Ryan Tedder knew his band OneRepublic’s song “Good Life” was a hit the minute he heard it.
With the strings recorded and the band’s 2009 album, Waking Up, almost done, Tedder put his bandmates to task, asking them to take a month to really listen to what they had recorded and try to make it better.
Brent Kutzie came up the song’s chord progression and their engineer put some drums on it. Tedder then came up with the catchy chorus that people are still singing nearly three years after its release.
“We just hit play and let it repeat and within a minute I had the chorus,” Tedder told Radio.com. “The best songs are simple, the ones that last forever, that get ingrained in your head.”
Though the song seems universal, the lyrics are actually about a trip Tedder took to London. But he knew to have a hit he’d have to make it less specific and more relatable to his audience.
For him the chorus was the key to making it universal. But, like all their songs, Tedder needed to relate to the message since he would have to sing it ever night.
“I’m not thinking, ‘Let’s write something that’s going to make the kids dance,’” he said. “You have to write something that you want to sing every night. So the hardest part with every song, personal and universal, kind of getting that balance.”
With its upbeat message and sing-along chorus, Tedder seems to have found it.
“It’s funny,” he said, “with that breakbeat it definitely helped it move along and that also tapped into some kind of emotion that we found out ends up being cathartic for people.”
Though the song was released in 2010, frequent radio play and those Disney commercials have made it hard for the band to escape the song.
“We knew it was really catchy, we just had no idea that it would have the shelf life that it’s had,” Tedder admitted. “It’s still played constantly so I think we’re excited to put out another single. If nothing else, to get away from ‘Good Life.’”
Luckily for the band, fans can now play their latest single, “If I Lose Myself,” off their upcoming third album Native, slated for a March 26th release.
- Shannon Carlin and Annie Reuter,Radio.com