It is fitting that pop bands often revisit their style and sound impressions, continuing a certain direction that in turn defines their overall musicianship. If this is the case with OneRepublic, their album Oh My My is representative of that, and sadly, for all the wrong reasons.
The band have modelled their image and musical persona around a larger than life pop focus, with the clear indication that stadium domination is the greatest aim in view. With that in mind, their fourth studio record displays an attempt at sounding different though weaves back into an inescapable feeling both repetitious and slack. Despite choosing to resort back to instruments over laptops and computer generated instrumentals like so many pop bands show, it’s difficult to overlook the simplicity and lacklustre disposition in the songwriting and general execution. Tracks like Let’s Hurt Tonight follow a dull acoustic rise and false pride, holding the bleak moments of chorus vocal “woos” ransom as simple cymbal crashes seem to negate any originality. Whereas the next track, Future Looks Good sounds so similar to its predecessor that they could have easily been blended into one to save album sleeve real estate.
Dream actually begins strikingly tasteful, with a funk-laced bass line and vintage snare clap. This eventually breaks down into a guitar riff glaze and synth nod, though sharply dispels half way through it’s duration to an unnecessary acoustic guitar interruption with a weak backing vocal form. A.I. rests on the vocal credentials of pop legend Peter Gabriel, harnessing a true 80s synthetic texture, planting it among the better tracks on the record. There are not many of these, however, with tracks like Better providing clear evidence – a limited and cheerless chorus line and basic drum grasp highlighting the track’s many trivial moments. The records truest saviour is the mighty NbHD featuring the ever-vibrant Santigold – actively animating with faint guitar licks and a healthy drum break while the vocal lengths generate a proper airiness. Santigold’s contribution, whilst being short, packs a delicate and generous punch – accentuating the rest of the track’s course with commendable legitimacy.
The songs on Oh My My feed the appetite of over-saturated pop hunger. In many cases, certain tracks derail any sense of worthy creativity and musical reform. In saying that, there are patches of head-nodding impulses, though, for the most part, OneRepublic continues to relate their stadium-filling thirst with their radio play dominance – while only a handful of honest and interesting songs remain behind.