Editor’s note: Last Friday, Muse ran a review of Owl City’s Ocean Eyes for our online edition. Muse offers a different take on the Owl City album for this online edition, written by Aggie Arts Writer Brittany Pearlman.
Universal Republic Recordings
Ocean Eyes, Owl City’s first label produced LP, makes fans want to burst out chuckling at the initial absurdity, but propels them to investigate into the deeper meaning underneath the fanciful lyrics. After the first shock of the magical beats, fans arrive at something resembling their own secret dreams and fantasies.
The melodic symphonies pull the listeners into a kind of lullaby, which is quite ironic since all of his songs, including those in Owl City’s first two self-produced albums, were inspired by a sole member, Adam Young’s, lack of sleep. In fact, this album is a sort of ode to his insomnia: an expression of gratitude for the deprivation, which inspired him into creating such a digitally infused, whimsical musical explosion.
With a fluid, dreamlike quality heard throughout the whole album, each individual song brings with it something new to be discovered. Young integrates random images such as water adventures, flying and metamorphosis – and that’s just in one song. He magically transforms a monotonous and painful experience, such as a dentist visit, into an ironic and albeit comical adventure (“Dental Care“). Drifting in and out of softer ballads of teenage love sagas (“Bird and the Worm” and “Tidal Wave“), Young maintains highly upbeat and simplistic melodies – never failing to inspire a smile.
This album seems to be utter and total chaos; just free expression in song form. This assumption would be incorrect, for underneath the digitally enhanced, bizarre and imaginary situations exists a human presence that reaches the listener on an intimate and poignant level. The arrangements and melodies are rather simple – after all, they’re almost entirely composed on the computer. Even so, Young’s lyrics are layered into several meanings, depending on how far the listener wants to dive into it.
No matter what the content of the song may be (as mentioned, the subjects vary all over the place), Ocean Eyes has a very distinct, happy-go-lucky feeling – quite reminiscent of The Postal Service.
There is no doubt that the hit song “Fireflies” is the masterpiece of the album, but there are many runner-ups, including “Vanilla Twilight” and “Hello Seattle,” which truly expose Owl City as an experiment gone right. This techno/Emo/symphonic/quixotic combination found the essential “it” factor, and is absolutely worth listening to.
Give these tracks a listen: “Fireflies,” “Vanilla Twilight“
For Fans Of: The Postal Service, The Rocket Summer
– Brittany Pearlman