When a record company considers what singles to release from a record, the strongest song on the CD usually leads the way, but occasionally a strong song is held back to help extend the sales of a CD. For OneRepublic, their second CD Waking Up started off with the slow-burning "All the Right Moves," built momentum with "Secrets," and then came their third single "Good Life." Is "Good Life" a good or a great single? Find out in our review of OneRepublic's "Good Life."
The lyrics of "Good Life" tell the story about how the narrator feels blessed because of the places he's travelled to and the experiences he has encountered. If there is any question that the song is autobiographical for OneRepublic, all one needs to do to be sure is check the lyrics:
"To my friends in New York I say hello
My friends in LA they don't know
Where I've been for the past few years or so
Paris, to China to Colorado"
OneRepublic's origins include both Colorado and Los Angeles, but the song focuses more on where the band has travelled to instead of where they have come from. While the meaning of the song is very clear, the song resonates on both a literal and an interpretive level, since anyone can relate to lyrics like "what the hell is there to complain about" at some point in their lives.
Not only does "Good Life" have lyrics that anyone can relate to, it also has a unique musical delivery that allows the song to stand out on a radio full of same-sounding songs. Lead songwriter and producer Ryan Tedder has a knack for pulling in musical elements not normally found on a mainstream pop song, and he utilizes that knack by layering in drums that give the song a marching feel combined with a haunting whistle. Add in Ryan Tedder's rapping-singing hybrid on the verses, and you have a record that sounds like nothing else out in the pop world at the moment. It's this uniqueness that helps OneRepublic songs endure for months at pop radio instead of weeks, staying on listeners' minds much longer than they would expect.
What's the Verdict?
OneRepublic released an alternate version of "Good Life" that featured successful rapper B.o.B while the song was already climbing the charts. If the addition of a rap to the song increases the potential audience that gets to experience "Good Life," then it will be doing the listening public a favor. However, for people who have already fallen for "Good Life," the rap may feel a bit unnecessary attached to a pop song many consider great on its own merits. No matter which version someone chooses, they will be hard-pressed to find a pop song more uplifting and joyful than "Good Life."