22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and imaginative, Adam Young has crafted a gem of a record
I remember one day a couple years ago I was looking at music on Amazon MP3 and saw a free song called "Fireflies" by Owl City. I thought it sounded interesting and downloaded the song... little did I know that soon, iTunes would also offer the song for free and it would go on to propel Owl City into an unprecedented level of popularity. "Fireflies" was fun but I wasn't a...
Published on August 18, 2011 by JoeAZ92
2.0 out of 5 stars OK
Not their best album. I did not like it as much as some of their other stuff. It's okay not great. It's different from their other stuff and not in a good way; I would rather them stick to what they usually do.
Published 7 months ago by qwerty
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and imaginative, Adam Young has crafted a gem of a record,
Adam Young's imagination is really the centerpiece of his music, or at least that is how it would seem. Every song creates its own world of wonder and emotion, making each track distinct in some way, and every single song is notably fun and catchy. If you let your imagination illustrate tracks like "Honey and the Bee" and "Galaxies," you'll understand that they're aptly named. Also worthy of noting is the little taste of hip-hop throughout the music. At the core, Owl City's music is electronic, but this time around there are some definite hip-hop influences. Most of the time it just shows itself in the percussion section or the song's rhythm, such as in "Kamikaze" and "Dreams Don't Turn To Dust," but "Alligator Sky" really brings this in full force with rapped verses and backing vocals by Shawn Christopher (although the alternate, non-rap version of the song is actually just as fantastic). In the end, All Things is simply loads of fun from a musical standpoint, from the sheer catchiness to the wild imagination the songs reveal.
Lyrically, Young still strikes a wonderful balance of witty humor, pure imagination, and an appreciation for the beauty of God's creation. "The Real World" seems to summarize the overarching idea behind Young's musings, when he says "Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there," as if to say that God's creation is indeed beautiful, but because of our sin and all the troubles it causes on this planet, there will always be a longing for a world beyond this one. His thoughts often wander even into outer space, especially in songs like "Galaxies," "Angels," and "Alligator Sky." "Galaxies" also features some of Young's boldest lyrics regarding his faith in Christ with lines such as, "Dear God, I was terribly lost when the galaxies crossed and the sun went dark, but dear God You're the only North Star I would follow this far," and "He is the saving grace of the galaxies." Various viewpoints of romance are also sprinkled throughout the album, namely in the infectious "Deer in the Headlights" and the excellent "The Yacht Club." Young's songs are all gems lyrically, whether it's wandering into outer space or describing honest feelings about romance, and the lyrics combined with the otherworldly music create a truly fantastic set of songs.
All Things Bright and Beautiful has made me appreciate Adam Young's music, heart, and imagination so much; in fact it has even made me enjoy Ocean Eyes more now that I have a better feel for what he tries to accomplish in his music. He succeeds on many levels with his latest release, whether it causes your imagination to soar or just makes you smile and perhaps even laugh out loud because of the clever way he writes his lyrics. All Things Bright and Beautiful is a gem in today's music industry; I hope anyone even slightly interested in this kind of music won't overlook this fantastic record.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!,
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is CLEAN!!,
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful [Explicit] [+digital booklet] (MP3 Music)Dudes!!! This album is totally clean!! Don't pay attention to the 'explicit' label. There's seriously nothing bad about this album. This album sounds a little different than Owl City's usual work, but it really shows how well they [Adam] can adapt to different music styles. Definitely Worth the money!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivated again.,
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful (Audio CD)Owl City has created yet another breath-taking album with his latest album, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," that features twelve new tracks. His latest album is the follow-up to Owl City's previous album "Ocean Eyes," which peaked at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 and featured the quadruple-platinum hit single, "Fireflies." "All Things Bright and Beautiful" retains the same colorful, imaginative quality that Owl City is known for, yet also shows growth in musical style from Adam Young's previous album, "Ocean Eyes."Even Young states in his Youtube video, which talks about the making of "All Things Bright and Beautiful," "Even though you can work forever on a mix, on a song, on an album... in my mind it's never really done, but this new record is really a lot more finished than the last one, so I'm excited to feel that much more resolved."
