Oh My My (Deluxe Edition)

Oh My My (Deluxe Edition)

A decade previous, after OneRepublic broke out with the Timbaland-assisted power ballad “Apologize,” few may have guessed that the band could get so groovy, funky, and frisky. Even fewer may have predicted a Peter Gabriel collaboration. But anyone paying attention to the hitmakers’ trajectory could see that the Colorado pop-rockers certainly had it in them. With each successive album, OneRepublic was getting more comfortable breaking its own rules—as long as there was always a sticky hook behind the madness. Its fourth album brings together a wild mix of sounds, wraps it all in the band’s widescreen intensity, and lets it loose on the dance floor. Similarly to its previous three albums, 2016’s Oh My My kicks off with a boisterous banger. “Let’s Hurt Tonight” builds dramatically around frontman Ryan Tedder’s voice, which somehow sounds bigger than ever as he sings about love equating to pain, one of several dichotomies that threads the album together. Another is the past and the future—the former encapsulated in nostalgic electro-pop on “Kids” and the latter in Coldplay-esque rapture on “Future Looks Good.” But the central theme, man vs. machine, reveals itself most potently on the hip-shaking hit single “Wherever I Go”—“I feel alive when I’m close to the madness” may just be one of Tedder’s great lines—and in a few of the album’s surprise collaborations. Prog-rock icon Gabriel shows up on the propulsive synth-funk throwback “A.I.,” adding a deep sense of what may be either doom or delight: “It’s all too real,” he sings, “you make everything inside me feel.” Elsewhere, the band channels unfiltered euphoria with the help of French house duo Cassius on the thrilling robo-dance-punk title track. Through it all, though, the human remains victorious, and OneRepublic has never sounded so tenderly romantic as it does alongside The xx’s Romy Madley Croft, who puts her dreamy six-string spell on the ethereal beauty “Fingertips.”

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