On Aug. 27, OneRepublic, the band best known for singles such as “Apologize” and “Counting Stars,” released their first new album in five years, titled “Human.”
The album “Human” was first announced by lead vocalist Ryan Tedder in September 2019, with plans of releasing it in November of that same year. Despite putting out many singles from the album over the last couple of years, the band wasn’t ready to release the album in its entirety until August of this year due to changes and challenges with the pandemic. The 16-track deluxe album certainly lived up to its name, exploring a common theme of human emotions, struggles and experiences that are real and relatable, particularly during the unprecedented times we’re living in.
The first track of the album “Run” was released as a single on May 5. This song encapsulates the idea of not letting life pass you by. During an interview with The Sun Daily, Tedder said it’s about running after your dreams and goals and not allowing yourself to be distracted by the negativity that surrounds you.
“To me, the song is telling you, ‘Get up, get off your butt. Life is short. You’re not guaranteed another day. Get out there. Run. Wake up, look at the sun, chase it down and grab life by the horns. And own it.’ That’s my philosophy in life,” Tedder said.
Following “Run” on the album are two new songs, “Distance” and “Someday.” “Distance” is a melodious, upbeat song where we get to hear Tedder’s impressive vocal range shine through. It goes with the theme of the album perfectly by touching on the importance of human connection in our lives.
“Someday” is a very catchy, buoyant song with a lot of meaning behind it. The lyrics explore the idea of always trying to get more and be more in an impossible attempt to fill a hole in our lives. All the while, the people that matter most to us are surrounding us with community, friendship and love. This song recognizes that even though we may not see it now, someday we’ll realize that our relationships with those people are far more important and fulfilling than the constant chase for more. This track’s message is arguably the most important to the theme of the album, according to Tedder.
“The lyrics just punch you in the gut emotionally,” he said.
The next two tracks on the album are “Didn’t I” and “Rescue Me,” which were previously released as singles. They’re both high tempo songs that are great to jam out to in the car, and they successfully develop the theme of the album further. These tracks perfectly represent OneRepublic’s pop rock style. Something that longtime OneRepublic listeners might notice is that both songs have serious meanings hidden in the upbeat nature of the music, which is a classic OneRepublic move that has been used by the band throughout the entirety of their career.
Tracks six and seven, “Savior” and “Take Care Of You,” are still very captivating and snappy tunes, but they’re a little slower than the previous tracks. These songs were clearly placed next to each other for a reason. “Savior” explores how tough but necessary it can be to ask for help when we are struggling. “Take Care Of You” touches on the receiving end of “Savior” by communicating the importance of being there for someone in need and recognizing their struggles.
The next two tracks, “Forgot About You” and “Somebody To Love” seem to have been placed next to one another for a reason as well. They both touch on different angles of relationship endings. “Forgot About You” is about moving on from a relationship, while “Somebody To Love” is about how hard it is to see your past love with someone else. Although these songs cover different topics than the previous tracks, they still seem to fit the theme of the album because loving and losing is such a big part of being human.
Throughout the rest of the album, many hard topics are covered such as sadness, hopelessness and feelings of not being enough in songs like “Wanted” and “Take It Out On Me.” OneRepublic did a great job in these songs of normalizing those difficult feelings and highlighting the importance and validity of them. Both tracks are raw and relatable. The band was able to put words to experiences that many can’t describe, which will make listeners feel seen and heard.
In addition to this, the album does a great job of highlighting the hope that we still have as humans despite experiencing hard times, especially in songs like “Better Days,” “Wild Life” and “Ships + Tides.” These tracks are near the end of the album, which I think is appropriate because it begins to wrap up “Human” in a positive way.
The last two songs on this deluxe album are “Someday - Acoustic” and “Lose Somebody,” which was released previously as a single. Although the acoustic version of “Someday” isn’t much different than the original, it still adds to the album by providing a stripped version of the song where you can really focus on the lyrics and the message.
While “Lose Somebody” is a lively pop song that fits the overall theme of the album, I think it would have been better placed near the middle of the compilation. With some really impactful songs with strong messages taking place just before this last track, you expect the lyrics of “Lose Somebody” to really bring it home. However, with less strong of a message, it makes the end of the album feel incomplete.
Overall, the message of this album seems to be “We are humans, we experience hard times and hard feelings, and those are valid, but we also get to experience so many great things as a collective, and there is so much to look forward to in this life.” I believe that’s the essence of OneRepbulic’s new album “Human.”