|Single by OneRepublic|
|from the album Native|
|Released||June 14, 2013|
|OneRepublic singles chronology|
"Counting Stars" is a song by American pop rock band OneRepublic from their third studio album, Native (2013). The song was written by lead singer Ryan Tedder, and produced by Tedder and Noel Zancanella. Musically, it is a folk pop song with a disco beat. It was released as the album's third single on June 14, 2013.
The song has been one of the band's most successful singles, reaching number one in many countries including Canada and the United Kingdom, number two in the United States, and top ten in 20 countries. It has sold over 1 million copies in the United Kingdom.
The song's accompanying music video, directed by James Lees, features the band performing in the ground floor of a building (there are few basements in New Orleans) beneath an ongoing church congregation on the upper floor. As of November 2016, the video has received over 1.54 billion views on YouTube and is the 16th most watched video of all time on the site.
Background and composition
Ryan Tedder stated that "'Counting Stars' came about [in August 2012] as an idea. It was probably the most versions of any song[...]to get it right". He also called it "one of [his] two favourite songs on the [Native] album". Tedder started writing "Counting Stars" while waiting for Beyoncé to turn up to a studio session, about a month after starting to write "Love Runs Out". In an interview with the Official Charts Company, Tedder said, "I had the idea for Counting Stars originally in the summer of 2012 when I was in the Hamptons. I was working in the largest house I've ever stepped foot in, which was being rented by Jay Z and Beyoncé. I was in the middle of working on my most recent album with OneRepublic, Native, and during that time I was determined not to work with any other artists. I broke the promise because I also did sessions that year with Beyoncé. When Jay Z and Beyoncé invite you to stay with them in the Hamptons, you don't say no!" He continued: "I was out there for about five days and on the second day I woke up early and I started combing through the internet, searching for stuff that would inspire me for Beyoncé. I ended up coming across this weird song that had this indigenous folk sound to it that just struck me like lightning. I didn't like the verses or lyrics, but I loved the feel and movement of it. That ended up inspiring Counting Stars. I debated playing it for Beyoncé and putting it forward for her album, but it didn't feel like a song Beyoncé would record. I immediately came up with the chorus idea, went home and for the next three months finished the Native album."
"Counting Stars" is a folk pop song with a disco beat. Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post said that the song is "an extremely effective (and infectious) song — with Tedder's polished pop hijacking a folk song, and a little R&B attitude in there as well." The band explained that the song is about "laying in bed awake at night when you're stressed out of your mind, thinking 'How are we gonna make ends meet? How are we gonna pay the bills?' You know, all those things you wanna do with your life - how are we gonna make them work? How's this actually gonna happen or come to pass? So, instead of counting sheep, we're counting stars." According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com, this song has a tempo of 104 beats per minute before increasing to 122 beats per minute. This song is actually written in the key of C-sharp minor, and follows a chord progression of C♯m-E-B-A.
The music video was filmed on May 10, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and premiered on May 31, 2013. The video features the band performing the song in a gloomy ground floor of a building surrounded by hanging light bulbs – which is interspersed with scenes of several people in a religious revival service on the upper floor. At the end of the video, one of the people in the service falls through the floor, coming through the ceiling of the room the band is performing in. The video also shows clips of an alligator crawling through the ground floor.
"Counting Stars" debuted at number 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 6, 2013. The song peaked at number two on January 18, 2014, and stayed there for two weeks behind "Timber" by Pitbull, featuring Ke$ha. The song spent 25 consecutive weeks in the top ten, and finished fifth for the most total weeks on the Hot 100 after spending 68 weeks on the chart. It is tied with "Apologize" as OneRepublic's highest peaking single in the United States, and is their third US top-ten hit. The song has sold over 5.3 million copies in the US as of December 2014.
In Canada, the song set the record for the longest climb to number one on the Canadian Hot 100, reaching number one on its 34th week on the chart on February 8, 2014. The song has topped the charts in Canada, Finland, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, and charted within the top ten in 20 countries, including attaining top five placements in Australia, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand. In the United Kingdom, "Counting Stars" spent 34 consecutive weeks inside the top 40 before exiting. On October 11, 2014, the Official Charts Company confirmed that "Counting Stars" had sold 1 million copies in the UK.
- "Counting Stars" – 4:17
- "Counting Stars" (Lovelife remix) – 3:55
Credits and personnel
- Recorded at Black Rock Studio Santorini, Santorini, Greece, and Patriot Studios, Denver, Colorado
- Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York
- Songwriting – Ryan Tedder
- Production – Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella
- Engineering – Smith Carlson
- Assistant engineering – Matthew Tryba
- Harp – HarpEri
- Acoustic guitar – Zach Filkins
- Rhythm guitar – Drew Brown
- Bass – Brent Kutzle
- Keys – Ryan Tedder
- Drums, percussion – Eddie Fisher
- Backing vocals – Bobbie Gordon, Brent Kutzle, Zach Filkins, David McGlohon
- Mixing – Joe Zook
- Assistant mix engineering – Ryan Lipman
- Mastering – Chris Gehringer, Will Quinnell
Covers and parodies
- In 2013, Meghan Linsey recorded the track and issued it as a single.
- In June 2013, Tedder and Michelle Chamuel performed the song on the season finale of The Voice.
- The song was covered by Skylar Astin, on the 2014 episode "City of Angels" of popular musical series Glee, as a medley with the Styx song "Mr. Roboto."
- It also was covered by Secondhand Serenade and included on the covers album The Cover Up, released by Brandon Metcalf's Destiny Nashville on April 22, 2014.
- Swedish based band Houston also covered this track on their 2014 Relaunch II album.
- American band R5 covered the song during a concert in London, featured the British band the Vamps. The version was included in their album, Live in London.
- YouTube parodist Nathan Sharp (aka NateWantsToBattle) performed Training Hard, a parody of the song, based on Pokemon X & Y.
- In 2014, the song was covered by YouTube celebrity and The Voice season 6 finalist Christina Grimmie. She also sang the song with Sam Behymer during the Battles Round 2 of the said singing competition.
Uses in popular culture
"Counting Stars" was used in the end credits and in some of the TV spots for the 2014 sci-fi film Earth to Echo.
The song appeared in 2015 video game, Guitar Hero Live.
|Australia (ARIA)||7× Platinum||490,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||8× Platinum||640,000^|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Gold||15,000^|
|Italy (FIMI)||3× Platinum||90,000*|
|Mexico (AMPROFON)||2× Platinum||120,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||2× Platinum||30,000*|
|Sweden (GLF)||5× Platinum||200,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||30,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||2× Platinum||1,070,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||5,300,000|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||3× Platinum||5,400,000^|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||2× Platinum||20,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Austria||June 14, 2013||CD single|
|United States||Radio (Top 40)|
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