LABEL: UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 21, 2012
Adam Young, the one-man show known as Owl City, is back with his fourth project, The Midsummer Station. Given the hype that surrounded his debut and subsequent follow-ups, does this album live up to expectations from such a talented artist? After a few listens, I would venture that The Midsummer Station boasts a more mature sound and an artist who is more comfortable in his own skin. A solid pop effort from a budding pop aficionado, this outing is sure to please longtime fans and win new converts.
The album features Young’s popular “romantic musing” approach, most of the songs pondering nascent emotion that could be missed when mingled with the “beeps” and “bloops” of the electronic sound that characterizes his music.
“Dreams and Disasters” starts things out and starts things out in a big way. This is one of those songs that makes it hard to believe that all of the music is created and played by one guy.
“Good Time” features pop songstress Carly Rae Jepsen and is really reminiscent of Katy Perry’s “California Girls.” Breaking form and doing a duet earns Young some points, but the fact the chorus is so painfully similar to Perry’s song docks him some as well. That being said, the song is a fun, poppy anthem that I imagine will resurface during next summer’s party season.
“Silhouette” slows things down considerably and is more of a lament, breaking the otherwise hopeful tone of the rest of the project. What makes it fit, however, is the fact that is puts on display the fact that Young has more emotions than love to sing about. Still, it feels like its connected to the desire to fix a broken a relationship, thereby, connecting it back to the overall theme of love.
What works well for this project is the fact that Adam Young brought in so many different voices and producers to broaden the scope of his work. However, this also ends up being the album’s main liability. In the past, Owl City’s selling point is that this wunderkind Adam Young “does it all.” However, one cannot work with others without letting their particular influences bleed through. Where those influences are strong, Owl City’s sound benefits. Where those influences are too particular, Young’s sound gets lost in the fray, such as on “Dementia.”
Overall, The Midsummer Station is a great project from Owl City, though. In the absence of The Postal Service, Adam Young’s career is shining brighter than ever. His sound is tightening up while growing more grand and his lyrics are a tad bit more thoughtful than in previous albums. Electronica-influenced pop won’t appeal to everyone, but if you wanted to experiment with the sound, Owl City is as good a place as any to test it out. Fans of pop music in general will want to pick this up.