Songwriter: Ryan Tedder
Original Release Date: 2005
Timbaland Remix Single Release Date: February 4th, 2007
Here’s a little throwback Thursday for you: “Apologize” came out eight years ago. That’s enough to make me feel old. I remember hearing it on the radio in the 7th grade, ages ago. Fun fact: The superhit “Apologize” from 2007 was not the original OneRepublic released on their debut album Dreaming Out Loud. The original song debuted two years earlier and featured swooning strings, a guitar solo, and a much younger Ryan Tedder behind the mic. I hadn’t heard it before now. The version most people are far more familiar with is the R&B remix with Timbaland, featured on his album Shock Value, which helped OneRepublic break out in the music scene.
For this week’s column, we’ll focus on the more popular version of OneRepublic’s song. Timbaland’s remix emphasizes the best parts of “Apologize” like the gripping piano that starts the song, just the right amount of Brent Kutzle’s cello, and of course, the impossibly smooth vocals of Tedder. The remix also strengthens the rhythm section, adding in a sharper percussion layer and some additional sound samples. The greatest feat of the remix is the flawless crescendo from verse to chorus, which makes every line of the song as big and emotional as it deserves to be. In their original, OneRepublic were on the fence between both R&B and rock, letting “Apologize” fall somewhere in between. Tedder’s soulful voice pushed it just enough in the direction of R&B to make Timbaland’s remix wildly successful. But what if the song had a second life as a rock song? Silverstein’s cover for the second volume of Punk Goes Pop give us a taste of an amped up “Apologize.”
The cover opens with clean guitar, moving across the melody with fluid ease. It’s the first thing that catches your attention, and it only gets better from there. Vocalist Shane Told comes in at the verse, and though not quite as soulful or polished as Tedder, Told provides perfectly clear vocals that convey the same edgy tinge fans recognize from Silverstein’s classic style. Finally, the entire band explodes at the chorus, layering in ferocious percussion and a guitar riff to sink your teeth into all at once. Silverstein also add a touch of their own flair to this version, bringing back the guitar solo (but much bigger) and mix in a few of Told’s familiar screams that make this cover just right. By the end of this song, “Apologize” is brought to life in a whole new way. Because of the forceful rock elements Silverstein embed into the song, it feels even bigger than original and absolutely just as addictive. At its final moments, the song cuts every layer and leaves only the initial clear guitar, and Told singing mournfully the last line: “I’m holding on your rope, you got me ten feet off the ground.” Nailed it.