DJ Michael explains why Owl City is the sound of summer 2010.
Okay, for fans of global hit “Fireflies”, this admission of fondness for Owl City, actually Owatonna, Minnesota boy, Adam Young, will come as no surprise. Nor will my affection for melodic electronica, revealed in previous reviews of the definitively lustral Empire of the Sun and Underworld. Click on previous pages if you missed them.
The Owl City phenomenon began back in summer 2007 when Adam uploaded a few tracks to MySpace and calmly expected little to happen. Now, nearly 40 million plays later, the sublime, infectious melodies created in his basement have sweetly redefined the boundaries of house music. No wonder he christened his first full album “Maybe I’m dreaming.” He wasn’t. MySpace word-of-mouth had done the trick, critical acclaim flowed and now Ocean Eyes is here to cement his soaring reputation.
Woven together with intricate sound layers, startling loops, catchy hooks and lyrics that stroke the heart and refresh the soul, Adam Young again takes the listener to his chosen vistas where we can escape into his dreams of oceans, boundless skies and love, sometimes lost, sometimes found.
His voice has a plaintive quality, but so sweepingly lovely are the overlapping foreground and background mixes that it is impossible not to slip into a state of profound bliss. And it’s not just his expertise with the digital technology that makes it all works. He is completely at home with his chosen instruments too. I haven’t asked him who’s he’s listened to, but I’m hearing hints of Zero 7, Kinobe, A Man called Adam (surely no relation) and dear old Moby.
Standout tracks include "The Saltwater Room" awash with glorious vocal harmonies and the touching ode to love lost, "Vanilla Twilight." But, for once, on the notoriously difficult second album, there isn’t a single dud track.
Don’t take my word for it. Check out the tracks embedded here, reach for a chilled glass of Prosecco and simply drift away. I’ll happily join you.
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