Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on>"/>
Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.
The hit: "Feel Again," OneRepublic, off the band's still untitled upcoming third album.
Current chart position: #12 on iTunes; too early for the current Billboard chart (the song was just released this past Tuesday).
The team: Aside from his work with OneRepublic, frontman Ryan Tedder is a highly accomplished pop songwriter and producer. He is the creator of such massive hits as Beyonce's "Halo," Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," and Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone." More recently, Tedder wrote and produced Adele's "Rumour Has It," off her Album of the Year Grammy Award-winning album 21.
Breakdown: OneRepublic is one of the most inoffensive pop acts out there--easily listenable, radio-friendly tunes with tender, romantic lyrics. But inoffensive doesn't have to equal bland. As stated in the previous paragraph, Tedder can write a beautiful hook, and "Feel Again" is the band's catchiest single since their 2006 breakout hit "Apologize." Many of OneRepublic's earlier material incorporated orchestral elements--like the cello that opens "Secrets" and the viola on "Apologize"--but "Feel Again" eschews the strings for a lighter, more animated feeling.
At the same time, the song has Tedder stretching his vocals harder than he did on the band's fluttery last hit, "Good Life." His wandering falsetto leads into a chorus that quickens and comes alive with handclaps and vigorous drumming. Half of the chorus' vocal melody is wordless but still effectively infectious--like in Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen"--and the other half consists of repeating a sweet couplet that neatly sums up the mood of the song: "I'm feeling better since you know me/I was a lonely soul but that's the old me." The song is set up in such a way that the verses reflect such anxiety and disorder--"Heart still beating but it's not working/It's like a hundred thousand voices that just can't sing/I reach out trying to love but I feel nothing/Oh my heart is numb"--that when the joyous chorus hits, it feels like ecstasy, like a sun suddenly bursting through rainclouds. The exultation of that chorus is so infectious, when the song settles into its ending, you feel disappointed at not getting to hear it one more time.