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Dreaming Out Loud nothing new, nothing awful

Stephanie DePrez | Thursday, November 29, 2007

Every six months or so a new band comes out that has been picked, produced and perfected by a record company using the standard pop formula. At first glance, OneRepublic seems just that -a band groomed for success. Upon further review, though, it’s clear this band chose a different path – the MySpace music revolution. Google OneRepublic and the official Web site isn’t even on the screen. You have to scroll down to find it. It operates from its MySpace page, demonstrating how little record companies really needs to do today.OneRepublic has a story quite similar to that of another wildly successful band, The Fray. Like the Denver band we’ve come to love, OneRepublic began in Colorado when Ryan Tedder met up with one of his high school buddies and started the band in Colorado Springs. They moved to Los Angeles and began working with Timbaland, appearing on his album in a remix of their song “Apologize.” They quickly began to dominate MySpace and have finally released a full album, “Dreaming Out Loud.”It’s easy to blame OneRepublic for its formulaic sound, just like every other pop group today, but Tedder, the brain behind the band, has worked in the business for years. He’s written for artists like Hilary Duff and Natasha Bedingfield. Instead of blaming him for imitation, it might be time to give Tedder the recognition he deserves.”Dreaming Out Loud” opens in epic fashion, as synthesized voices vaguely reminiscent of Gregorian chant flash back and forth. Curiosity is killed, though, when the radio mainstay thumpity-thump beat comes in, and from then on the album continues down Formula Road. If you are a fan of Jack’s Mannequin, Maroon 5 and Coldplay, this album is yet another gem for the post-pop revolution. If you are searching for new music and a new sound, turn back now.The first three songs are pleasant enough. The lyrics are applicable to anyone’s situation, and the melodies are somewhat reminiscent of much of what’s been done before. But then comes number four, “Apologize,” and you realize this is the pop hit you’ve been jonesing for. It begins with intense strings, then the back beat, and finally the piano riff that has rocketed this song to the Top 40 and has broken the record for most airplay ever. This song is doomed to be as ubiquitous as “Soulja Boy,” so you’d better get used to it.The rest of the album continues in similar fashion, with indulgent predictability oozing from every song. The one surprise is the track “All Fall Down,” a seemingly simple song that can actually pass as poignant if separated from the other tracks. This is the song worthy of an indie film soundtrack, or the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy.Whether you love or hate the formula, it exists because it works. There is nothing new here, but nothing awful, either. The casual listener will be quite pleased with this album. OneRepublic will likely be everywhere, overcrowding morning talk shows and MTV, until the next New Band manages to recapture method music in 13 tracks or less.