Waking Up

by: OneRepublic

Success is the gateway to many indulgences, not just those born of the flesh. Success opens the gates to any numbers of pretensions: sawing strings, children's choirs, minor-key piano lines reminiscent of Nigel Tufnel, cavernous U2 reverb, long ponderous instrumental sections of piano and orchestra duets. OneRepublic hits every one of these marks on their second album, Waking Up, along with numerous other excesses, including a title track that bears echoes of the Killers, only with their goofy pomp replaced with po-faced circumstance. There’s no room for humor, intentional or otherwise, within OneRepublic’ s music: everything is tightly controlled and serious, with love songs playing as blood oaths and the group’s modern R&B affectations - the one thing that keeps them from dipping into an adult contemporary morass - playing like a graceless assault, a cold clinical wall of synths. Chief songwriter/producer/singer Ryan Tedder can construct some chilly hooks out of this iciness, just like he did with "Apologize” and Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love,” but there’s no joy, only dogged diligence, an alienating insistence that texture means more than warmth or melody. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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