New Owl City album disappoints avid fans

Owl City’s third album, The Midsummer Station, was released last week by Universal Republic Records. A new record label is not the only change Owl City artist Adam Young’s music has made. There is definitely a different feel to this album overall.  

The radio release of “Good Time” featuring Carly Rae Jepson writer of “Call Me Maybe” fame was the first song released from the album. The upbeat but rather shallow lyrics fit right into the pop scene and encapsulate the feel of the rest of The Midsummer Station.

Young has been performing in many bigger venues to promote The Midsummer Station and his single “Good Time.” He’s sang it everywhere from VH1 Buzz to the Today Show and even America’s Got Talent.

Young seems to have veered away from his original electronic sounds and prolific lyrics.  A lot of the poetry found in his past two cds seems to be missing. It’s been replaced with peppy dance beats and positive, almost clichéd, lyrics.

Songs like “Dreams and Disasters,” “Shooting Star,” “Gold” and “Embers” all seem to have similar themes. They definitely serve as moral boosters, encouraging listeners to be unique and survive any situation. These sunny songs, however, focus around overused phrases like “shine like the sun” and “shine brighter than a shooting star.”

Aside from the shiny focus of the music, there’s another major change in Young’s lyrics. In past albums he’s described his almost fear of women, focusing on his awkward interactions and nervousness. The new album is fused with more confidence.

“I’m Coming After You” and “Speed of Love” seem to say that Young is ready to mix and mingle with other singles rather than hide from girls with clever puns. Young even throws out the word “foxy” in the James Bond themed “Bombshell Blonde.”

This confidence is a new vibe from Young, and while it’s good that he’s branching out, it’s just not as adorable as songs like “Deer in the Headlights” from his last album. Young even has a sort of break up song in “Take It All Away.” “Metropolis,” however, has vibes of Owl City favorites like “Vanilla Twilight” focusing on missing someone you love.

The single ballad of The Midsummer Station is a welcomed change from the rest of the upbeat album. “Silhouette” features acoustic piano and paints a beautifully haunting melody about moments of hopelessness. While still hopeful, “Silhouette” offers listeners something for when they aren’t feeling so bright.

In All Things Bright and Beautiful, Young’s last album, he explores themes of spirituality. Young has always been open about his faith on his blog, but he explicitly explored Christian themes in past projects. The Midsummer Station seems to ignore those themes for an unknown reason.

All in all, The Midsummer Station would make a good road trip CD. The vibe seems appropriate for mid summer for sure. However, Young definitely seems to be veering towards a pop following and away from the cute traits that made his music unique.

It’s hard to even be frustrated with such a sincere guy, even when it feels like he’s pandering.  He actively responds to fans via Twitter and frequently blogs like he’s just a normal guy.

“The knowledge that there are people out there who appreciate what I do is of immeasurable worth and it’s near-impossible for me to put into words how thankful I am for your willingness to listen and support my art,” said Young, on his blog on Aug. 17.


9 thoughts on “New Owl City album disappoints avid fans

  1. I know I’m jumping in this late, but I made an account JUST so that I can post on this thread and say: “Well Said!” You have basically summed up all of my thoughts and articulated my half-hearted disappointment. I hope that Adam returns to his dreamy/poetic roots including the Christian aspects of his music, but I’m worried that the secular pop music has grabbed tightly onto him. I’m still a huge Owl City fan….but it’s just not the same!

  2. Personally, I will always love Adam Young and all of his music no matter what! (unless he starts being vulgar and swearing which we all know is never going to happen), but I rather liked his album even if everyone else is saying it sounds “too mainstream”. It’s good to experiment and I’m sure that with life going on, Adam is changing with it. I think its good to have variety in his music that way it’ll never get old; something different and unique will always be there. Owl City is the best and it has gotten me through the worst of times…for that I owe him my adoration and I will love his music till the day I die 🙂 <3

  3. A true fan will stick with any artist no matter what. Someone in the mainstream is bond to evolve and grow while creating bigger and better things. I do miss the older Owl City but I’m excited to see new things he’ll create. I was very satisfied with his Mid-Summer Station Album. It still has that spark inside it that makes it stand out. Keep it up Adam!

  4. I too made an account just to say this. It breaks my heart to see my favorite band be stolen away by pop. Where is the TRUE Owl City that people fell in love with because of “Of June, and “Maybe I’m Dreaming.” Which by the way is in my (and many others) Owl City’s best music!

  5. I’m really late getting to this, but I totally agree with article 100%. However, since this article has been written Ultraviolet has come out and boy am I glad that Owl City seems to be back to his old self. The one that helped create my love of music as a kid.

  6. Hey L.E. Willaims, we’re both really late, but I had just noticed a handwritten letter on Adam’s Facebook page about the Ultraviolet followup being delayed until later this year. While looking for info, since Adam was his usual mysterious self about the delay, I found this article. I was/am not a fan of Midsummer Station, except for the artwork. He allied himself with other artists for some of those songs that are not in his usual musical style, and he took a chance. It is not awful by any means, but truly not what fans had hoped for. Ultraviolet really did bring him back full circle, and I am hoping when the new album finally releases that it’s back to business as usual. Also, I do agree artists need to try new things, this thing just didn’t really work and now onward and upward!

  7. Well, I’m am really really really sad that his new music is not as his old music… Is it that he can’t make songs like Maybe I’m Dreaming and Ocean Eyes anymore? Or is he doing this on purpose? Because I really miss the soft voice, the dreamy and beautiful lyrics and sounds. I hope we will get that style back again. For now let’s see what the new album will bring. We already heard 5 songs of 10. I think the other 5 aren’t that different from the others. So that means it won’t be like the old stuff. I really don’t get why you as an artist had something special, your own style (an amazing and beautiful style)… and then justtrow it away and do something different, less magical. I’m still listening to Maybe I’m Dreaming and Ocean Eyes every day, ’cause those were the best! And I really hope Adam will go back to his old styles. And make magical and dreamy music again!

    btw, I found this article on tumblr: http://summertimesend.tumblr.com/post/29695237385/whyimnolongerafan
    It’s called: ”Why I’m No Longer A Fan Of Adam Young”

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