In his latest album, Owl City remains true to his synth-pop style but also ventures to dabble in others styles. In both "Alligator Sky," which features the rapper Shawn Chrystopher, and "Kamikaze," Owl City uses hip hop beats and elements such as turntabilism; whereas the track, "Galaxies" fuses together Owl City's synth-pop with European trance. These tracks experiment with genres that have influenced Young's music: Owl City's website lists European trance artists such as Armin Van Buuren, ATB, and DJ Encore as influences, and in an interview Young says, "I just get lost in the rhythm of it all... As far as hip hop goes, it's kind of where my heart is." Other tracks such as "Hospital Flowers" and "Honey and the Bees" take on a more acoustic approach that is reminiscent of Young's other project, Sky Sailing.
Owl City also rewards its audience through the various artist collaborations in the track. LIGHTS, another electronic synth-pop artist adds in her vocals in to "The Yacht Club," and Shawn Chrystopher contributes his rap in "Alligator Sky." For fans of "The Saltwater Room" from the previous album, Breanne Duren makes a re-appearance in "Honey and the Bee." My favorite collaboration, however, is the track "Plant Life" with Matt Thiessen from Relient K, in which the two artists complement perfectly. The track blends together Thiessen's and Young's vocals, which are incredibly similar, as well as the style of the two artists in the song's lyrics and structure--something that fans of Relient K and Owl City would appreciate to the fullest.
As in previous albums, Owl City's lyrics evoke vivid and tangible imagery, although this time, Owl City seems to take a much different approach in the content of his lyrics than his previous album, which some may find hard to follow. Whereas "Ocean Eyes" managed to charm our view of everyday reality into the colorful yet both playful and innocent view of a child, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" allows us to peer further into the imaginative world inside Young's head and see his take on the bigger things in life--ranging from the galaxy to God and God's creation to dreams versus reality. The tracks "Galaxies" and its prologue, "January 28, 1986," boldly reveal the influence of Young's faith through lines such as "They had a hunger to the universe and discover its truths" and "Dear God, I was terribly lost when the galaxies crossed and the sun went dark, but dear God You're the only North Star I would follow this far." Other songs such as "Dreams don't turn to dust" and "The Real World" addresses Young's view of not being completely grounded in reality to the point that dreams are crushed through lines such as " `Cause I couldn't live without sunsets that dazzle in the dusk, So I'll drag the anchor up and rest assured `cause dreams don't turn to dust" and
"Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there."
Owl City's lyrics in his latest album "All Things Bright and Beautiful" may captivate most fans but, in addition to his change in content, some may find his choice of words too exact and clichéd. In addition to the content of the lyrics, in terms of the voice and choice of lyrics behind the lyrics, "All Things Bright and Beautiful" manages to fully capture the message Young wants his music to carry the most--optimism and hope."Trying to preserve some sort kind of optimism.... That's kind of what I want to communicate the most--hope" However, Owl City's word choice may be too precise and too sugary for some of the audience. Even Young admits to thinking about his choice of words over and over again as he tells his audience that, "Some songs will take me a day... some songs I can keep putting down words and variation of what's there for a week." And in another interview Young seemed to imply that, after Ocean Eyes, his word choice might be more precise when he said, "It's a little bit daunting, because it's easy to over-think. It's kind of a double-edged sword, because now I have so much to write about and for. But still, knowing that it eventually be heard by a lot of people, makes me sort of step back and really make sure I'm writing what I want to be heard." But who came blame Young for wanting to capture his vivid, colorful view of the world in precise words, much like the way a DSLR camera can capture the breath-taking view of the world that others might not see?
