Hello, and welcome to Radio Rants, where we take on the good, the bad, and the Perry. Who’s up this week?
OneRepublic, everybody. I’ve always felt kind of…well, nothing, really. Yeah, I heard “Apologize” some 10,000 times in 2007 and 2008 like everyone else, and their follow-up singles, but none of them have ever left an impact on me. OneRepublic isn’t a terrible band, but I just don’t have a reason to listen to them. They get schooled all over in the pretty pop rock category; Snow Patrol hits harder with prettier tunes, Coldplay’s songs are better crafted, and Keane has more charm. Alright, OneRepublic, what’s this version of Apologize sound like?
“Good Life” kicks off with a clattering drumbeat and some spacey synths. You know, like every other one of their singles. Shit, at 15 seconds in, I’m already bored. Compared to their other songs like “All The Right Places” and “Secrets”, “Good Life”‘s instrumentation is pretty parred down: aside from the aforementioned synth and drums, all we get is an acoustic guitar and a whistle. OneRep’s more produced songs might be a bit too stuffy, but that’s almost better than boring. Ryan Tedder, save me with some lyrics.
“Woke up in London yesterday/Found myself in the city near Piccadilly/Don’t really know how I got here/I got some pictures on my phone”.
…or…don’t. Ok, so Tedder’s idea of the good life is The Hangover. I guess? Or maybe it’s touring, since other verses namecheck New York, LA, China, Paris, and Colorado (something had to rhyme with “so”). Let’s see, what else do we have in the verses?
“Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’t jump out/Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work out”
What’s this “airplanes” line about? Is skydiving one of Ryan Tedder’s hobbies, and he just doesn’t have the guts somedays? Also, while I’m at it, the beat and vocals in these verses are really reminding me of the minor Train hit “If It’s Love”, and no, that’s not a compliment.
The chorus for “Good Life”, like every other chorus OneRepublic has written, is an exercise in How Many Times Can We Say the Song’s Title? But “Good Life” is particularly egregious, with “Oh, this has gotta be the good life/This has gotta be the good life/This could really be the good life, good life/I say, ‘Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight’/Like this city is on fire tonight/This could really be the good life, good, good life”.
But, to quote Aristotle, what is the good life?
That’s kind of where “Good Life” falls apart lyrically: it’s not a particularly compelling image, nor one I can really relate to. The lines I haven’t mentioned follow the same feel-good groovyness of most songs out there; “be hopeful”, “This is awesome”, but without any details, this is an incredibly bland premise.
There are much better ways to handle this idea. Yeezy, what’s the good life?
“The good life, it feel like Houston/It feel like Philly, it feel like D.C./It feel like VA or the Bay or Ye/Ayy, this is the good life” Well, he already beats OneRepublic at Pop Song Geography. What else we got? “Now I, I go for mine/Cuz I got to shine”, “And if they hate, then let’em hate/And watch the money pile up, the good life”. Kanye’s idea of the good life might be how awesome it is to be Kanye, but at least it’s a clear and distinct idea.
And Weezer, what’s the good life?
“And I don’t wanna be an old man anymore/Been a year or two since I was out on the floor/Shakin’ booty, makin’ sweet love every night/It’s time I got back to the good life” Again, easy to see, and in this case, something you can relate to. And Weezer and West sound convicted in their search for the good life, Tedder sounds half awake.
Musically, vocally, melodically, thematically, and lyrically, “Good Life” is almost painfully indistinct, and on top of that, it’s not really good. The only hook is that whistle, and that’s the only part of the song that you’ll really remember. To give you an idea of how bland this song is, while looking up the other songs in this review, all of them held my interest better than “Good Life”, and I don’t even like all the artists I’ve mentioned. “Good Life”, not even a good song.