Monday, April 30, 2012

Ryan Tedderbear


Ryan Tedder is one Teddy Bear that I'd love to cuddle with during my nightly six to eight hours of shut-eye. However, I don't know if his strict Christian upbringing would allow for such male to male bedtime magic.

Kelly Clarkson!
Anyhow, the whole point of this post was to talk about his music, so let's start, shall we? Ever since his production of Bleeding Love, I've loved Ryan's music. His signature bum-ba-da-bum-bum beat got to me every time, and his lush backings provided the perfect accompaniment. With that said, at some point within the last two years, many, myself included, began noticing a lack of growth in his artistry. He seemed to use the same exact beat in every single song, to the point where his beats became less of a signature and more of a gimmick (although, quite a good one) employed by a one trick thick-thighed stallion. Even Kelly Clarkson (the Queen of honesty in the corrupt mess that is the music industry) fell out with Tedder, fairly alleging that he recycled the beat from Beyoncé's angelic Halo for her track, Already Gone. Of course, Ryan disputed her claim. Still, I side with Kelly. Just take a listen to both tracks! They sound so similar, but Beyoncé's features a synthy soundscape, while Kelly's is a bit more rock'n'roll.

Thankfully, Ryan has begun to change it up a bit. Interestingly, there's no sense of consistency; sometimes he resorts back to his old beat pattern (i.e. Gavin Degraw's Not Over You), while other times, he really stretches his artistic boundaries, experimenting in a multitude of genres. Just take a listen to the bluesy Motown fare that is Adele's Rumor Has It, an absolute masterpiece; the retro rocker that is Gavin Degraw's Sweeter; and the danceilicious club banger that is Kat McPhee's Touch Me, as featured on the TV show, Smash (aka the talented Debra Messing's ill-fated hope for a career resurgence). In all three songs, we see Ryan creating new beat sequences and working in musical styles he's never touched before (myself included). He himself has stated that there are certain artists who are able to get the best out of producers, and whatever it is in these three that inspires him, we hope that he keeps receiving it.

Clearly, this man has great creative potential, so I can't quite understand why he doesn't tap it (or me? Tedderbear, you there?). Does he feel safer repeating a proven formula? If so, he shouldn't feel so secure in his ways; with each repetition, his work slips further down the charts. In an NPR interview, Ryan admitted that the music he enjoys is completely unlike the material he creates. That music is far more classic. As of late, though, Ryan seems to be incorporating elements of his personal taste into his output. With the current success of indie/alternative in the POP mainstream, we have faith that this creatively-fueled production will pay off in spades. He's even asked 2012's Grammy-winning Producer of the Year, Paul Epworth (Adele's Rolling in the Deep, Florence & the Machine's 2nd album, Ceremonials), to lend a hand in the making of OneRepublic's next album. This only further emphasizes Ryan's appreciation for fresh, experimental sounds. As much as we've enjoyed the sugar POP of Dr. Luke, we sense more passion in Ryan's best work. It seems like Ryan really enjoys the craft of making music, regardless of genre, while Luke only becomes more of a hit-factory with the passing of time. This is quite a shame, since the Doc has produced some of the best (and worst) music we've heard in the past five to ten years. We're crossing our fingers that our Ryan Tedderbear doesn't meet the same fate.

Unapologetically,

Gregory
Mr. Tedderbear's Dream Lover (Hey, Mariah!)

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