With OneRepublic’s new album, Native (out today), leader Ryan Tedder wanted to show a more personal side of the band. He wanted each song to sound like it was straight from the heart, but written specifically for the fans. It’s a songwriting outline Tedder says he stole from U2.
While opening for the Irish band last summer, Tedder got a chance to see Bono and the guys perform in front of 80,000 people every night for three months. He told Radio.com that he watched as fans sang every word to every one of their songs. “These lyrics are so from his gut and so like honest, but poetic,” Tedder explained. “They’re not trying to be ambiguous or trying to be cool.”
Tedder admitted that his biggest pet peeve is when a band is just too cool for its own good. Writing songs that sound pretty, but have no heart behind them.
“[That’s] one thing that always irks me about a lot of bands,” he said. “You look at their lyrics and I can quickly tell, because I’ve been writing my whole life, like those are like a string of non sequiturs that sound cool. It means absolutely nothing.”
But artists like Bono and The Beatles, Tedder said, are different. The Beattles were, and in the case of U2, still are, able to write massive hits that actually had a deeper meaning, something that Tedder wanted to do with his own music. He decided with Native he was going to step up his game and stop putting up walls. He realized if he was going to write a song people could relate to he would have to share a little bit of himself. But only a little.