OneRepublic - Human
Sep 1, 2021 (updated Feb 4, 2022)
What do you even say about OneRepublic? They’re a big band that manages to shoot out hits, yet they don’t even feel like a part of the conversation. OneRepublic just kind of exists. I have respect for Ryan Tedder’s work as a songwriter and producer, he’s produced a good amount of things that I love, but he’s always been a mixed bag, even more so with his OneRepublic discography. Until “Human”, however, because this is pretty consistently awful.

I don’t really pay attention to album cycles unless I’m super invested in an artist, but even I took notice when I saw “Human” as an upcoming release back in 2019 and it just staying there, being pushed back more and more. Apparently this was originally announced in 2018, that’s three years for thirty five minutes of mediocre music, and for what? Did anybody even notice? Even if you haven’t kept up with this album rollout, however, you’d probably still catch on that this is a delayed album simply because it sounds like it was made years ago. This thing sounds so outdated, like it was made by people who
haven’t listened to a single piece of new music since 2016, which is the last time I remember anyone ever caring about OneRepublic. The production is colorless, the lyrics feel completely empty, and it honestly just sounds like Tedder and co. couldn’t find a hit after making however many songs and just gave up to release what they have.

What really confuses me about “Human”, however, is that I have no idea what they’re going for. This is an obvious case of pop gone wrong, but usually the root cause is pretty obvious - trying too hard to appeal to the youth demographic, relying too much on features and not on content, making your music intended for advertisements, trying a new sound or lyrical theme that’s beyond your depth, etc. But OneRepublic isn’t doing anything like that. The music is safe, it’s not relying on hype or features, it’s clearly not intended for a youth demographic (I have to believe Tedder is smart enough to know no one under thirty is willingly listening to this), and as soulless as this is I don’t hear any advertisement appeal. Really what this sounds like is background music for bachelorette style reality tv shows that would play during the sappy music, which I can’t imagine being that lucrative of a market, or why’d you want to do that when there are so many other creative avenues with much bigger returns.

I don’t know what to say. I can’t really tear apart “Human” because OneRepublic gave me nothing to tear apart at all. Like OneRepublic, “Human” just exists, and that’s this album’s failure.

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