To Envy or to Pity? That is the Question

Dreaming Out Loud (Interscope Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

Well, should we envy OneRepublic or pity them? The band had a hit song before they even had a debut album, thanks to hip hop mogul Timbaland. He included a remixed version of the band's song "Apologize" on his latest album and the song caught fire and shot up the charts. Now, OneRepublic is faced with justifying their sudden stardom with the first album. No easy task.

And they're game, but not quite up to it. Dreaming Out Loud is a solid debut and probably would sound a lot better if it didn't have bigger expectations to meet. The music is decent but does not make OneRepublic stand out from other sanitized rockers like Maroon 5 or Matchbox 20. Dreaming contains both versions of "Apologize," and you can easily see how Timbaland's enhancement took an ordinary song and made it better.

The band's next single, "Stop and Stare," brings listeners back down to earth with its simple earnestness and not-too-offensive guitars. The band, which appears to be devoutly religious, might fare better in the Christian market, but will still have to do something extra to stand out from bands like Casting Crowns and MercyMe.

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