Native (Deluxe)

Native (Deluxe)

OneRepublic has never been shy about its ambitions nor its perfectionist tendencies. Before committing to the release of album number three, the band posted that “it has to literally be the best thing we’ve ever done.” Those are especially big words for a Grammy-nominated group with half a dozen hit singles under its belt and a frontman who co-wrote and co-produced Beyoncé’s “Halo,” Adele’s “Rumour Has It,” and many other pop-chart standouts. At this point, the trickiest thing for Ryan Tedder to juggle was the songs for others vs. the songs for his own band. But on 2013’s Native, his stratospheric vision for OneRepublic is abundantly clear: to be a source of entertainment and the pure celebration of life. An extension of the band’s breezy 2009 hit “Good Life,” Native packages unbridled optimism in stratospheric pop-rock, impeccably polished with shimmering keyboards and topped with life-affirming gospel rave-ups. The big twist here is in the lyrics—many of which view life in the face of death. “I had a dream the other night about how we only get one life,” Tedder intones in a lullaby-like croon on “Something I Need,” before the song builds into a swelling, swaying sing-along: “If we only die once, I wanna die with you,” a choir pipes in. This romanticism pops up throughout the album. On the EDM-pumped “If I Lose Myself,” he repeats a similar mantra: “If I lose myself tonight, it’ll be by your side.” Such grand statements come with even grander arrangements. The band deftly moves between churning alt-rock (“Light It Up”), skyscraping electro-soul (“Can’t Stop”), stomping folk-pop (“Counting Stars”), and a little bit of all of it for the triumphant “I Lived,” the ultimate anthem for living every day like it’s the last.

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