Release Date: May 26th 2023
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
At the end of August in 2021, I reviewed the long-awaited album from pop band OneRepublic, called Human. Comprising of 8 songs we’ve heard before (through various stand-alone singles released throughout the period of 2018-2021) and 8 brand new songs, Human as a whole was a compelling, emotional, honest, vulnerable, and inspiring album and one of my favourites of 2021. I won’t dive deep into OneRepublic here, because you can read about them on Wikipedia or on my review of Human or on Jon’s blog about them from a few years ago. But what I will say is that Ryan Tedder and co. are back for their brand-new single “Runaway”, the follow-up to their smash hit “I Ain’t Worried” (not reviewed!) and their 2022 hit “West Coast”. A song that presumably from their next studio album (at the time of February 2022, their next studio was album due out in June 2022, tentatively titled Never Ending Summer, but now, the band has pushed the album back to TBA- hopefully in 2023 or 2024!); OneRepublic isn’t slowing down. A track that is just as poppy as it is catchy, and a melody that speaks about running away from the pressures of life and putting yourself in a bubble of fun, freedom and happiness; Ryan and his friends have delivered to us a melody that will be on our playlists for the next few months and maybe years.
Having already released hits like “Apologise”, “Good Life”, “Secrets”, “Counting Stars”, “Love Runs Out”, “Kids”, “I Lived”, “Come Home”, and “Stop And Stare”, as well as recent hits “Rescue Me”, “Wanted”, “Run”, “Better Days” and “Lose Somebody”; one could think that OneRepublic deserve a bit of a break. Not so. With the release of “Runaway”, like both “I Ain’t Worried” and “West Coast” previously, we have that summery, breezy, pop atmosphere- a likeable song that speaks about being wild and free, and also speaks about having a good time. It’s a melody that isn’t that deep and introspective, but in relation to the still ongoing and simmering pandemic, it’s nice to have a song that makes us forget our troubles, if not for a little bit. “Runaway” is a melody with a lot of charm, bravado, heart, soul, inspiration, and purpose. It’s a song to turn up in the summer, and to also dwell upon when you’re feeling low. It’s a song for all seasons, and that’s the beauty of any OneRepublic song. They’re hard to hate, and the same goes for “Runaway”. It’s a pop banger that shows us the band’s identity front and centre, with the message and hope is still there. With the melody being a pick-me-up tune about living life to the fullest and forgetting the pressures of life if only just for a little bit, as well as being thankful for this life (a similar theme to the guys’ latest single “Sunshine”!); we are met with a song that is carefree but a song that inspires us to be grateful for the air we’re breathing and the heartbeat in our chests.
In this very moment with still so much uncertainty with Omicron, even with virtually no restrictions and no isolation period even if you do have COVID-19; I’d have to say that with albums like Human 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 what Ryan Tedder mentioned in 2020, in that releasing new music while a pandemic was going on seems a bit insensitive. Yet every artist is different- and at least there is still uplifting music around if you only know where to look. We all may not have understood why OneRepublic kept delaying Human; but as long as we can be reminded to cherish the ones you love and to chase after your dreams and whatever else is in your heart, then I am certain that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel in the coming months and years! With the next OneRepublic album slated to be released very soon; there’s still life in these guys yet… and can we say that “Runaway”, like “West Coast” and “I Ain’t Worried”, marks a new chapter for these guys, and maybe signify a new lease of life for the band? Well done guys, for one of your most poppy songs this year! And I can’t wait to hear whatever comes next!
RIYL: Tenth Avenue North, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, The Fray, Little Mix, Pentatonix