Ocean Eyes

Ocean Eyes, by Owl City

Owl City’s latest album, which came out the 26th of January, is kinda difficult to review. But, I, TakatoGuil [Sachi’s note: having nothing else better to do], will make the attempt. First though, a bit of history of Owl City. One day, a man named Adam Young decided to use his ability to make synthpop [Sachi’s note: I already loathe you. You might not have noticed this, but the only reviews here so far were for Metallica, Queen, and progressive metal.] to good use, and created several music projects, including Insect Airport, Dolphin Park, and Owl City. While this is normally the sign of a deranged mind, here I am very much assured that Adam Young is quite sane. Owl City took off like a rocket, and his second album hit #16 on the Billboard Electronic Albums chart.

This CD consists of an interesting collection of twelve songs, which average on three and a half minutes of play each. The songs themselves are… an unusual bunch to be sure, with titles like “Hello Seattle”, “Vanilla Twilight,” and “The Saltwater Room.” This too, should be triggering off warning bells that Adam is certifiable, but I still do not believe this to be the case. Many of the songs center around love; love of a person, lost love, love of places, perhaps even love of innocence. The overall theme does grate a little towards track twelve, but the music manages to stay strong because of the unity.

The third track in particular grabbed me, “Hello Seattle”. The lyrics are an exercise in unexpected perspectives, all centering around the area of Seattle, all of which glorify the particular region. The repetition is perfect for this song, each set of lyrics completely disconnected from the other, all of them inundating you with imagery. The song is particularly impressive for its ending, which one hand seems to be about evoking comfort, but on the other has an interesting tinge of desperation.

Fifth on the CD is “The Saltwater Room”, which breaks from the usual style of music, plays with words in ways that don’t quite fit definitions, and, most importantly, includes a second singer, who I believe is Breanne Düren (who participates in several other tracks, but most significantly in this one). While the song is focused on a disappointing “Will we or won’t we?”, both singers are at top form and this song’s earlier mentioned breaking from the usual style of music makes it quite enjoyable.

The ninth song is the immensely popular “Fireflies”, which, to my immense annoyance, is even being played on Christian radio stations, despite its complete lack of anything to do with religion. I do not hold that against the song, however, because of the surrealism it quickly dives into, and the complete impossibility of discerning an actual meaning from this song. It is supposedly about insomnia, but nothing about insomnia fits in the dream landscape painted for us by Young and Relient K vocalist Matt Thiessen (whose backup vocals here are quite enjoyable). This song still has me thinking about what it’s all about, and since I’ve had it in my library since the beginning of February, this song is a definite success.

Besides these three songs and the other nine on the CD, there are two extra songs on the iTunes version, and in everywhere but poor neglected Australia, Ocean Eyes comes in a deluxe version with several more songs. Sadly, my only copy is the iTunes version, so I cannot speak of those songs or consider them in this review. Despite the positive things I’ve said so far, I must emphasize two negatives. Firstly, most of the songs have the same sort of tune to them. This is quite unfortunate, but the fact remains that about half of the track sounds like “Fireflies” in some respect or another. The other complaint is that, with the exception of the songs I’ve mentioned and a few others, none of the music really sticks with you. Right now I couldn’t possibly tell you about songs like “Cave In” or “The Bird and the Worm” really even sound like.

Because of these flaws, a number is hard to come by, but I think I’ll settle on the side of niceness and say 7/10 because the good of this album far outweighs the bad, and, in these days of fancy iTunes and YouTube, you can just find out which of his songs you like and buy those, unless you absolutely must have that jewel case.