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Owl City without the Whimsy
on August 23, 2012
I would not call this album bad. It was a very enjoyable listen, but it lacked the things that I loved about Owl City and the things that made Owl City stand apart. There are two areas where I noticed major differences.
One, the lyrics. Previous Owl City albums had quirky poetic words that left the listener in a state of whimsy and wonder. In this album, everything is very simple and plainly stated. Adam is simply telling you things rather than painting a picture. And, the subject matter is less inspired. In previous albums, Owl City had a unique voice and had valuable ideas to contribute. In this album, almost every song is the same "believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything" that everyone in my "I'm so special" generation is singing about.
Two, the music. In "Ocean Eyes" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful", Owl City created beautiful masterpieces of synthetic symphony. He utilized several sounds and layered them in a complex and compelling way. When recording my own music, I had always held Owl City as the pinnacle of great mixing and great orchestration. With this new album, the music is very basic and repetitive. None of the songs take you on the kind of journey that "Cave In" or "Umbrella Beach" did.
I will say that I still love Owl City and I did enjoy this album, but this feels more like a step back than a step forward. I hope that in the future we hear more songs like the ones on "Ocean Eyes" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful".