With three records behind him, Owl City frontman Adam Young had many options and directions as to where he could have taken his new music. Earlier this month, Young described his latest full-length, The Midsummer Station, as “bigger, deeper, more polished, more dynamic and more powerful.” He also said this 11-track album is totally unalike anything he has recorded and produced in the past — and it’s true. This album touches upon elements of pop music that Owl City has never explored before.
First thing’s first. I chose not to listen to this album in chronological order because the record’s first released single, “Good Time,” was on the top of my list before anything else. The summer single recorded with Canadian pop artist Carly Rae Jepsen was released in late June — perfect timing for the peak of the season. “Good Time” sends out an obvious message for those hoping to, well, have a good time. However, the cliché, happy-go-lucky lyrics may be a turn off for those who have been listening to Owl City for years. In comparison to Young’s past lyrics, these didn’t impress me whatsoever. All in all, with this song’s continuous pattern of poppy “whoa-ohh-ohh’s,” “Good Time” is catchy and fun to listen to.
The album takes an edgier turn at track number four. “Dementia” begins with an upbeat drum tempo, followed by soft backtrack vocals singing, “You’re driving me crazy.” Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus makes a special vocal appearance on this track and gives the song a kind of alternative punk twist — part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much. Hoppus’ collaboration is a total 180-degree turn from the vocal and lyrical teamwork with Carly Rae Jepsen. Both featured vocalists offer different pop elements, but this is quite possibly my favorite song on The Midsummer Station.
Track nine, “Silhouette,” completely stands out as the ballad of the bunch. The messages within each track differ, and these lyrics construct the saddest pop ballad I’ve heard in months — “I’m a silhouette, asking every now and then, Is it over yet? Will I ever feel again?” The softer sound is calm and soothing, especially in comparison to party-anthem, “Shooting Star.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Adam’s eclectic perception of pop music really shines through in each and every track. His use of varied pop elements makes for a pretty good album. However, if you’re more accustomed to Owl City’s older material, the music may take a little while to grow on you. But believe me, keeping an open mind is really worth it in the long run.