Owl City, or rather the one man in the one man band, must be positively glowing right now. The band has skyrocketed up the radio and sales charts after laying siege to the to the MySpace crowd not so very long ago. Of course, this kind of surge in popularity thanks to a hit song or two is not unprecedented, but it is notable considering just what kind of music Adam Young makes. Ocean Eyes is a collection of synth-based pop tunes that sound eerily similar to a certain Ben Gibbard project of a few years past (*cough* Postal Service *cough*). Make no mistake, it’s not The Postal Service–it’s a what you might get if you were to take all of Owl City’s Christian market emo influences (think Anberlin, Mae, Relient K) along with current trends from fellow synth-poppers, hellogoodbye or if you got some Prozac for The Killers. (Regarding the similarity to Relient K, Matt Theissen from said band co-wrote two of the songs and contributed vocals to several more.)
While the Postal Service appealed to… oh, just about everyone, including music snobs with the most upwardly tilted noses, Owl City might be a bit more content to settle for teenage girls who want to be swooned after by a Volvo-driving vampire and people who like happy endings to Disney movies. That’s not to say Ocean Eyes lacks creativity–it has a nice ratio of clever witticisms to cheesy one-liners. It’s just that it’s so overwhelmingly sugary, you might start getting cavities; no wonder they put a song about “Dental Care” on the album.
Some people will love Ocean Eyes. Some people will call it copycat, derivative, and the worst of lyrical insults, trite and cliché, but if you can accept Ocean Eyes for what it is: the musical product of a “let me write the music for an entire album in one night and throw in all the fun lyrical ideas I’ve had in my journal for the past year” mentality from a genuinely happy fellow, you might actually enjoy yourself, or at least have something to play in the background while you study for final exams.