When you look at the album cover, you would understand why it’s called Native but it’s hard to figure our what an image like this would have to do with this increasingly popular American rock band.
Setting the stage for what’s to come when you hit ‘play’, the artwork for the album stemmed from the idea of how different the members of the band are from each other and that each one of them is like a different animal. Frontman Ryan Tedder is represented by a fox, drummer Eddie Fisher by a mountain lion, rhythm guitarist Drew Brown is an owl, bassist Brent Kutzle (who came up with the title of the album) is a gazelle and lead guitarist Zach Filkins is portrayed as a bison. This is OneRepublic’s third studio album and was released at the end of March. The album’s opener “Counting Stars” is a superb offering with all the stomping heightening its effect. “If I lose myself” that follows is an anthem in itself.
“Feel Again” is a feel good number, the kind that has a captivating hook. “I lived” is as energetic as the title suggests. It’s funky and fun. “Light it up” is a heavier song as compared to the others on this album. It’s got that 70s rock vibe to it and the musical passage at the end is irresistible.
Presenting some synth elements is “Can’t Stop”. But before you think it’s all pop because of the handclaps et al, you will realise the band’s signature potency remains. “Au Revoir” is an elegantly orchestrated piece. Delicate yet compelling at times, this song is a sure winner.
With ‘Burning Bridges’ that features noticeable pop elements, Tedder creates a song that is fresh and musically viable. “Something I Need” is another atmospheric anthem on this record. As one would expect, “Preacher” is a soft and charming ballad. The song is about Tedder’s grandfather.
What you would really enjoy is the choral harmony of this piece. It’s the kind of song one would imagine is sung in a church.
The album finishes well with “Don’t Look Down” which is largely an instrumental song. Overall, OneRepublic have put together a concrete and cohesive album. With Native , Ryan Tedder has doled out some catchy yet meaningful songs in the alternative rock realm.
As much as he preserves his signature sound, he segues effortlessly into a slightly unfamiliar pop territory. There’s not much to dislike about Native . The album is sure to have fans hooked the first time around.