on August 23, 2012
I would not call this album bad. It was a very enjoyable listen, but it lacked the things that I loved about Owl City and the things that made Owl City stand apart. There are two areas where I noticed major differences.
One, the lyrics. Previous Owl City albums had quirky poetic words that left the listener in a state of whimsy and wonder. In this album, everything is very simple and plainly stated. Adam is simply telling you things rather than painting a picture. And, the subject matter is less inspired. In previous albums, Owl City had a unique voice and had valuable ideas to contribute. In this album, almost every song is the same "believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything" that everyone in my "I'm so special" generation is singing about.
Two, the music. In "Ocean Eyes" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful", Owl City created beautiful masterpieces of synthetic symphony. He utilized several sounds and layered them in a complex and compelling way. When recording my own music, I had always held Owl City as the pinnacle of great mixing and great orchestration. With this new album, the music is very basic and repetitive. None of the songs take you on the kind of journey that "Cave In" or "Umbrella Beach" did.
I will say that I still love Owl City and I did enjoy this album, but this feels more like a step back than a step forward. I hope that in the future we hear more songs like the ones on "Ocean Eyes" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful".
on August 21, 2012
Owl City's Adam Young already struck gold a few years ago with his single "Fireflies." It would be hard to predict if his 4th full-length album, THE MIDSUMMER STATION, would be as successful, but if the early success of hit single "Good Time," is any indication, it may be bigger than his breakthrough record.
THE MIDSUMMER STATION is checkered with collaborations and guest-appearances, so it feels a bit more varied than Owl City's OCEAN EYES. The album begins with one of its hardest hitters: "Dreams and Disasters." It's a song that's fully of energy, and it's given a thick layer of electronic production. The song is followed with the fantastic "Shooting Star," a pop song with a hook so catchy, you'll want to throw it on repeat. If you happen to make it to the third track, "Gold," the song is pretty standard by Owl City's standards. Marked by soft electronic music, light synthesizers, produced vocals, and happy lyrics, it's a good representation of the album as a whole. THE MIDSUMMER STATION is an album in search of a good time, and Adam Young brings it with his innocent brand of fun. The Mark Hoppus (from Blink 182) collaboration "Dementia" feels like a late-era Blink 182 song, with all of its punk-rock and poppy chorus. The other notable collaboration, "Good Time" features Carly Rae Jepsen (of "Call Me Maybe" fame), is already receiving heavy rotation on the radio for its catchy, summer-ready melody. The slower tracks on the album also work exceptionally well. Owl City strips away all of the production for the bare piano-ballad "Silhouette." Closing track "Take it all Away" is a ballad that recounts a heartbreak in pretty painstaking detail.
I would recommend THE MIDSUMMER STATION to listeners who are looking for a light, breezy pop record. Fans of the Postal Service's more poppy side will likely find some tunes here to love. It has its highs and lows -- it's not a perfect album -- but it is sure to entertain most of the runtime. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Shooting Star," "Good Time," and "Metropolis."
The majority of us first stumbled upon Adam Young, the musician called Owl City, it was through the quadruple platinum selling single "Fireflies" which came from out of left field (Owatonna, Minnesota to be precise) to become a No. 1 smash hit in 24 countries. It was totally outside of the mainstream music establishment and presented the world a new one-man-band-singer-songwriter who was lyrical, quirky, melodic, talented, self-contained and exactly what the major record labels were not promoting. Thanks to an equally off beat, original music video "Fireflies" was everywhere a couple of years ago despite critical complaints that Owl City could be twee, cloying, unsophisticated and unoriginal. Yet somehow it rose above the cluttered marketplace, bringing Owl City's second full length CD "Ocean Eyes" to the upper reaches of the album charts.
However "Fireflies'" follow-up "Vanilla Twilight" was unable to match even a small measure of its predecessor's success (it's tough to break a single when the hit it's following won't go away). Similarly Owl City's 2011 album "All Things Bright And Beautiful" failed to make much of an impact. It looked like Owl City was a prime candidate for One Hit Wonder status. But something changed and, thanks to DJs like David Guetta and deadMaus and bands like LMFAO and Hot Chelle Rae, suddenly EDM (electronic dance music) took center chart space in the mainstream of 2012 pop music. And who better to reclaim that spotlight than our man Adam Young.
