Dreaming Out Loud


Interscope, 2007


REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


Los Angeles pop-rockers OneRepublic’s recent rise to notoriety is the picturesque tale of 21st century success: the group formed in 2003 and quickly went on to garner a massive fan base courtesy of MySpace, got hooked up with Timbaland to produce the tricked-out remix track ‘Apologize,’ then released their debut album hot on the heels of the smash hit single.

For all the hype leading up to Dreaming Out Loud’s release, the album itself is somewhat of a clunker, a bit too reminiscent of the plaintive stylings, catchy choruses and slick production of the Fray and Keane. Still, when the band is on, it can churn out some solid pop songs: the original “Apologize” is a radio-friendly gem with its heartfelt instrumentation and soaring vocals, all tugging, twinkling piano chords and bittersweet lyrics: “I loved you with a fire red / Now it’s turning blue / And you say ‘Sorry’ like the angel heaven let me think was you.”my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Meanwhile, Timbaland’s ubiquitous remix lends an edge to the lovelorn track, mixing in his signature stuttering beats and swirling synths that complement lead singer Ryan Tedder’s gorgeously crisp, evocative voice.

Second single “Stop And Stare” is another standout, boasting stylishly clean production and a catchy, anthemic chorus set to solid, driving drumbeats and ringing guitars reminiscent of U2. It’s a welcome departure from the much less solid opener, “Say (All I Need),” which gets bogged down early on with unremarkable lyrics, only buoyed by Tedder’s consistently affecting vocals.

The problem here is a lack of variation: on their own, each song for the most part is a lovely slice of alt-rock balladry, but after five or so doses of the same heartfelt lyrics, soaring vocals and flickering guitar work, everything starts to become a blur, albeit a sonically stunning blur.

Tracks like “Tyrant” and “Goodbye Apathy” are made all the more entertaining for their foray into innovation. The former finally features OneRepublic in high-tempo, a tension-filled mixture of throbbing drums and ratcheting guitars that backdrop  Tedder’s voice as he explores a yelping wail and a smooth falsetto. “Apathy,” meanwhile, with a multitracked, stick-in-your-head chorus and a slickly abrupt ending is all crisp containment, a welcome contrast to the sprawling subdue of the album’s previous songs.

Dreaming Out Loud by no means breaks ground, but showcases well a band with the ability to craft meaningful pop songs; for all its repetitiveness, there are many glimmers of what the future has in store for OneRepublic, and overall, the band is definitely more noteworthy than simply a copycat of The Fray or a Keane-lite.

Rating: B-

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© 2008 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Interscope, and is used for informational purposes only.