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After the gigantic success of Owl City's 'Ocean Eyes', largely thanks to the phenomenal one hit wonder track 'Fireflies', the follow up would prove difficult to produce for anyone, even though the past album was incredibly mediocre. 'All Things Bright & Beautiful' proves the whole christian content theory true, with previous lyrics ripped straight from the bible. Its also sticking to the cheery theme where everything is made of marshmallows, sparkling rainbows stain the sky and unicorns recite poetry.
"Reality is a lovely place but I wouldn't want to live there"
Adam Young's writing abilities clearly haven't broken any new ground or changed from his childish out there style. While the introduction is a breezy synth line in 'The Real World', Young's whispering voice bumbles a load of rhymes and occasionally differs in keys, prompting violent autotune jerks here and there. 'Deer in the Headlights' is my guilty pleasure, because although its lyrics are equally lame to the majority of Owl City songs ("Her pepper spray made it rather hard for me to walk her home" & "Its suffocating to say that the female mystique takes my breath away") The melody is irresistible and so upbeat its difficult cast out, the chorus is poppy and loved up but "Tell me again was it love at first sight, when I walked by and you caught my eye" is as strong as it gets and rightfully makes the song a 3rd bouncy single from the album. 'Angels' features a subtle glockenspiel intro spoiled by the nervous shouting "Wake me if you're out there" which reeks of tampering effects as if Young's voice broke halfway through recording. Theres almost nothing new here, as it flies through with the same special effects, lyrics and vocals that try to sound serious, getting louder occasionally. "I've been sleeping with the night light unplugged" well done sir, truly a heroic feat.
Breanne Düren Returns..
The fourth track offers a bit of relief from the same dawdling crud with some snappy percussion and choppy orchestral strokes in 'Dreams Don't Turn To Dust'. The bridges shine as the keyboard synchronizes with a suitable vocal (reminiscent of 'Fireflies' verses). "Apple, raspberry river blue, I don't wanna leave without you" throws away any expectations of decent writing and is only rescued by the same bridge. Cue some spacial effects and more shouting which has to be the least intimidating sound on the planet - like a puppy yawning. At last an original, pure instrumental in 'Honey and the Bee', a spindly pull off riff which is just plain catchy along with the popping drums. This one would prove to be the albums 'Saltwater Room' as the duet features guest vocals from Breanne Düren which grates like a pineapple on your spine. "If the green left the grass on the other side - I would make like a tree and leave" is a mixed turn based chorus that makes Adam Young seem not so bad compared to the sugary cries of a sharply tuned mistress. Don't worry though because Young is back on form with a typically ludicrous lyric "I swear there's a lot of vegetables out there!", marvellous...
Hercules Vs. God
I have no idea whats going on in 'Kamikaze' - which again, pushes more shouts from young that sound very forced. It then interrupts with a vaguely familiar synth melody that definitely has been done before in other efforts - its just difficult to recall as most songs blend into one puffy, smiley pile of multicoloured chunks. A handful of sounds burst in like that of drilling on a tire to an F1 car - which is more bearable than the shouting backing. After a minute and a half of uninspiring prologue, 'Galaxies' finally ups the effort a tad with some more string sections.. at least until the guy runs out of his ever 'meaningful', 'deep' 'pro-life' (running out of sarcasm here) words, he just fills the chorus with 'da dada da duhs' which is replaced with a keyboard the second time. Even though there isn't really a chorus, the verses are strong and a couple of shouts hit the mark for the first time. I hated 'Hospital Flowers' from the first second thanks to a terrible start "I survived a dreadful accident in the car crash of the century". Conversely, I give it a chance because there is the realness of the delicate piano. Once again though, more 'da da dadas' make you let out a disappointing sigh. One of the more slow paced songs, its also the least happy which weirdly makes for a pleasant change of pace.
'Alligator Sky' sounds like a typical daydream for Owl City - but its really a daymare because of another guest in Shawn Chrystopher. Its one thing to combine genres in music but to push together something as polar opposite as girly pop electronica with boasting rap and hip hop is like making an orange juice and milk cocktail. More copy and paste background noise for 'The Yacht Club' (basically 'Umbrella Beach'). This one features canadian indie pop loser 'Lights' to double the electro-synth grin fest. More 'da dada das', whispered backing vocals, mutterings of the moon and used riffs etc.. "I saw a ghost on the stairs" "Sharks in the sink..." ... rhymes with sink! Its genius! 'Plant Life' is pretty dull with a weak melody and lack of emotion. Matthew Thiessen adds another guest name to the list but is totally unrecognizable as he sounds exactly like Adam Young, thanks to effects or singing style, who knows. Thinking Owl City could pick things up after a poor last album, I gave this one a chance and was saddened to find it a desolate collection of effects and recycled melodies that only just worked in the past. There is no doubting that the guy is trying but the outcome is somehow worse than 'Ocean Eyes' which didn't seem possible. However I'm certain the hardcore fans (tweens) will blindly declare this as heartfelt and awesome as ever.
Sorry haven't been on Dooyoo much lately, been doing my final project work but getting withdrawal symptoms LOL so here's my latest review!
I would never have called myself an Owl City fan. My friend introduced me to several songs (Brielle, Deer in the headlights) by them which I liked but I wouldn't say I loved. They were catchy but that was all that...
But I've recently been listening to Owl City's 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' and am absolutely in love with it. Having previously been introduced to Owl City about a year ago with tracks 'Brielle' and 'Deer in the Headlights', it wasn't until recently that I looked into their albums... but I'm glad I finally did!
1. The Real World
2. Deer In the Headlights
4. Dreams Don't Turn to Dust
5. Honey and the Bee
7. January 28, 1986
9. Hospital Flowers
10. Alligator Sky
11. The Yacht Club
12. Plant Life
Beneath the synth pop beats, the lyrics are beautifully written and wonderfully poetic. The writing style of Adam Young makes Owl City unique. With references to space and nature, we are engrossed in a provocative and effervescent fantasy world through their music.
One of my favourite lines is from 'The Real World' which goes "And when the leaves return, and their whisperings fill the night, they'll freeze and burn when fire and ice collide". I just haven't heard lyrics as poetic as this - I cannot name another song as imaginative off the top of my head.
My favourite tracks off the album are 'Angels', 'The Real World' and 'Galaxies'. Personally I can't stand 'Honey and the Bee'- the alt voice just sounds horrendous but I'm sure other people may like it. But for me, I just skip it every time oops!
TRACKS TO LOVE: Angels, The Real World, Galaxies, Hospital Flowers, Alligator Sky
TRACKS TO SKIP: Honey and the Bee, January 28, 1986 (intro to galaxies)
The album can be purchased online for under £5 (Amazon.co.uk).
I would highly recommend this album as it definitely is very catchy but not meaningless- Adam Young has put his heart into this album and it shows.
Overall, the album is musically very strong and I love so many of these tracks. Having also just heard Owl City's latest song 'Dementia', which has a rockier sound, I am extremely excited for the new album coming out later this year!
UPDATE: His EP 'Shooting Star' has just been released today and it sounds HOT!!! Go check it out!