It’s been a long time coming since I’ve seen your face…
And so begins one of the more difficult lists I’ve have to develop. I knew the day would come, heck, I desired the day to come, but difficult it remains. Choosing a top 10 list for your childhood and present Favorite Musical Artist’s is never simple. But I’ve always had a strange obsession with the “what’s your favorite / Best Of” game. So I oughtn’t run away now, what with Award Winning Ryan Tedder and Co. at the plate. But why choose to rank them now of all times, you ask? Well, the timing is rather ideal, due to the fact that I get to see them live yet again in exactly a month. While it won’t be at my favorite venue of theirs this go’round (Red Rocks in Denver), it’ll be a thrill nonetheless. So, in preparation for my good fortune, I’ve blessed you with the very best of the best (if you’re new to the band, take note). Unless my first time saying it wasn’t clear enough, this is no easy task. Therefore, I permitted myself two bonus selections for today’s special list.
As always, cutting out selections is always brutal, but here are a handful of Honorable Mentions that JUST missed the mark: Love Runs Out, Goodbye Apathy, Fingertips, Light It Up, Burning Bridges, Say (All I Need), Marching On, Come Home, Ordinary Human, (even the new) Rich Love (is quite enjoyable), and let me tell you, it nearly killed me not to include All The Right Moves, but it goes to show how much I love them when some incredible ones such as these aren’t included.
So, without further ado…
12. Counting Stars (Native)
For many, this might come as a slight surprise. How could perhaps their most prominent single not rank higher than last place? The answer is simple; overplay. I know that’s not fair, but it is true. In fact, I nearly cut it from the list due to this unfortunate truth. But I had to remind myself that in spite of the radio trying their best to kill this gem, that it is still, simply, a gem. One that at the time of it’s release was a fresh, original, and all around addictive tune that not only worked as a great and game changing single, but also headed the way perfectly for 1R’s new direction and style.
11. Heaven (Oh My My)
Suffice it to say, Oh My My has not been my favorite album in 1R’s repertoire. That is not to say, however, that the intentions, nor the songs themselves were remotely a loss. Take the concluding track for instance. I love the feel it’s going for. Almost an adventurous, earthy, and exciting vibe reminiscent to that of the Lion King (if you will). It perfectly encompassed everything I admired about the album’s direction and high points, and can’t regularly get it out of my head. Check out this much overlooked synthetic darling.
10. Passenger (Waking Up: Deluxe)
I’ll be quite honest with you, there are only a few problems I have with OneRepublic, and their deluxe records are one of them. It’s rare to find a bonus song off their records that I truly like (and I’m not counting Life In Color, because that was VERY much meant to be on Native), but Passenger is the great exception. One of the more simpler tunes too, with it’s rather stripped-down setting being presented. Yet, it is those stunning piano cords, those subdued vocals, and classic tone that make for such a moving experience for me each and every time
9. All These Things (Oh My My)
One of the surprises for me from their latest outing. All These Things admittedly has so much going for it that feels slightly usual. The melody is reminiscent of classic (if not cheesy) 90’s-early 2000’s sounding pop tracks. The vocals cry back to the Goodbye Apathy days, and honestly, it is just “kick back” simple. Nothing truly screams fresh or momentous, so much in fact I kept telling myself not to include it (why not the grand and original Fingertips or Let’s Hurt Tonight? I kept asking…). The problem is, I simply cannot get it out of my head. Anytime it shuffles through a playlist, I can’t skip it. I love it.
8. Secrets (Waking Up)
Ahh, just let those opening cords take over you. That cello just makes the heart swoon (and the rest of the song ain’t half bad neither). A meaningful and hopeful song lyrically about relationships is always a goodie. But add into the equation that this top charting single has everything right in regards to OneRepublic’s knack and talent for ear-pleasing melodies, accompanied by a plethora of impressive instrumentation. While not the first time they were able to show off their many talents, Waking Up (and this song specifically) showed the world just how versatile and involving they really were.
7. Feel Again (Native)
I remember waking up early to watch the final reveal of this long-anticipated song on Good Morning America. *Sigh* what a fun experience it was. Not only was this an instantaneously addictive tune, it also opened up the world to this new, exciting, and more electric driven OneRepublic. It seems as though every time I return to this beauty, the initial feelings of awakening and excitement (the core sensations the songs seems to be gunning for) return to me. An incredibly simple, yet oh so effective single.
