What a difference a year makes when your name is Ryan Tedder. In 2009, Ryan was embroiled in a public dispute with Kelly Clarkson over the similarities between her "Already Gone" and Beyonce's “Halo.” Fast forward to 2010, and Ryan goes from Mr. Same-Sounding to Mr. Unique, thanks to the first two singles he and his band OneRepublic have released off of their sophomore release Waking Up.
The Song’s A Hit
While "All the Right Moves" was a slow-building hit for OneRepublic, taking almost a six months to reach its peak positions on the US charts, “Secrets” reacted much more quickly, and is currently in the Top 20 of the Pop and Hot AC airplay charts. In addition to the group’s support at radio, buyers have also supported the track and helped lodge it in the Top 30 at iTunes. Add in the song’s usage in commercials, movies and TV shows (it plays prominently in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), and it’s safe to say that “Secrets” is a bona fide hit.
Not many songs on the radio currently can boast a cello, but “Secrets” does so from its opening notes. While strings are often used in pop songs as a way to set a mood, bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle instead provides the heart of the record by driving the melody along, rather than just hanging in the background. Combine that with a powerful performance from drummer Eddie Fisher, and you almost don’t need any other instruments.
In the hands of most vocalists, “Secrets” would probably be an album cut at best, but Ryan does a great job of capturing the nuances of the lyrics in his vocal delivery. The song starts out more like a conversation, but turns into a powerful plea by the time the chorus comes around. What that plea is for depends on how you read the lyrics. In a recent search online, comments about the meaning of “Secrets” ranged from Ryan’s songwriting style (he is the sole writer on this track) to a man with a boring life who wants to start living. Based on Tedder’s background and current circumstances, I tend to think it’s about his musical inspirations, but maybe it’s best left ambiguous so people can find their own meaning.
Find Your Own Meaning
No matter what you think “Secrets” is about, the one thing that can’t be argued is that the song sounds pretty unique in the middle of today’s pop music landscape. Waking Up probably has two more singles ready to release in “Marchin’ On” and “Good Life,” but those songs will have a hard time matching up to the chart performance of “Secrets” if it continues to do as well as it is doing now.
Released June 2010 by Interscope