In short, some who enjoyed Owl City's previous album "Ocean Eyes" may find Owl City's word choice and content of lyrics hard to digest this time. But most fans of Owl City will not be disappointed by "All Things Bright and Beautiful"--they will appreciate Owl City's experimentation in music styles and adore the world Owl City paints through his music.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Owl City [All Things Bright And Beautiful],
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful (Audio CD)Owl City is back with a new full-length studio album - "All Things Bright And Beautiful" - out June 14th worldwide on Universal Republic. Produced by Owl City's Adam Young and recorded at Sky Harbor Studios the album features twelve new songs. "All Things Bright And Beautiful" is the follow-up full-length studio album to Owl City's platinum-selling debut "Ocean Eyes." "Ocean Eyes'" sales were led by the runaway single "Fireflies" which is currently quadruple platinum in the US. On "All Things Bright and Beautiful," the music and lyrics conspire to make listeners feel as if they were stepping into another world -- a musical dreamland where "reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there," as Young sings on the opening track "The Real World." That statement sums up the theme of this album well. Adam seems to write and sing songs that are mostly about living for something greater than this world. About how music and his faith merge, Young says, "Music is something that is fused to who I am. It allows me to breathe deeply, it lets me feel, imagine, aspire and dream in the most beautiful ways imaginable. Music is something that I can't imagine living without, and though it means more to me than the world itself, there is something that weighs significantly heavier on the scale of all things valuable and important in my life, that being my relationship with Jesus Christ."
Images of abundance, like a backyard of butterflies in "Honey and the Bee," blossoms filling a room in "Hospital Flowers," and "sunsets that dazzle in the dusk " in "Dreams Don't Turn To Dust" unfold alongside starry-eyed imaginings of cherry bombs staining blackbirds red in "Kamikaze" and dipping one's toes in the galaxy in the first single "Alligator Sky," featuring Shawn Chrystopher. Young follows opening track "The Real World" with "Deer in the Headlights," a playful song about feeling the pressure to be the perfect guy where Adam sings "It's suffocating to say but the female mystique takes my breath away." Through each song, even the more melancholy ones, such as "Dreams Don't Turn To Dust" and "Plant Life," Young retains his ever-present optimism, letting the listener know that no matter how tough times get, there's always light at the end of the tunnel. There are also songs with a dance floor tempo, in particular stand-out tracks "Angels," "Galaxies" and "The Yacht Club," which features guest vocals by Canadian singer Lights.The female vocalist on "The Honey and The Bee" is Breanne Düren. She is the vocalist who sang on "Saltwater Room" from Ocean Eyes. Closing track"Plant Life" was co-written with Relient K's Matthew Thiessen.
Like everyone else, I was hooked by "Fireflies" and "Vanilla Twilight" from "Ocean Eyes." At the time, I didn't even know Adam was a Christian and then he recorded a brilliant cover of "In Christ Alone," and I've been a huge fan ever since. Some of the Christian focused lyrics are found in my favorite song "Galaxies," which is right after Adam plays a sound clip of President Ronald Reagan speaking about the victims of space shuttle Challenger that exploded on "January 28, 1986." In the sound clip, Reagan pays tribute to their bravery and how they "touched the face of God." I got the great opportunity to interview Adam about the song and we spent time discussing these lyrics in "Galaxies"-"For He is the saving grace of the Galaxies! He is the saving grace of the Galaxies! Dear God, I was terribly lost, When the galaxies crossed, And the Sun went dark. Dear God, You're the only North Star, I would follow this far." He shared that the song is from the perspective of the astronauts before the explosion and is a prayer to God expressing his devotion to Him as "the saving grace of the Galaxies." Amen.
CLOSING THOUGHTS (Staff Review, NewReleaseTuesday.com)
Something about Owl City's music that I've consistently enjoyed is the ability to escape daily stress and pressures while listening to the songs. Adam Young has a unique gift to make catchy and optimistic songs while still challenging me intellectually. My favorite songs on this very solid album are "Angels," "Dreams Don't Turn To Dust," "Honey and the Bee," "Galaxies," "The Yacht Club," and stunning closing track "Plant Life." Knowing Adam's faith as a Christian allows me as listener to share his optimism that we weren't made for this world. "All Things Bright And Beautiful" is easily the best alternative music album of the year. I love that this album is chock-full of optimistic messages wrapped around some incredibly hooky beats and dance floor tempos. If you liked "Ocean Eyes," you'll be thrilled by "All Things Bright And Beautiful."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Patricia, but her son: Buy the Album,
Long version: When I first found out about All Things Bright and Beautiful, I was skeptical. I was already an Owl City fan, but I was hoping to see something far more similar to Ocean Eyes. The first songs I heard were "Galaxies" and "Deer in the Headlights." I liked "Galaxies," especially the message, but was worried about the differences in sound. My first impression of "Deer in the Headlights" was terrible; I never wanted to hear it again. I listened to a few other songs and went ahead and decided to buy the album, anyway.
