Alec Reviews Music: OneRepublic goes generic with ‘Oh My My’

Alec Erickson

In Colorado Springs, you can find the home of one of the biggest pop bands in the country. From humble beginnings in the early 2000s to mainstream success today, OneRepublic has been tearing up the charts. Now, just three years since releasing their critically acclaimed record “Native,” we finally have received the fourth-studio album, “Oh My My,” and this isn’t the same band you might remember.

OneRepublic, as dated as this might sound, gained a lot of their mainstream success thanks in large part to social media website MySpace. Ryan Tedder and Zach Filkins originally formed a band back in 1996 in high school. They eventually reformed in 2002 after the pair had relocated to Los Angeles. It would be five long years before the band would put out their first record “Dreaming Out Loud” with some lead singles like “Stop and Stare” and “Apologize” launching the band onto the charts. The band’s second studio album “Waking Up” received relatively mixed reviews. With a few decent tracks, it wasn’t quite the success the band was looking for. They did receive national attention when “Apologize” off of their second studio album was nominated for a Grammy. Other than that, it wasn’t until “Native” in 2013 that OneRepublic became a household name as one of the top pop-rock bands around.

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This brings us to “Oh My My,” which is one of the most generic pop records that has been released in the last year. The record is 16 tracks long and clocks out to be just over an hour long. From front to back, this record is very much the same with not a lot of variety or depth to it at all. It’s as generic as generic could possibly be. That’s saying a lot for something that is labeled as pop, which is already the most generic genre in the world. This is one of the most different records that the band has put out to date. It’s a sum of multiple genres with a lot of hip-hop and pop elements mixed in with rock. Nothing new is here. It’s just something that wasn’t necessarily expected.

Musically, like I said earlier, OneRepublic has traditionally done well with the pop-rock genre. “Oh My My” is basically taking some of the elements that worked well in “Native” and making an entire record based off of those factors with sweeping large choir like choruses, half way decent chord progression and some decent tempos. “Oh My My” takes the four chord structure and abuses it. When you listen to tracks like “Kids,” “Better” or “Wherever I Go,” it becomes hard to distinguish the fact you are listening to a different track. They all begin to blend together and really become the same thing over and over again. The emotional power ballad tracks are clearly better for a live performance versus listening through your headphones. Either way, this is a very basic album on the musical side of things.

Lyrically, this record relies mostly on the religious undertones that OneRepublic has become known for. While Tedder’s vocals are strong enough to carry a track or two, they aren’t strong enough to carry the entire record. So, when we get tracks like “Oh My My” and “A.I.” that have guest spots from Cassius and Peter Gabriel respectively, these tracks steal the show, and it’s hard to listen to anything else on the record after listening to both of these tracks. It’s not the strongest songwriting we have seen from the band, and it falls more into the play it safe space. It’s not bad, but nothing about how these songs are written really make them stand out above the rest.

Should you listen to it?: Maybe

The main issue with “Oh My My” is that it all blends together. On an hour long record, you don’t want to be questioning whether or not you have already listened to a track before. It’s not OneRepublic’s worst work to date, but it’s also not their best. The band tried branching into a new subset of music that they haven’t had much experience in, and it didn’t fully work. This record doesn’t have its own identity and struggles to stand on its own two feet. For long time fans, I would encourage you to listen to it before you take the plunge on buying it. OneRepublic has gone a little generic, and you can easily pass up on this record.