As they gear up for the release of their fourth album this fall, OneRepublic shared a new single Thursday night — an anthemic, electro-tinged track titled “Kids.” It’s the second cut from the follow-up to 2013’s multi-platinum Native and if the vibe of their latest track is any indication, expect the group to try out bold new sounds on their forthcoming set.
“It’s a conscious departure,” Ryan Tedder tells EW of the track, which he says was inspired by the sweeping, ’80s-style synth-pop of acts like M83. “As an artist or musician, if you’re not poking or needling or pushing the envelope to see if it pops, you’re not doing it right. Whatever our sound is — and I don’t think we have a dyed-in-the-wool sound — this album is by far our most evolved.”
With “Kids,” Tedder credits bassist Brent Kutzle for helping with the track’s overarching structure. “He pushed me musically,” says Tedder, who also moonlights as an in-demand songwriter for pop stars including Adele, Ariana Grande, and others. “It’s a big credit to [Brent] for this musical direction on this album.” As for the track’s irresistible vocal hook, Tedder came up with the melody “in 30 seconds” and recorded it on his phone. “Later,” he adds, “we recorded it as a placeholder on this sh—y laptop. But we were never able to beat that sound. It sounded so perfect for that song.”
Tedder promises a mix of stadium-sized rock anthems, gospel-tinged cuts, and a few more dance-oriented bangers on the rest of the band’s fourth album. There’s also a collaboration with Pharrell and Peter Gabriel — though Tedder admits the latter almost didn’t happen. “[Peter and I] had a session that was booked and I didn’t know about it!” he says with a laugh. “I inadvertently stood him up! I called and apologized and we made up for that. He wrote this entire, beautiful, very-Peter Gabriel outro that will send shivers down your spine. It’s my favorite moment on the album.”