After I bought it, things changed. I loved it. So, here are the details on this fanciful masterpiece.
Following along with the Owl City tradition, dreams and optimism permeate All Things Bright and Beautiful. The first track, "The Real World," starts out with classic Young lyrics: "I saw the autumn leaves / peel up off the street / take wing on the balmy breeze / and sweep you off your feet." However, you soon find that the album makes many departures from the previous ones. Songs like "Galaxies," "Kamikaze," and "Angels" even show some force to them, a first for any Owl City album. If you have been listening since Of June, you will probably be surprised at many of the songs on this album (then again, I never liked Of June).
First, I would like to point out that this is still distinctly Owl City. Lyrics such as "Apple raspberry river blue / I don't want to leave without you!" show as much. Most of the album's shift comes from the changes in Adam Young's life since Ocean Eyes; once a basement dreamer, he has now travelled much of the world and seen things he had previously only imagined. The result is that his songs no longer consist primarily of him imagining the world beyond him, such as in "Hello Seattle." Now, he shifts deeper into dreams and fantasy to compensate for his expanded view of the real world. This is not a bad thing, but it presents a challenge for writing songs like "Early Birdie" or "The Tip of the Iceberg" from now on.
Another change is the maturity of his sound. He mentioned in multiple interviews that he wanted All Things Bright and Beautiful to be more polished and refined than his previous works, and he succeeds. While still maintaining his signature fun, magical synth goodness, he advances to make his songs more like real music. Again, this is by no means a bad thing; it adds variety to his work without compromising Owl City.
There is a lot of experimentation on this album. Songs like "Kamikaze" will catch you completely off guard, and songs like "Deer in the Headlights and "The Yacht Club" will have you dancing harder than usual, while "Plant Life" shows an unexpected but very suiting direction with softer sounds and real instruments (almost, but not quite, hearkening back to An Airplane Carried Me to Bed). In fact, this is probably what disappoints many fans, at least at first (I soon came to love most of the new stuff), because there are more experiments than tried-and-true-style songs, but they still make a great album and pave the road to a better variety of new and old in his future works.
If you are a fan, you probably know that Adam Young is a Christian. In All Things Bright and Beautiful, this comes out like never before. I personally love this, though I have seen some who dislike the album for that reason alone. Anyway, "Galaxies" is the most explicit song for his faith, with the statements, "Dear God, You're the only North Star I would follow this far!" and, "For He is the saving grace of the galaxies!" In the song "Hospital Flowers," he says, "grace had finally found its way to me." Then there is "Kamikaze." Filled with metaphorical language, it speaks powerfully of his spiritual life and its struggles, but arms him with the hope that "My Captain on His snowy horse / is coming back to take me home!"
My conclusion is simple; buy the album. If you are a fan, you really need to, unless your favorite songs are from Of June, in which case I pray for you. If you are not yet a fan, try it out and I guarantee that you will either be hooked or find it perfect for someone else you know.
Individual Song Reviews:
1."The Real World" - This is one of my favorite songs on All Things Bright and Beautiful, and it is perfect to start the album. It takes you on a fantastic journey through a dreamy autumn wonderland far away from reality, and is probably the best song to transition from Ocean Eyes. "Downy feathers kiss your face, / and flutter everywhere. / Reality is a lovely place, / but I wouldn't want to live there."
2."Deer in the Headlights" - At first, I thought this song was way too off for Owl City, with its harder music, but I soon came to love it. It is absolutely hilarious and the music video is even better. "Met a girl in the parking lot / and all I did was say 'hello.' / Her pepper spray made it rather hard / for me to walk her home."
