Ocean Eyes review by Owl City

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  • Released: Sep 1, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7 (62 votes)
Owl City: Ocean Eyes
3

Sound — 9
In a world of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, we have Adam Young and his Owl City--full of bubbly synthesized textures and dreamy, imaginative lyrics. "Ocean Eyes" is his 3rd album but first to go mainstream, and this album, mostly thanks to the single, "Fireflies," has also turned Young's city of owls into one of 2009's biggest up-and-coming artists. However, people expecting something ground-breaking or unique out of this album, or who have a closed mind/no imagination will be disappointed. So don't go into it with such expectations and you'll be glad you gave this album a listen. The album actually features three previously released tracks, "Hello Seattle" (from 2007's "Of June"), "On The Wing", and "The Saltwater Room" (both of 2008's "Maybe I'm Dreaming"), but each of the three have been tightened up from their previous forms for this release. Not much changed in "Hello Seattle" or "On The Wing", but the most notable changes can be found in "The Saltwater Room", with slight modifications to the lyrics and an added lead guitar part towards the end.

Lyrics — 9
Adam Young has quite the imagination when it comes to penning up lyrics for his songs, and this album is no exception. Every song is sprinkled with catchy and playful wordplay that keeps an upbeat attitude throughout. And Adam Young is just as good at singing the lyrics as he is at writing them. He's got a voice similar to that of Matthew Thiessen (of Relient K), and Young even tag-teams with Thiessen on "Tidal Wave", a catchy song about finding bravery and hope from above. Adam Young also isn't scared of putting his faith in his lyrics either, such as in "Tidal Wave" the line, "I don't need a telescope to see that there's hope, and that makes me feel brave" and the brief "Meteor Shower" with is lyrics, "I am not my own, for I have been made new. Please don't let me go, I desperately need You." And then there's the hit single "Fireflies" which is just sprawling with imagination and wonder--"You would not believe your eyes if ten million fireflies lit up the world as I fell asleep" and "I'd like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly."

Overall Impression — 10
In sound, Owl City compares to bands like The Postal Service and Hellogoodbye, but Adam Young's city of owls still manages to stand apart from them. Album highlights are: "If My Heart Was A House," "Fireflies," "Vanilla Twilight,"On The Wing," "Hello Seattle," and "The Saltwater Room." I think there's a lot to love in this album, and in Owl City in general, but some people won't have the same appreciation for it that I (and so many others) do. The only thing I hate about this album is it ends. It's just fantastic, and deserves a listen even if it isn't quite your thing. I listen to primarily heavy metal and hard rock, and I still love what Adam Young has done here.