6. All We Are (Dreaming Out Loud)
Aside from their original singles that put them on the map (which rest assured, will be making an appearance here soon), this track for me was the first time I truly fell for Onerepublic. A moving, heart wrenching, albeit slightly melodramatic tune, was exactly what an overly sentiment teenager was looking for. Looking back on it now is quite comical, but the heartfelt, beautiful, and hopeless lyrics still make for one of my all time favorite break up songs. It is neither bitter nor overly sappy, let’s just say, it’s perfect. (P.S. it was the first of their very extensive All titled tracks)…
5. If I Lose Myself (Native)
In many ways, the song that grew on me. I can’t say for sure where it started. All I know is that upon its release, my initial (secret) feeling was Meh. I wasn’t crazy about the low-key chorus, nor the grandiose dance anthem. But somewhere between the expertly paced build up, the transportive and eccentric context of the song (will state later), and the fact that this song has climaxed the last two of their concerts I’ve been to, I fell for it. As I said, the strange story of the song is telling the feeling of one on a plane, when it feels like you’re going down, and all you can do is wish someone you love is there with you…that’s it. Strange, right? But somehow it transports that feeling into a sensation of excitement and being alive. How I got sucked in, I may never know.
4. Apologize (Dreaming Out Loud)
For many, the top slate. And who am I to question its extravaganza? While I appreciate how the R&B version featuring Timbaland put them on the map, it’s really the original that oughta serve as their foundation. Yes, it has full right to go down as one of the greatest heartfelt and crushing break up songs of all time, but it also serves another purpose. Rarely has a group gained such attention for an ear pleasing yet somber first single such as this, that also showed such instrumental range and creativity. It was just the beginning of what OneRepublic had in store for the world, and will always be one of the heights of seeing them live.
3. Good Life (Edited – Waking Up)
I believe upon its initial release, it was categorized as one of the best “whistle melodies” in music history. And while that’s hardly the only reason it sticks out, I can’t say it’s not a big one (and I do a pretty darn good job imitating it, to boot). No, this song’s fun, melancholy, and adventurous sensibilities really are the pinnacle for its music success. But the song on a lyrical, and perhaps more emotional level, is one that will always mean the world to me. Yes, it has a melancholy tone, but its sense of hope and thirst for life have been the heart of my teenage years and fascination. Sure, Disney used it as a theme for a bit, but in my book, that actually speaks volumes…
2. Stop and Stare (Dreaming Out Loud)
To be honest, these top 3 (or 4 for that matter, or…) songs could all easily take the top spot. And believe me, this one has definitely held that honor during certain portions of my life. I’m always a sucker for the song that introduced me to a band. I don’t know what it is (besides nostalgia), but I can rarely shake it. Yet, I feel as though this one’s sublime mood, restrained yet energetic pace, and emotionally resonating lyrics more than give it the right amongst the top tier. The fact that it is a heart-stirring message of independence and newness to life also add to its appeal. An appeal I’ve had for it from day one, if I’m completely honest.
1. Preacher (Native)
To summarize it simply, OneRepublic has (as cheesy as it sounds) always been there for me. They have been the sounds and vibes of pre-tweens, teen years, college days, and still now. There might be various tunes that speak to me at specific times of my life, but their songs, and especially that of this particular melody will sing to my soul. You see, when this particular track was first released, my buddy and I were starting up Preaching School. And while this tale is that of an old, wiser man, it was still (sappily enough) an anthem of sorts for two young men. While the song isn’t the most sound tale in respects to Pure Doctrine (no, God doesn’t only want you to help yourself), this song is more than just that silly phrase. The song is telling a rather beautiful tale of a young man observing the difference and legacy that his grandfather, a man of God, was able to achieve. No matter where I am in my life, I’m pretty sure it’s Gospel vibes, moving melody, and pristine vocals will always move me. Also, what will always be close to my heart is the beautiful phrase, “He was a million miles from a million dollars, but you can never spend his wealth.”
Well, I’ve said nearly all I am capable of saying on the matter. I love this group. They mightn’t always be my very favorite as the years pass by, but my guess is they will always have meant the most. They were the group of my hometown, my older childhood, and my fascination for years. Thanks for reading my rankings today. I’m beating myself up already for ones I left off, but which ones in your opinion were unfairly overlooked? Let me know in the comments…
P.S. Borns new single Faded Heart is quite good, and has me excited for their sophomore.