3."Angels" - This is a somewhat odd song, but catchy. It is the first song with anything you could call shouting, but it works well. The feel is a bit mysterious and the lyrics are fun. "Living close to the ground / is seventh heaven 'cause there are angels all around."
4."Dreams Don't Turn to Dust" - I absolutely love this song. While a bit of a departure from previous works musically (it is somewhat orchestral), it is still awesome and the lyrics are classic Owl City. Of course, I probably just like it because "maybe I'm just a dreamer." (Random fact: there was a contest for making a music video for this song in the UK.)
5."Honey and the Bee" - I really like this song, though I will admit it is cheesier than most of Owl City's previous love songs. It is filled with nature and seems to be very suited for the album cover. Breanne Düren returns, and her lovely voice again reacts with Adam Young's in cute chemistry. "Backyard of butterflies / surrounded me. / I fell in love with you / like bees to honey!"
6."Kamikaze" - This song is the most radical departure from anything Adam Young did previously, with pretty forceful and serious elements. It is a song about his spiritual life and struggles, filled with metaphorical language, starting in the Garden of Eden and going to Christ's return. It makes a good battle song for spiritual warfare. "(Oh, comet come down!) Kamikaze over me / (And I come alive!) / my midnight Melody!"
7."January 28, 1986" - This is actually a clip from Ronald Reagan's speech after the Challenger explosion with Adam vocalizing the tune to "Galaxies" in the background (it serves as an introductory track). It serves its purpose well, giving a solemn tribute to the Challenger victims. It is best in gapless playback before "Galaxies," but listening to Reagan is worth it even independently.
8."Galaxies" - A faith-driven song with really random verses, it is one of my favorites. This could easily be considered a true Christian song: "Dear God, I was terribly lost / when the galaxies crossed / and the sun went dark! / Dear God, You're the only North Star / I would follow this far!"
9."Hospital Flowers" - This is the serious song of this album, akin to "Tidal Wave" on Ocean Eyes and "This is the Future" on Maybe I'm Dreaming. It has a solemn feel to it, with soft music and vocalizations. It is about a car crash putting life into perspective. It is not really my favorite, but it is good work. "Happiness returned to me / through a grave emergency."
10. "Alligator Sky" - I was extremely skeptical when I heard that All Things Bright and Beautiful had rap on it, but I was won over when I heard the song. Adam Young and Shawn Chrystopher work well together, producing one of the most fun songs on the album. Expect to be rapping badly trying to sing along while dancing like a lunatic. "Now I'ma dance like I never dance / sing like I never sing / dream like I never dream."
11. "The Yacht Club" - This is probably one of the best songs for dancing to in all of Adam Young's works (with the possible exception of the "Hello Seattle" remix). It starts with the stereotypical unrequited love in Owl City perspective. "She would rather fall in chocolate / than fall in love / especially with me."
12. "Plant Life" - This song, made with the help of Relient K's Matt Thiessen, is very unusual, but fun when you get used to it. As the title suggests, it is primarily about plants, but also includes stuff that I really just do not understand. Still, it is a great song. "I'd rather waltz than just walk through the forest. / The trees keep the tempo and they sway in time."
13. "Alligator Sky (No Rap Version)" - This is based on the normal "Alligator Sky," but with Adam Young singing different lyrics where the rap used to be. It is an extremely fun song, good for dance, and really makes you want to see something cool like fireworks or a planetarium (well, at least it does that to me). "Remember to breathe / 'cause it'll take your breath away / when the engines cough / and you blast off!"
27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocked!,
With all of this said, I've NEVER been a fan of Owl City. Too sweet and puffy...too simplistically sing-songy-synthesized, Too...POP!
All that changed when I begrudgingly attended their recent concert at the Mann Center in Philadelphia as a designated driver for my daughter and friends. My impression of their live performance has brought me here to write all of this and buy the entire "All things bright and shiny" collection!
A lot of the live material was from their new CD and the writing and execution of this (and older) material radiates with a broader maturity in every way from their more simple and straightforward studio existence.
Adam's live vocals were much more dynamic and devoid of processing effects which made him sound...very human!
