After experimenting with their sound on 2016’s Oh My My, Ryan Tedder and his crew have returned to their roots in what Tedder calls their “most OneRepublic album” to date. “We wanted to make something where it’s like, all right, if you’ve been with us at all going back to ’07, ’08, if you’ve liked anything we’ve done, this kind of encapsulates that,” Tedder tells Apple Music. “It’s a summary of all four previous albums.” Songs like “Run” and “Didn’t I” evoke some of the band’s classic sounds as flourishes like whistles and orchestral strings are designed to remind you of some of their biggest hits.
Key to Tedder’s objective is writing pop songs that are relatable. ”I’m trying to strike a nerve, and at least somebody walks away with one or two records where they’re like, ‘Wow, that song just read my mail.’”
“For the people who’ve ever liked our sound, they’re going to find stuff on this album that’s going to connect with them sonically. And then I think we have to evolve.” Read more about how some of the key tracks on OneRepublic’s latest release came to be below.
Take Care of You “I love the melody. I love the lyric so much. I just liked the idea of ‘I take care of you, you take care of me.’ And especially during the pandemic—I wrote this in the peak of the pandemic last summer. And it just felt like a very, I don’t know, topical song.”
Forgot About You “This is a rare instance where I was really irritated with somebody, another person in the music industry, who was threatening to sue me over the absolute most inane, outrageously ridiculous claim on Earth. I said, ‘Man, I forgot he existed until this email.’ I’ve never actually written a kiss-off record, just like literally, ‘Bye.’ And that’s what it is. It is what it sounds like.”
Better Days “This was written at the beginning of the pandemic. We had the chorus almost finished, I went to Europe and when I got back the whole world changed overnight. I was just so distraught that I was like, ‘Guys, let’s write this, finish this song now, record it, and post it on Instagram,’ which I never do. Then the CEO of Fiat Chrysler and a ton of diffrent car companies hits me up, saying they want to use ‘Better Days’ for their entire spring campaign. Then NBC calls, then NFL, ESPN. The next few months it was just the theme that all these companies were using for COVID, which is weird. This whole album was written for the most part in a pandemic, but that’s the only song that actually addresses it and you can tell that we were in the middle of it.”
Wild Life “Very, very OneRepublic, like an old-school OneRepublic song. I got hit by a bunch of songwriters that were OneRepublic fans growing up, and when ‘Wild Life’ came out they’re like, ‘Man, this is my favorite type of song that you guys do better than anybody,’ because it’s very much intrinsic to our sound, not a radio single, not a single, but just a beautiful record that I love.”
Ships + Tides “This was the oldest song that was written on tour while we were touring on [2013’s] Native, believe it or not. We started that song in Switzerland. I remember where we were. And we tinkered around with it for years, could never figure out how to finish it, and then we finally did. We wanted this beautiful serenity and orchestral movement. And in the past we’ve done those types of things on albums a lot. We wanted to go out on something extremely musical and kind of cinematic.”