OneRepublic – Counting Stars

OneRepublic is a great band, Ryan Tedder is not only a great singer/song writer but also magnificent  front man and dancer.  This guy is filled with energy, energy that many of these artists do not exhibit This is a great song!.

Having written hits for Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love“), Kelly Clarkson (“Already Gone“) and many other superstars, OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder had plenty of dollars, but also the vision to know that money can’t always buy happiness.

Tedder had the idea for this tune while working with Beyoncé on her follow-up to 2011’s 4. One morning while Tedder was prepping for his studio time with Bey, he came across a little known folk song that he fell in love with. Wanting to write his own version of the tune, Tedder tried to reach out to the original writer to see if he would collaborate with him. “He was like, ‘I don’t know about that,’ and it was aloof enough that I was like, ‘Oh screw it,'” Tedder explained to Radio.com. “Counting Stars,” was released in 2013 on the album titled, “Native,” and peaked at #2 in the US and #1 in the UK.

Tedder finally did his own interpretation, heavy on piano and acoustic guitar. This arrangement took on a more soulful, gospel sound than the original. “It kept the spirit of what I was looking for the whole time,” he said.

The song was the first ever UK #1 single for Ryan Tedder as a performer, though the Oklahoman had previously been credited as co-writer on the British chart-topping singles for Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love“) and Ellie Goulding (“Burn“).
The song’s music video was filmed on May 10, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana and directed by James Lees. It features the band performing in a basement beneath an ongoing church congregation.
 
Tedder told Billboard magazine that he finds it gratifying that so many have connected with such an uplifting and meaningful song. “I think it’s our responsibility as a band, and what separates us from everyone else. I took that from being a fan of U2 for two decades now, since Achtung Baby,” he said. “To this day, they might be the only band on that level who sings about things other than just boy-girl troubles or the kind of selfish, ‘I’m a badass’ stuff. I’ve spoken with Bono about this when we toured with him, and he said the same thing.”

“I felt a responsibility to actually write and sing about things that have a level of human gravity to them,” Tedder continued. “If everybody else sings about sex and love and lust and money, then somebody’s gotta be singing about life and faith and hope and things of that nature. And in the pantheon of their esteemed career, they’ve had two #1 hits, and I think both were 25 years ago. It’s not about that – it’s about what songs feel real. I’d rather have a song that peaks at #15 that’s meaningful and embedded in the cultural framework we live in than a #1 song that explodes for five seconds, becomes the dance hit of the summer, then goes away.”

 
Standard structure for a Pop song is verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus (A-B-A-B-C-B). This song begins with the chorus, then goes into an instrumental break. After that, however, it follows the standard structure, making the song’s form (B-instrumental break-A-B-A-B-C-B). To get these extra elements in, the song runs longer than most hits, clocking in at 4:17. Relatively little of the song is devoted to verses – it’s mostly chorus (about 45%).
Ryan Tedder started writing the song in New York but finished it on the Greek island of Santorini. He told Billboard magazine: “If I think I have something that I love that feels huge, that feels like it’s inevitable – which isn’t all the time – I will intentionally get it to where I know, ‘This is nuclear, I know this is gonna connect, but I want to finish this in a place that’s special, that inspires me.’ We’ve been trying to go to Santorini for three years and I thought, ‘This is the perfect place to finish this song.'”
 
Notice how this song gets into the chorus: the music disappears, leaving Tedder’s voice isolated for a line (first “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive” then “Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly”). This an effective method for both spotlighting a line in the lyric and for boosting the intensity of the chorus.

This slight lull technique has been used in many songs for this purpose, but it was especially popular around this time – you’ll also hear the music drop out before the chorus in “Pompeii” by Bastille and “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus.

 
This was used in a commercial for Bud Light beer that aired during the 2014 Super Bowl. The spot was part of their “The Perfect Beer For Whatever Happens” campaign, which followed a regular guy who agreed to be up for “whatever happens” on a series of adventures, culminating with a a ping-pong game against Arnold Schwarzenegger that then reveals a concert by OneRepublic, who are performing this song.
 
This song has one of the more cathartic endings you’ll hear. Most of the elements Ryan Tedder employed throughout the song return in the last 20 seconds. Listen for the synthesizer, the “woooo” backing vocals from the chorus, and the lyric from the bridge (“Take that money, watch it burn. Sink in the river the lessons I learned”).

Just as the music ducks under leading into the chorus, it comes out at the end of the song as well, leaving Tedder’s vocal as the last thing we hear.

 

Song Lyrics –

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

I see this life
Like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line
In my faces flashing signs
Seek it out and ye shall find
The old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told
I, feel something so right
Doing the wrong thing
I, feel something so wrong
But doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming ’bout the things that we could be
Baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming ’bout the things that we could be
But baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars

I feel the love
And I feel it burn
Down this river every turn
Hope is a four letter word
Make that money
Watch it burn
Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
And I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told
I, feel something so wrong
But doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
Baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming ’bout the things that we could be
But baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars

Take that money and watch it burn
Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Take that money and watch it burn
Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Take that money and watch it burn
Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Take that money and watch it burn
Sink in the river the lessons I learned

Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming ’bout the things that we could be
Baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming ’bout the things that we could be
Baby I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars

(Take that money and watch it burn)
(Sink in the river the lessons I learned)

(Take that money and watch it burn)
(Sink in the river the lessons I learned)

(Take that money and watch it burn)
(Sink in the river the lessons I learned)

(Take that money and watch it burn)
(Sink in the river the lessons I learned)

Written by: Ryan Tedder