Decompressing their live sound to feature a more solid rhythm section with some bass guitar, more synth-bass, full acoustic drum kit(s), various percussion, cello and violin validates Owl City as a REAL band, not just a guy (Adam Young) with too many synthesizers and effects (no offense intended).
I marveled that most of the musicians including Adam (keyboards, guitar, drums) are multi-instrumentalists. I witnessed string players switching to electric bass then to keyboards, and guitar players switching up to drums then keyboards then percussion then back again! There was no skimping on equipment: Three (3) keyboard stations, Two (2) drum kits, a percussion station, Two (2) rhythm guitars on-line most of the time and half a string quartet (violin, cello) fattened up with signal processing to sound like a well-tuned full quartet!
Adam and his band have succeeded in turning this harsh critic into a believer! Is a live CD next?????
It is not that often that a band sounds "better than the record" live, but that's what I experienced with great joy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Music- Misleading Explicit Label Needs TO BE Removed,
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful [Explicit] [+digital booklet] (MP3 Music)Um, Emplicit? Really? This music is soooo clean. Amazon needs to remove the Explicit label because I am sure it was a mistake. I have listen to this album over and over again and short of playing it backwards there is NOTHING BAD OR OFFENSIVE in this music.Two of the songs are christian for crying out loud! HELLO! Save the EXPLICIT label for the rap music albums! Owl City is like one of the cleanest groups out there! Like none of their songs are bad, and that's one of the things I love most about this group!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, indeed...,
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful (Audio CD)I heard about this band from a blog and I must say this is fabulous! Great voice, harmonic music, and ingenious lyrics. Kind of reminds me of Badly Drawn Boy (the UK band who's "Promises" was on the "Henry Poole Is Here" OST), only better. It's a keeper for sure. Love the sense of humor (especially getting "maced" in the park when he tries to talk to a girl; and there's more)! Adam Young is really good and writes and composes in a very nice way. Highly recommend this. You can't find too many bands that have a sense of humor today and with good music. Their new single, "Get Hope," is out, haven't heard it yet. Get this if you like the above observations and mellow yet ear-catching lyrics.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its title!,
This review is from: All Things Bright And Beautiful (Audio CD)I have just recently discovered Owl City, and I am already a huge fan. When I was looking for a CD of his to buy, I listened to Ocean Eyes and several other songs, but finally settled on All Things Bright and Beautiful. I'm so glad I did! In my opinion, it's his best so far. Unlike most modern Christian artists, Owl City focuses on the beauty and excitement in God's Creation. There's none of the down-beat, sob-story songs that I am, unfortunately, coming across in Christian media more and more often.
The music is extremely good - fresh, colorful, and lively. The lyrics are very poetic, and often contain word plays; they're fun to try and find. And of course, Adam's voice is really great: very soft and calming in some songs (Hospital Flowers, for instance), and strong in others (Galaxies). While Ocean Eyes contained a lot of love songs, All Things Bright and Beautiful has only 3 (Deer in the Headlights, Honey and the Bee, and the Yacht Club). I really like Yacht Club, but sometimes skip the other two (there's nothing wrong with them; I just don't happen to like them personally). I LOVE how Adam's faith in Christ comes out in this album; he expresses it in a very imaginative, fun way. I adore the song "Hospital Flowers" for that reason. From what I can tell, it is his story of personal salvation. "Galaxies" has really good lyrics, too, "Oh, telescope, keep an eye on my only hope/lest I blink and get swept off the narrow road/Hercules, you've got nothin' to say to me/'cause you're not the Blinding Light that I need/for He is the saving grace of the galaxies!" So good...
Each song is totally different from the one before - there's a new beat and feel to each song. I can listen to the CD every day without getting tired of it, because of the lack of repetition. I've gotten to the point where I almost don't want to listen to anything else! :D
In short, All Things Bright and Beautiful lives up to its title very well. Owl City takes the listener on a wild, imaginative ride through creation through the music and word-pictures in the lyrics. Whether you're a brand new fan of Owl City like me, or have been a follower since the beginning, I would highly recommend All Things Bright and Beautiful!
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