The pop rock style of OneRepublic is hard to contend with. 2013's Native set them on the course of success, and now they're back with the well polished follow up, Oh My My.
Oh My My isn't a vastly different record from Native, but it stands its own as a solid record. That's clear right as it begins with opening track 'Let's Hurt Tonight'. The song isn't flashy and doesn't try to bee. The modest instrumental doesn't stop it from being big with grand vocals. Ryan Tedder doesn't hold back on vocals on this record at all. He hits some big notes on other songs including 'NbHD' and incorporates some great melodies into tracks like 'Dream' and above the groovy basslines of 'Oh My My'.
The album is a pop rock goldmine - 'Future Looks Good' brings back the band's signature pop vibe with a bright instrumental. The guitars in the some are fresh and ring sweetly, even including some nice work in the bridge. 'Better' shows a different side of their prowess, its badass vibes paired with a beat that pumps up its listener and empowering gang vocals.
OneRepublic doesn't stick solely to their known strengths, though. There are plenty of cool and experimental moments on the album as far as instrumentals go. Progressive rock and pop master Peter Gabriel joins the band for 'A.I.', cool electronics driving the song as it reaches its epic climax with a big guitar solo in its bridge. The solo ends and leads into a reprieve that brings the song to a sweet reprieve after the energetic nature of the rest of the song. 'Wherever I Go' channels The Weeknd, with Tedder crooning with loads of swagger above a sensual instrumental and a falsetto chorus.
The album doesn't excel at everything, though. It's particularly during the second half of the album where it starts to lose momentum and become a bit boring. Everything after 'Born' really has a standard vibe, with the exception of the grandiose of 'NbHD' featuring Santigold. There's really little to talk about with the later half of this record - it's just plain boring. It's definitely very safe, but with that they made it underwhelming. The last two tracks are sweet, but leave the album off on a very unfulfilling note. Perhaps they wanted a gap to be left for the next album to fill.
Oh My My may not end strong, but it serves as a good reminder that OneRepublic can manipulate pop rock however they want and have it still be good. It's latter half may be boring from an outside perspective, but the pop appeal of each track is unarguable. Another success for the band, but let's hope there's a little more to offer in the next record.
Favorite Tracks: Oh My My, A.I., Let's Hurt Tonight
Least Favorite Track: Human
Rating: 76 / 100