Owl City – Ocean Eyes

oceaneyes250Artist: Owl City
Album: Ocean Eyes
Genre: Electro Pop
Label: Universal Republic

Having sold a seemingly ludicrous number of albums and single tracks via online outlets, Owl City may already be bigger than your favorite band, but if that’s the case, why are just now learning of Adam Young? Well, for starters, you’ve obviously never been to this website before, but it may also be a result of the fact that Young has made his name online and not by touring or radio promotion [though he did begin playing live this year]. Combining his near Ben Gibbard [only more youth] style vocals with poppy electronica [think The Postal Service], Young gives the listener a both fun, exciting, and atmospheric audio explosion on each and every song. Later this month, with the release of Ocean Eyes, it’s only to be expected that Young will soon dominate the indie charts and then perhaps the music scene overall.

Starting off with the simplistic dance pop beat of “Cave In,” Young quickly makes his style and sensibilities known. This isn’t some deep metaphoric act so to great, poppy music. In actuality, Young is quite direct when he sings, generally referring to love for people, youth, etc. Unlike so much electronica music to come out of the scene recently, this isn’t some overtly sexual act hidden behind synth, but rather poetry to lighten your soul along with the music. ” The Bird and The Worm” then comes to showcase the quote/unquote “actual instrumentation” skills of Young as he uses hand claps and acoustic guitar to lead a very, for lack of a better term, cute, Summer love song.

A problem that tends to plague this genre is falling victim to repetition far too early for their own good. I mean, having flowing songs is key of course, but flow and repetition don’t need to mean the same thing and it’s very clear that Young has realized this. What began as light electro pop and acoustic songs early on, becomes a full blown dance party when “Umbrella Beach” begins. It’s destined t be a fan and live favorite as the thumping base and catchy chorus [whose synth lines remind me a lot of “Pacabell’s Canon” at times, but many, many, bands. This is quickly followed by “The Saltwater Room” which has a perfect pairing of Young and Breanne Duren switching lines as if lovers writing letters to one another. It’s much more relaxed, but the flow from the dance floor hit to the sunny day drive type song is completely flawless and that’s what makes this record work so well. You never feel as if something is out of place anywhere on the album.

Old school fans of Owl City will surely recognize a few “classics” reappearing on the album. Though it hasn’t really been adjusted in any way, “On The Wing” still stands out as one of the best songs ever composed or written by Young. His lyrics paint picture perfect scenes for our minds to reflect on as the music takes us away “on a wing” with him. Sounds a bit cheesy, I know, but just wait, you’ll get what I mean.

Just before we reach the end of the record, the ballad appears. I’m not saying that I have been waiting for true slow song to come from Young and it finally arrives on “Vanilla Twilight.” The music is sure to call to mind the boy band explosion of the early 2000’s, but Young’s whisper like voice, both warm and delicate at the same time, captivates you and doesn’t let go.

As I reach the end of my 12 play through of this record, I feel the same way I felt the first time I heard Owl City – happy. The music of Adam Young is like Prozac for the soul. Through genius orchestration and level headed song writing, Young takes us the kind of journey people once thought only The Postal Service could give. I’m not trying to say it’s the same because it is not, but the similarities are evident to anyone whose heard both groups and if there’s a compliment I can give that’s better than putting Young on the level of Ben Gibbard, please say so. Ocean Eyes is the perfect album for a Summer of love and a fall filled with memories of blue skies, sandy beaches, and falling stars. Though his label debut, this is Young’s third record and I only see it continuing to grow from here. Get prepared, Owl City is about to take over in a big way.

Score: 9.4/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Reece

    Thank you good sir for posting the review…(Umbrella Beach sounds like it will be amazing…)

  • Courtney

    thank you so much for this review!
    i’m looking forward to the album even more now!

  • Chelsea

    Thank you for posting a review, I’ve been waiting to hear more about Ocean Eyes. I can’t wait for Adam’s new album. All the new songs you talked about sound fantastic, I can’t wait to hear them.

  • Christina

    Thanks for the awesome review! I’m so stoked for Ocean Eyes! “The music of Adam Young is like Prozac for the soul” I completely agree.

  • Paige

    I cant wait! Adam makes beautiful music.

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  • heath

    actually, after listening to the entire album, i have become dissapointed by some of the songs. Unlike on the previous albums, were i fell in love with every song, the album, ocean eyes has left me with a fading feeling that Adam has tried something new that hasnt captured me with some of his new songs.
    Otherwise, the best songs i enjoi most on ocean eyes are, vanilla twilight, fireflys, unbrella beach, hello seattle* and the saltwater room* which he changed the lyrics up a little bit and it sounds refreshed and new, and still great.

    also, his hit singles, strawberry avalanche, and hot air balloon have become a definate favorite with me.

  • Josh

    I’m not such a fan of Owl City tbh

    Before people ask , why did i come on to the review etc. I did it to see what points a positive review would mention to see if it would change my opinion of the album.

    It didn’t.

    I still think most of the songs sound far to similar for their own good.

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