Review of Owl City – The Midsummer Station

I have been an avid fan of Owl City since 2008, when ‘Hello Seattle’ was making waves in the world of MySpace electronica. When he made it to the charts with ‘Fireflies’ in 2010 I couldn’t have been happier that one of my favourite artists was gaining more exposure. What I loved most about Adam Young’s music was it’s dreamy lyrics; how they took you to different worlds and made your imagination go wild.

But Young’s most recent release, The Midsummer Station, leaves a lot to be desired.

For the first time Young gave a lot of the production and writing over to outsiders and this seems to have had a negative effect on his music. The lyrics are empty and generic and the music is full of annoying, pounding beats. As someone who’s loved Young’s music since the start I feel pretty alienated as an Owl City fan; what exactly has happened to him?

The only truly good songs on the album are ‘Silhouette’ and ‘Dementia’, both of which were written solely by Young. ‘Gold’ wasn’t written by Adam at all and is full of weak, cheesy, meaningless lyrics, and a musical backing track that could send anyone to sleep. Bonus track, ‘Bombshell Blonde’ is almost cringe-worthy; he actually uses the words ‘foxy’ and ‘vixen’, and says, “Her love is a drug laced with ecstasy.” I’ve always respected Young for not writing generic, empty lyrics, for being respectful and not singing about women like this, for having more integrity.

The frustrating thing is that, just as this album has been released, Young has been uploading some really brilliant material to his Tumblr blog. Is even he maybe trying to get back to something a bit more like All Things Bright and Beautiful for his next album? I really hope so.

With The Midsummer Station, minus a couple of songs, it seems like Adam Young is doing all he can to be popular, rather than write good music. But this just won’t do for all his original fans; but does he want to lose them to gain more fans who’ll buy his records without really loving them? If that’s the case, I won’t be spending more money on his music.

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