68 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SG_dave
    Owl City are amazing. Got tickets to his Manchester gig in Feb. All my friends seem to prefer the Maybe i'm dreaming album, but i think this one has too many good songs to not love.
    punk_mike_88
    Everyone hates on Owl City, but I think they're awesome and welcome change amongst the crappy radio pop. At least this guy actually makes his own music.
    Jsteele1408
    Rakatung wrote: This album is ****ing horrible The guy who invented auto-tune should be shot
    I'm pretty sure this guy uses a Vocoder, not Auto-Tunes. But whatever.
    thefatfury
    lol if you say its "crappy radio music thats played too much" why do you listen to the radio? if you hear fireflies and dont like it, change the station. or better yet, get an iPod.
    El_Nerdo_Loco
    tjdwo09 wrote: punk_mike_88 wrote: Everyone hates on Owl City, but I think they're awesome and welcome change amongst the crappy radio pop. At least this guy actually makes his own music. owl city is crappy radio pop.
    owl city was an indie band for many years before he was even picked up by universal. the dude just writes lyrics about his feelings due to insomnia.
    White_Venom1993
    I'm disappointed in the covers... Hello Seattle is okay but Saltwater Room is terrible... dear god. I dislike this album. I can't honestly call myself and owl city fan and call this album "Good" in any sense. Maybe his next effort will be better.. Also terrible album cover ,why God?
    fitterhappier34
    2Megadeth7 wrote: This band blows idk how it ever got popular and ya metal and classic rock is all that matters!
    Idiot...and I don't even like Owl City too much. lrn2classical, lrn2jazz, lrn2diversity.
    White_Venom1993
    I wasn't aware that he rerecorded 3 songs. Nice. But. I dislike most of this album. I like his old stuff. Either his label made him sound the way he does, or maybe he's just writing to be more pop accessible. I guess I need to run through the album again but bleh. And he doesn't use auto tune, he uses a program called Melodyne. It's pitch correction and it the best, ever. I love Owl City but damn. This record just isn't so good... Very... boring. Captains and Cruiseships is more my style. Oh well. Also. All of you ignorant douche bags defending the album talking about how "metalheads" hate the album because you can "actually hear what they're saying", or that it's not about "defecating on a baby", that's not why they don't like it. Just because someone screams doesn't mean you can't tell what they're saying, and a lot of rock/metal has amazing lyrics that actually mean something, rather than his "imaginative" lyrics. Go listen to Coheed and Cambria, Rush, and The Fall of Troy before you disrespect modern and classic rock/metal. But the "metalheads" should disrespect this album being posted with a review because you don't have to look at it. The person liked the album and reviewed it. Good. It has guitar. Good. If we're taking down albums, might as well take down all of the generic rock/metal artists you listen, because I'm sure there's a lot of terrible bands that you like too. Now, I'm done ranting.
    awisinger
    i think this shouldn't be on ultimate guitar because it really isn't rock or metal or anything like that, but i do like it. It's a nice breath of fresh air to hear this compared to all the rap that is all over the radio.
    pol315
    And did anyone else picture spongebob whenever he says imagination?
    LOL YES, the whole song reminds me of Spongebob.
    Msu_Man04
    Progis8strings wrote: owl city is just pop music... relatively unoriginal, similar to EVERYTHING else in pop, uncomplicated (not always a bad thimg), and short-lived. Honestly, let the masses be fed.
    Similar to everything else in pop? Maybe in the fact that it's in mostly major keys, but that's about where the similarities end. All you metal nazis need to fu ck off. There's more to music than E string grinding, shredding, and vomitting vocals. Adam's lyrics are unlike anything I've never heard anyone else write, and they don't have to do with defecating on babies' faces, or whatever it is some of you guys' favorite bands do nowadays. And yes, so he uses autotune. So? This is one style of music where autotune IS A GOOD THING. It's ELECTRONIC music! To give his voice that... electronic twist makes it fit 100% with the music. You guys can like what you like, but some of you could not be ANY more closed-minded, condescending, and rude.
    Progis8strings
    owl city is just pop music... relatively unoriginal, similar to EVERYTHING else in pop, uncomplicated (not always a bad thimg), and short-lived. Honestly, let the masses be fed.
    ak10
    I hope they are forced to give royalties to Death Cab for everyone of their songs.
    2Megadeth7
    This band blows idk how it ever got popular and ya metal and classic rock is all that matters!
    Selig_Free
    Pretty good album. Metal isn't the only kind of music in the world that matters, folks.
    The-Red-Sky
    And then there's the hit single "Fireflies" which is just sprawling with imagination and wonder--
    And did anyone else picture spongebob whenever he says imagination?
    lockless7x
    all synthy electro whosa whatsits aside, i think fireflies has nice melodies and a dreamy feel to it. stiil not a song id put on my ipod. maybe the albums better but, ill never know because i will not be buying it.
    Unskathed
    Postal Service this, Postal Service that. Totally over it. Owl City rules.
    GeekInThePink
    Fireflies is without a doubt the most original single that came out this year.
    2Megadeth7 wrote: This band blows idk how it ever got popular and ya metal and classic rock is all that matters!
    You fail. Hard.
    GeekInThePink
    Fireflies is without a doubt the most original single that came out this year. That synth line in the beginning is actually quite complicated if you take time to listen to it.
    2Megadeth7 wrote: This band blows idk how it ever got popular and ya metal and classic rock is all that matters!
    You fail. Hard.
    Skillet_Panhead
    I feel weird posting on my own review, but alas, here I am posting again. Just got one more thing to say. If you don't like it, fine. But if all you've ever heard is Fireflies, or even worse, all you've SEEN is the genre, and you're bashing it because of THAT? Come on. Go play your guitar, you've got better things to be doing than crap like that. Seriously.