According to Amazon, "His eye-popping success has made Owl City an international phenomenon, selling nearly 12 million tracks worldwide and amassing an impressive touring record." When the moment came and Adam Young discovered his music had become mainstream he was experienced and ready and knew exactly what to do. "I grew up listening to dance music and I've always wanted to make a dance record," Young says. "European dance music has so much influence over pop right now, so it made sense to me."
And so, "The Midsummer Station" was recorded and promises to become one of the premier CDs of the season. I don't think there has been music sunnier than this since The Beach Boys surfed their way up the charts 50 years ago. This is a happy, upbeat, danceable album. To quote a lyric from its lead single (which already has the top of the Billboard 100 in its sights) "It's always a good time." And though it did not need any assistance due to its catchy melody, "Good Time" finds Owl City dueting with the reigning Queen of the Summer of 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen, fresh off 10 weeks on top of the Billboard 100 with her "Call Me Maybe".
"The Midsummer Station" opens at full throttle with "Dreams And Disasters" and rolls like a bullet train through "Shooting Star," "Gold", "Dementia" (with help from Blink 182's Mark Hoppus), "I'm Coming After," "Speed Of Love" and the aforementioned "Good Time." "Embers" and "Silhouette" slow things down long enough to catch your breath before the album finishes off with "Metropolis" and "Take It All Away."
Sure, Adam Young is not the best singer in the world, the rhythmic structure tends to not wander too far from song to song and the lyrics are certainly not poetry, but "The Midsummer Station" is an album so absolutely of its time and place in the cosmos that it is irresistible. As a Baby Boomer I still loves me some bubblegum music and I haven't had this much fun listening to an album since the days of The Archies. And though summery fun music doesn't tend to age well, Adam Young has grabbed this moment in musical time, wrapped it in an electronica ribbon and uploaded it into a world that is in great need of some joy and happiness. For that I tip my hat to him. I just hope the fact that an old dude like me likes this so much doesn't negatively affect "The Midsummer Station's" target market. I just hope they make room for me on the dance floor.
on September 1, 2012
Ever since I heard 'Ocean Eyes' I have been hooked on Adam Young and his creative musical work. I had no idea that there was a new album coming out this year, espcially since 'All Things Bright & Beautiful' was released just a year ago.
'The Midsummer Station' is something very different from the previous Owl City albums. It seems that the soft synthesizer has given away to more up beat and sometimes harder sounds, which is not a bad thing. Teaming up with Carley Rae Jepsin and Blink 182s Mark Hoppus gives you two of the better songs on the album, but also songs like Shooting Star and Metropolis also highlight this record. The style is also very different, very much like the Europian Techno sound that is very popular in music right now. Still, there is one thing I am not so happy about and it's that the whimisical lyrics seem to have left to make room for a little more mainstreem typical lyrics. None of these songs have that same magic as Fireflies and The Yacht Club. However this album is not bad at all and I am very inrigued by this new and unexpected direction Owl City is taking. It is leaving me very interested in what lies ahead.
on September 6, 2012
You know, I never thought I'd be writing a bad review for an Owl City album. Sure he gets some hate here and there; but overall, people like him. I was certainly one of those people when I first heard "Hello Seattle" on the "Of June" Ep back in the mid 2000's, I was instantly hooked! There was this surreal lucidity about his music that I loved; it kinda' took me away while I was listening to it; there was romance, there was fun, and there was imagination...most of all; there were synthesizers!
unfortunately; the synthesizers are about all that's left.
this album loses all of the innocent creativity and abstract imagery, both lyrically and musically; what's left is a cookie cutter pop album...I mean: just compare the lyrics to his two big hits: "fireflies" and "Good Time"
Fireflies: "I'd like to make myself believe/that planet earth turns slowly/it's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep/ 'cause everything is never as it seems"
Good Time: "Wooaoh oh it's always a good time/ Wooaoh oh it's always a good time"
Now I too read the interview where he said he wanted to change things up, and as a fellow musician I can respect that; I get bored with my music and I don't even tour...I cant imagine touring every day and having to play the same stuff all the time; I'm sure there's a desire to change, but don't throw out what's good... I also read the interview where he said he wanted to do a "catchy pop song" (or something to that effect). Again: I can be on board with that: *A* catchy pop song...not an album full of them (most of which aren't even catchy)
Dementia has some of the Owl City I remember...the rest of the tracks don't. I'm afraid I cant recommend this album; all of his innocent surrealism is traded in for cheap hooks and unpoetic lyrics.
