Release Date: May 15th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Better Days (Live Quarantine Recording)
This year there is an unescapable fact that we all need to hear to understand. And it is this. That we are in unprecedented and uncertain times. That we are stuck at home during quarantine trying to beat COVID-19- and we aren’t even sure if this virus will be eradicated this year or not! That is I guess reason enough for us to feel like our world is out of control. It’s a time where we can feel isolated and alone, like no one loves us anymore- and like we’re the only one going through hell on earth. And while our favourite TV shows are renewed, these shows unfortunately won’t be in production until late this year or even next year. Music artists are delaying albums and are cancelling tours, while some of us workers in hospitality and retail have been stood down from work. Yet the release of music in some form is nonetheless a constant in these troubling times. Artists are becoming more and more creative these days- sure some are delaying projects, but others are releasing standalone digital singles, or a surprise album or an EP full of rarities. Whatever the case, I reckon as listeners we need music now more than ever to fill the void of emptiness and pain- thus artists are now becoming creative, and are thinking outside of the box in terms of releasing new material. And now here we are, as pop band OneRepublic (who Jon has spoken about in his Momentous Mondays post!) have delayed their full length album Human indefinitely- but now they have unveiled the new song “Better Days”. Written in quarantine, this live recording is as honest and emotional and hopeful as you can get in a situation like this, as lead singer Ryan Tedder attempts to bring us comfort and joyous optimism in this time of the world being upside down!
As we as a site are intending to review Human, not much needs to be said about “Better Days”- other than that it’s probably right now one of the most thought-provoking tracks of the year, as well as one of the most hard-hitting and impacting One Republic songs ever- alongside songs like “Apologise”, “Counting Stars”, “Stop and Stare”, “Good Life”, and “Love Runs Out” to name a few. As Ryan fervently relays across pulsating keys that ‘…oh, I know that there’ll be better days, oh, that sunshine ’bout to come my way, may we never ever shed another tear for today, ’cause oh, I know that there’ll be better days…’, we are reassured that ‘these days’ will end sometime. But while that may not be now, let us all band together and remember that whatever we’re facing- we can be confident that facing our demons and our fears and our adversity together is the best way forward and a key element to beating this virus in the future.
Especially now, I’d have to say that the future is unknown. But with songs like “Better Days” to listen to, hope is still alive in the hearts of all of us, as we hang onto our humanity and our strength. While I myself are of the opinion that right now we need more and more new music to get us through, I for one agree somewhat with Ryan Tedder in that releasing new music while a pandemic is going on seems a bit insensitive- Nobody can compete with the news cycle right now. And if you’re not doing that, you’re competing with ‘Tiger King,’. We have this huge record that we wanted to drop in mid-May that we now won’t. It’s a summer song, it’s like the Beach Boys, it feels like it’s such a hit, but I’m not going to do it in the middle of a pandemic… I have a lot of songs with artists that were all supposed to be coming out in the next couple of months. Some of them might, but I can tell you that every single artist I’ve talked with is sitting there going, ‘Well, what do I do? Is it going to be a tree falling in a forest?’ Yet every artist is different- and at least there is still uplifting music around if you only know where to look. OneRepublic may not unveil Human for a while…but as longas we can be reminded that there are better days ahead, then I am certain that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel in the coming months and years! Well done guys for probably your most important single yet! And I can’t wait to hear Human! Cause when I do, that means that maybe the bulk of the effects of COVID-19 are over!
RIYL: Tenth Avenue North, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, The Fray, Little Mix, Pentatonix