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Owl City | All Things Bright and Beautiful

Universal Republic (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  May 12, 2011
0.5 0.5 Stars

OC main

Odds are, if you're reading this review, you're not looking for an Owl City purchase recommendation. You're reading it because you want a good laugh. Just maybe, you're wondering whether Minnesota-based one-man band Adam Young has suddenly discovered a way not to release the worst album of the year. An overachieving chart smash from day one, Young has titillated the ears and hearts of pre-teen, Hello-Kitty-backpack-wearing music lovers across the country, making use of the industry's most ridiculous vocal approach (Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard as interpreted by a Mouseketeer post–laughing gas), amateurish poetry, lukewarm laptop electronica, and OD-levels of churchgoing cuteness. Recent megahit "Fireflies," his Pro-Tools carpe diem bedroom synth-ony, might have been smirkily catchy, but it was the most polished turd on a debut crammed with shit. Here's round two: All Things Bright and Beautiful, 12 sterilized laptop clunkers that are indeed bright but far from beautiful. There's no maturity in sight, as a glance at the tracklist attests: "Angels," "Dreams Don't Turn to Dust," "Honey and the Bee," "Galaxies." And the actual lyrics are on a par with the Disney Channel quality you'd expect. "I've been sleeping with the nightlight unplugged," Young reflects. No kidding? What's worse, he uses the same melodic pattern in every song, and he delivers them all in the same familiar, over-enunciated croon. When he chirps, "I rub my eyes 'cause it's hard to see/Surrounded by all this beauty," it's not just bland, it's flat-out irritating. And when he gurgles, through his trademark auto-tune sludge, "Take a taste of the melting Milky Way!", the dude's not talking about a candy bar.

OWL CITY | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | June 26 @ 6 pm | all ages | $28 | 888.693.2583

Related: Photos: Brandon Flowers at the House of Blues, Photos: Bright Eyes at the House of Blues, Photos: Cold War Kids at House of Blues, More more >
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4 Comments / Add Comment


You have such major problems with your hearing.....
Posted: May 14 2011 at 8:09 PM


What the fuck.
Adam is anything but "amateurish", he's emotional, artistic, and insightful.
Do you have any idea how dumb and closed-minded you're making yourself look by posting this bullshit?
No, this is beyond bullshit.
Apparently from the perspective of anyone but you, his music is ridiculously inspiring and incredibly beautiful.
And this is most definitely not "round two". Are you even aware he released an EP as well as a full album before Fireflies came out? Or that Fireflies was even part of an album? This is round four. And it's going to be amazing.
And trust me, if you put yourself in the shoes of an emotional insomniac, every single song makes perfect sense.
So please shut the fuck up.
Posted: May 15 2011 at 6:42 PM


I agree with lemonlight that this review seems nasty and narrow minded, but it's just an opinion that will have no impact on the success/failure of the artist. I like to read stuff like this because I find hipster scorn to be amusing, Good work Ryan!
Posted: May 16 2011 at 12:55 PM

Dan Johnson

I liked Ocean Eyes, but I haven't heard anything good off of his new 'Bright and Beautiful' record yet. I would agree that Adam is immature. That can readily be seen by anyone following his endless tweets about LOTR jokes and fantasies (I have since unfollwed him). I was hoping he would evolve and expand his talent on this record, but all the clips I've heard sound flatly similar. I'll keep my ears open for the rest of the album to come out, but so far I mostly agree with the reviewer (although he was a bit harsh, speaking of immature).
Posted: May 19 2011 at 3:08 PM
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