on August 11, 2013
I was hesitant to purchase the Acoustic EP after already owning The Midsummer Station. I wondered how much could be improved upon, but as a devoted Owl City fan I should have known better. Though only a few tracks are included in this album, Adam Young transformed Good Time, Shooting Star and Gold into softer, quieter tunes. His unique modifications to these songs (makes sense as it is supposed to be an acoustic version) still make the heart smile. It's hard to believe those 3 songs could get any better, but they are! Plus, it's nice to hear some new songs included (Hey Anna and I Hope you Think of Me). Am I biased? Yes, Adam Young's Owl City is my favorite band and believe it or not, I am a 31 year old father of 3 little girls. I have always enjoyed his work since I heard Fireflies, but dancing to his songs with my girls is icing on the cake. So, check it out for yourself and I think you will find yourself smiling and laughing a bit more.
on September 11, 2012
How can anyone listen to this and not get at least a minimum amount of enjoyment is beyond me. So catchy that even a metal head would listen.
on August 21, 2012
Owl City's newest album "The Midsummer Station" Takes a whole new direction from the usual synth and acoustic sounds fans are used to hearing with majority of the music pleasing the younger audience with catchy pop songs never implemented in his earlier work such as "Maybe I'm Dreaming", "Ocean Eyes", and "All Things Bright and Beautiful". Although majority of his new songs in this albums are heavily influenced/mixed by Robert Orton, it doesn't mean that we have lost the old Owl City we've come to know and love. Songs like "Silhouette" a simple piano melody accompanied by his lyrical creativity where he captures the longing and pain of being all alone, Adam young himself reminds us that he still appeals to the fans that followed him as early as his "Of June Album" He himself has stated that he never wants to create another "Ocean Eyes" and as a result we get new beats and melodies that never leave his positive look on life. "Dementia", "Shooting Star", "Embers", "Good Time", etc. Listening to this album numerous times will give off the sense that these pop songs literally blend in with the summer atmosphere. For those who still follow Owl City, this album caters to the audience that loves him for his synth sounds and colorful vocabulary not many other artist implement. The younger/new coming Owl city fans are introduced to the new Owl City that captures the fun times of summer through lyrical imagery as only he can.
on August 27, 2012
This album isn't very good. I say that as someone who listens to Owl City more than any other artist. Adam Young is my favourite artist, whether it's under Owl City, Sky Sailing, Port Blue, or Insect Airport. But this...this album just feels lazy. It feels like either the label pressured him into being more radio-friendly or he went for a more 'mainstream' sound and churned out some generic pop tracks. There are a few stand-out songs (Shooting Star, Dementia, Embers, Silhouette), but other than those it's really disappointing. The worst part is the lyrics...his work usually sounds like some kind of abstract poetry, but this sounds like every song I've heard on the radio in the past few years.
I tried to like it, I really did, but it's a huge disappointment. Hopefully album number five will be better.
on August 29, 2012
Having listened through "Maybe I'm Dreaming," "Ocean Eyes," and "All Things Bright and Beautiful," I can say that this pretty much put Owl City back on course. His previous album, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," had a lot of changing melodies and off-beat quirks that makes it hard to grasp. But there is also a lack of consistent melodies or... "feel" of the tunes to really like it. It is something I also look into when I started listening to Owl City.
"The Midsummer Station" is, in my opinion, the true successor to "Ocean Eyes." That isn't to say that "All Things..." is a failure as a successor. It just feels like Midsummer is a better follow-up to the success that "Ocean Eyes" had. There are less style/rhythm changes between songs, which makes it easier to adapt to the different beats and mood.
As for the songs themselves, it is difficult to pick out a single track. I used this album as a background melody while I was playing a game. And after a few full-album loops, no particular song really stand out to detract me from my gaming session. It is very rare for me to have an album like this. The whole album has a more pop-like feel to it, despite that it still retain some of the electronica theme that defined Owl City. Every track, except one, has an upbeat melody, including the radio hit single "Good Time." And they're all composed and done well to make them easy and comfortable to listen to.
I recommend this album if you liked "Ocean Eyes." Even if you've never heard of Owl City, this is also not a bad album to start out with.
Verdict: Buy it.