Newest Review: ... of Young are now subjected to a more mainstream and chart friendly ensemble of songs. The debate has often been venomous but it is a new ... more
New Owl City - both dreams and disasters
The Midsummer Station - Owl City
Member Name: timetoshine
The Midsummer Station - Owl City
Advantages: Excellent songs, a new direction and sound
Disadvantages: Commercial and divisive amongst fans
The new album is a mixed blessing for Owl City, the name of the musical project created by Adam Young. The Midsummer Station is a distinct turn for the project after he maintained the same synth pop style for the previous three albums. It was conceived in part out of the ashes of its predecessor, All Things Bright and Beautiful, in my opinion the best album by Owl City. That was such a poor commercial failure, selling just 143,000 in the US. Therefore, Adam decided to branch out, bring in other producers such as Stargate and John Crosby and adopt a more commercial sound. Overall, it is a different album, much more polished than any previous one, which has all of the vocal effects, pounding bass and repetition of this decade's music. However, it still brings to the table a considerable amount of the Owl City charm and character, which redeems it and makes it a generally excellent album. It is a mixed blessing though as many who have grown up listening to the chirpy home produced pop of Young are now subjected to a more mainstream and chart friendly ensemble of songs. The debate has often been venomous but it is a new musical direction which keeps Owl City relevant, current and a sustainable project. This is still an amazing album, perhaps now with an even wider appeal.
1) Dreams and Disasters - an instant hook, this is a great introduction to the album with a driving bassline and soaring vocals. It is not too unexpected yet.
2) Shooting Star - the second single from the album has attracted comparisons to Katy Perry's Firework and I can see the similarity. It is not particularly inventive and is by far not my favourite on the album but it is nonetheless. It has a pop charm and is optimistic, both reflectors of the whole album.
3) Gold - this is one of my favourite songs of Owl City and the best on the album. It is life-affirming with a dash of inspiration. Sure, the chorus of G-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ll-l-l-l-ll-d-d-d-d-dd-d is not too creative but it works really well, is a well-woven song and has a magical air about it.
4) Dementia - a great song, a real highlight, about Adam's own life trying to reconcile fame with an ordinary existence. It has great sequences of lyrics and a more subtle chorus than the other songs on the album. The occasional vocals from featured guest Mark Hoppus adds to the layering effect on this excellent song.
5) Im Coming After You - This is perhaps a weaker song on the album but with an intoxicating woo-woo-woo chorus. It is a little similar to Deer In the Headlights, but with a great backing beat.
6) Speed of Love - a great dance number with really addictive twists of beat but lacking lyrically
7) Good Time - the most well known song, this was the first single and a summer hit mainly due to his collaboration with Carly Rae Jepson. It is actually a decent song when given a few listens, but is mostly just a mainstream pop factory song with a catchy hook and a memorable chorus 'its always a good time'
8) Embers - This is an outstanding song and I adore the first few lines of lyrics. Listen to them and they show a songcraft which is rarely seen in the mainstream. The chorus is also good, reminding me of Shooting Stars even more, which knits the album together nicely.
9) Silhouette - A rare ballad from Owl City, this is hauntingly beautiful. It builds up with plinking piano keys, a soothing drum beat and a gorgeous string section. One of the most artistic and evocative song on the album.
10) Metropolis - An average song on the album, perhaps better than some earlier, showing that this is a record that gets better as you go. The hook is the line 'I left my heart in Metropolis' which is delivered nicely. It has quite an atmospheric feel with the soaring violin backdrop. In retrospect, this album grows on you such that I am changing my opinion whilst re-listening to each of the songs and finding new dimensions.
11) Take It All Away - a bold, thumping and triumphant conclusion, this is anthemic in its quality. Its drumbeats are exquisite and though it is not especially innovative in its lyrics and construction, it is like Gold in that it has just a special spark about it.
Summary: Another triumph for an underrated great of modern music