“Rumor has it” that Adele intended to be featured on the record (along with her songwriting partner in crime, Paul Epworth), but neither are on the final release of the album.

The album hosts an assortment of styles, while remaining relatively coherent — a benefit of controlling the majority of writing, producing and performing on a record. Native’s opening track, “Counting Stars,” resembles a double-time “Stop and Stare,” while “If I Lose Myself” sports new, contemporary electronics. Tedder’s inspiration for “If I Lose Myself” came from his paranoia of plane crashes.

Tedder has a superb set of pipes, and the ambient essence of the album — paying particular attention to “Can’t Stop” and “Don’t Look Down” — isn’t enough to muffle the lead singer’s fiery vocals. Speaking of “Don’t Look Down,” there are a few filler tracks that are nearly wordless and don’t particularly benefit any aspects of the record.

Regrettably, however, OneRepublic drops a few notches on the originality of these styles, exhibiting many characteristics of Coldplay’s multi-platinum worldwide success, Mylo Xyloto. Chris Martin and his bandmates won the race to releasing this decade’s contemporary electronic rock album, and the contrast to OneRepublic’s latest release exposes a few stylistic areas where Native falls short. One might say it’s trying to live “Life in Technicolor,” rather than live “Life in Color.”

OneRepublic’s emotional gusto continues to illustrate its nearly bipolar creations — a bitter declaration of expired affection with the previous hit “Apologize” in contrast with the buoyant dance revival, “Feel Again,” Native’s lead single. Per usual OneRepublic, each song sustains a uniform feeling.

The pop rock band’s third studio album — much like its previous records — is capable of stirring a great deal of empathy, so prepare to share the mind of the quintet, be it merry or morose.

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