When Vice President Al Gore and producer T Bone Burnett were looking for someone to write the title song for the Paramount Pictures/Participant Media film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (which opens July 28), OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder wasn’t necessarily the obvious choice for the follow-up to the 2007 documentary about global warming.
With President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, though, Oklahoma native Tedder felt the evangelical fervor of Gore’s message in the film and brought an extra urgency to “Truth to Power,” whose lyric video premieres today on Variety in advance of its release on Friday. Using the metaphor of earth as a jilted lover talking directly to its inhabitants, Tedder and Burnett turned the result into an old-school Pentecostal gospel rouser, a call-to-action every bit as urgent as a preacher delivering a fire-and-brimstone sermon to his congregation.
“I wanted to take a break from writing songs about myself,” says Tedder. “So I took the point-of-view of mother earth turning the tables on those who’d betray her.”
The song came within a half-hour to Tedder, who then recorded it with Burnett at Los Angeles’ famed United Studios.
OneRepublic plans on playing the song during their final night on U2 Joshua Tree tour this Saturday night at Cleveland FirstEnergy Stadium before embarking on their own headlining Honda Civic 2017 summer jaunt with Fitz & the Tantrums and James Arthur.
Tedder, who last year earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for co-writing and producing Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande’s duet, “Faith,” for the animated film, Sing, insists he never even realized Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up,” from the first documentary, earned her an Oscar in the same category. Can he repeat history?
“I Googled her song just before I started writing and that’s when I found that out,” he explains. “You don’t do stuff for awards, but it did add to the pressure. I’ve given up guessing on the awards process. If you do good work, one of those chunks of metal will find you. Whatever happens, it was probably the most joyful experience I’ve ever had writing a song for a movie.”