    dark_rider92
    KreatorRage wrote: Stuff like this shouldn't be posted on UG, it should be Rock and Metal only, anything else is going to get hated on anyway.
    this is a music website, not just a guitar website. it has been for a while. deal with it.
    Rising_Sun91
    god damn it, sick of the rock/metal purists, hating as always. this album is really cool, i love the pure lyrics, its really refreshing to see clean, innocent pop music. in an age where anti-music like lady gaga and co. being the new vogue for music is justified, im really glad to see such pure music around, no sex, no drugs. and the best thing is, this over-sexed generation (which i am a part of) is hearing something real. sure, it's a bit left of centre for this site, but seriously, i find it really important it's reviewed here. kudos to you skillet_panhead, and KreatorRage, get over your xenophobia and accept that this place is for music, not just musicians. that fact is what makes this website so essential for musicians everywhere. apologies for the rant guys, cheers if you got to the end!
    shredder51
    This could be the best album of 2009. For all you haters of "computerized bubblegum pop", this isn't it. I applaud his songwriting skills and wish I had them. I'm a rocker, but I would rather listen to this album over the hundreds of death/black metal albums this site reviews every year.
    hardrox
    I read the review U.G. gave them and I agreed with them. I don't belive adam is copying or anything. If you're just saying that they suck then you haven't really listened to them. You guys are just haters. If you really listen to them then you'll realize that this is truly good music. And it isn't all just sounds from a computer. If you see them in concert they have like an orchestra on stage. If you say they still suck after you listened to them you've only heard a few of their songs.
    hardrox
    dark_rider92 wrote: KreatorRage wrote: Stuff like this shouldn't be posted on UG, it should be Rock and Metal only, anything else is going to get hated on anyway. this is a music website, not just a guitar website. it has been for a while. deal with it.
    I agree. All the way. THIS IS A MUSIC SITE!!!
    TDHicks
    I love metal as much as the next guy, but Owl City really is a pretty decent band. If you think he sounds like another band, so what. Almost every band in the 90s sounded the same. and to those of you who think his lyrics are crap, let's see you do better. Besides, why hate on Owl City when we still have Nickelback?
    llamaspwn
    if any of my friends found out i listen to owl city they would make fun of me...but theyre awesome..i listen to heavy metal and hardcore screamo...but i actually really like this band
    kennmi
    yea, this is a guilty pleasure of mine... i own all 3 albums now, and while i may not be able to listen to him for long periods at a time, every now and then is good. hes got interesting lyrics, and he does something most pop doesnt do: doesnt just stick to the i;v;c;v;cc;b;cc formula (intro, verse, chorus, bridge). that in itself was enough for me to give him a chance, but hes got a interesting sound, a good voice (auto-tuned or not), and writes all his own music. if he had been a metalhead growing up, he would be a beast of a lyricist...
    The-Red-Sky
    This band has less to do with guitar than Miley Cyrus. Are we gonna post a review of her album next? Fireflies is one of the worst songs of the year. And seriously why did someone give this a 9 for lyrics and singing? The lyrics are the worst part of Owl City and he sings through autotune, ffs.
    Philly080
    When I first heard Fireflies I thought it was by the Postal Service or maybe even Death Cab. This guy sounds so much like Ben Gibbard.
    Dreiken
    I'm really not a fan, but its refreshing to see that at least someone's putting something new out on mainstream radio than the same-old formulated stuff we have now.
    Deflection
    I know I shouldn't, but I LOVE Fireflies. I mean, it's so poppy, but god, that song is so win.
    Bamitchell
    Deflection wrote: I know I shouldn't, but I LOVE Fireflies. I mean, it's so poppy, but god, that song is so win.
    It's a guilty pleasure, isn't it? I feel the same way.
    chrisdazzo
    Owl City's music is the most feel-good, pop-infused, love-centric music I've ever had the pleasure to hear. Don't knock it until you've heard the entire album (Fireflies does NOT count). This album is fantastic, and in a world of so much crap, it's a wonderful change of pace. 10/10.
    sgtpepper138
    chrisdazzo wrote: Owl City's music is the most feel-good, pop-infused, love-centric music I've ever had the pleasure to hear. Don't knock it until you've heard the entire album (Fireflies does NOT count).This album is fantastic, and in a world of so much crap, it's a wonderful change of pace. 10/10.
    i like the idea of "a wonderful change of pace" im really sick of blink182 sounding crappy bands, and im glad somebodys doing something new.
    KreatorRage
    Stuff like this shouldn't be posted on UG, it should be Rock and Metal only, anything else is going to get hated on anyway.
    Rancid69Sublime
    KreatorRage wrote: Stuff like this shouldn't be posted on UG, it should be Rock and Metal only, anything else is going to get hated on anyway.
    Or you could try to be open to other music?
    Somnambulance
    Cheesepuff wrote: Owl City is a ripoff of the Postal Service
    Yep. They are pretty much diet Postal Service. Take everything Postal Service and water it down to the point where its not interesting anymore. I, mean, it does make sense though. The group had commercial potential, so why not capitalize on that? Happened to grunge, after all. I'm just boggled as to why it took so long.
    pwninator123
    It's a common style really, you can't see he's JUST ripping off Postal Service, however similarities abound in any genre, and I would hardly call his lyrics radio friendly, oddities like Fireflies and Hello Seattle should never be radio famous, but still manage somehow Owl City is a talented guy, he deserves whatever fame he gets.