Ryan Tedder and the boy’s steady progression of celebrity reality.
The beginning of the year can be quite a drag in both the film and music industries. Not a whole lot gets released right off the bat in poor January. But rest assured, February has some gems for us. But for now, let us have a throwback to one of my favorite albums, Waking Up by my beloved Onrepublic.
3 years after their smash debut album, Dreaming Out Loud, Onerepublic had quite the success. What with their single Apologize reaching the top of the charts, and with lead man Ryan Tedder becoming a world renowned writer/producer for the pop industry, they had reached the peak as it was. The obvious challenge a group like this could run into is their own over-confidence. Still, the boys must have seen this as an issue since the majority of their sophomore album Waking Up addresses the problems of the status of celebrity.
In the first 4 songs alone they seem to divulge about their famed success, and actually address it in these tracks with a bit of sarcasm and raw ambitions. In Made for You they seem to indulge in this success by admittedly saying that they enjoy all the love they have been experiencing, but understand some of it can lead them astray. They next admit that something like this can be short lived, no matter how great it is, according to All the Right Moves. Everybody Love Me is a bit of a sarcastic look at ones over opinion of the life of a star, and one that is put to the extreme. Yet, in Secrets and Missing Persons 1&2 we see reality kicking in. a reality that shows that people can be lost in this fog of a celebrity, and that they strive to make right the wrongs they may have got themselves into.
The album starts making a turn after these tracks. It starts showing us a direction of hope and a place where they are no longer naïve about the path they desire to take in life. Good Life lets them reminisce about the many experiences in life they have had, and Fear shows us the innocence of their past that have brought them here. Waking Up and Marching On shows us their decision to now try to learn from their past mistakes, and look to the future with hope in their eyes. All This Time is a beautiful ballad of making a lasting relationship with the one that counts, and could even be taken in a spiritual implication to boot. We finally round it out with Lullaby, which is just that. It is a close of a chapter in the lives of Onerepublic given in a slow and lullaby-ish style.
As can be seen, the men of Onerpepublic definitely grew over the span of their albums. And that is no different when it comes to their music style either. Waking Up is by far their most artistically ambitious album to date. It is an album that delivers some catchy pop singles such as All the Right Moves, Secrets, Marching On and Good Life that are great for any fan of the Top 40 hits. But they also dive into uncharted territories that might even make the listener grow musically with the likes of Made for You and Missing Persons being almost two part songs. And with the somber yet theatrically unique manner in which Waking Up and Fear have to offer that will keep you interested. They have always been borderline pop chart/artistic indie-hippies, which is just where I like them. With Justin Timberlake like pop singles, cello solos, slow paced synthesizing ballads, and beautiful orchestra moments. This album goes the whole nine yards, and it pays of beautifully.
Onerepublic was able to achieve something that many were not able to do, grow from their status as celebrities. They were able to learn from their past in order to make the future something quite extraordinary. They understood that, while life can have fun and adventures moments, it should not take away from the relationships and the personal dignity a person ought to have. It is as if they went through a similar transformation as Solomon did in Ecclesiastes in which he saw that life was meaningless without what was important. If only they had reached as far as Solomon did in 12:13 where he sees the true value of life is to follow God. That is where a celebrity torn between worlds ought to reach!
The Quick Heads Up:
Unfortunately, as great as Good Life is, it still contains 2 uses of “bull****.” Since it is such a great song, I would recommend getting a radio edit, or manually editing yourself if possible. Secrets likewise contains a “my God” in vain.