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.