Showing posts with label owl city. Show all posts
Showing posts with label owl city. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2019

the top ten best hit songs of 2009

So I'll admit to being surprised that this, of all things, is the next top ten people want me to cover. You'd think folks would want me to finish off the 2010s proper before going back to 2009, but there you have it.

But I get it, because while I'd struggle to call it the best of the 2000s, 2009 was a pretty glorious year. Not only did it showcase the birth of YouTube chart criticism, but it was such a potent year to cover! 2009 is widely accepted by most as the birth of the club boom, where the kinetic, rock-tinged pop of the mid-2000s picked up more layers of glitter and went to party hard, picking up a grabbag of whatever hip-hop had survived the ringtone era, whatever rock that was willing to party, and basically lock the placid country scene out of the clubhouse entirely. More to the point, it was impossible to not see 2009 as a year of reckless abandon: the economy had crashed, most of my generation was broke, and if we we didn't have money, we were going to party as if we did - it might have seemed bleak, but I think a lot of us were riding the contact high that came from a new president and a desperate desire to believe in hope... even if that contact high would lead to incoherent silliness and a hangover we'd only halfheartedly regret. But I'll say this: even if I've slowed down a little bit, it's hard not to miss the manic fun of this year, especially when there were so many great hits, so let's get things started with...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

video review: 'mobile orchestra' by owl city

Man, this was a disappointment. Adam Young, you can do so much better than this.

Next up... well, I originally thought I wouldn't have to do Billboard BREAKDOWN tomorrow thanks to the chart switchup, but turns out I was wrong, it's the week after. So, Billboard BREAKDOWN and then Between The Buried And Me. Oh, and plus a special surprise for my two year anniversary - stay tuned!

album review: 'mobile orchestra' by owl city

I like Owl City.

And that's not a statement many music critics will make, especially considering when Adam Young adopted the moniker and smashed into the mainstream with 'Fireflies', he was described as the overly twee rip-off of The Postal Service. And yeah, going back to it, the similarities are pretty blatant on the surface, but Owl City quickly distinguished himself with distinctive melodies, a knack for quirky synths that stuck in the brain, and the sort of overwritten, detail-infused lyrics that walked the line between honest and poignant and hopelessly kitschy and ridiculous. It didn't help matters that Owl City made no secret of infusing religious iconography into soaring anthems that could ride the line of tolerability with me - not quite evangelizing, but getting dangerously close to the scrubbed-clean, drama-less purity that makes up the most inoffensive and boring of Christian music.

That was his earlier material, but as the years passed, Owl City's material seemed to be getting more and more bland with every passing year, culminating in his 2012 release The Midsummer Station - and sure, there are songs I liked on that album, but it seemed like the unique blend of overly earnest poet, melodic mastermind, and anxious hypochondriac was staying closer to the mainstream and losing the personality that made him special along the way. And sure, I love 'Good Time' with Carly Rae Jepsen for being a damn solid pop song, but it's not on the same plane of originality as his best work, and in an increasingly oversaturated synthpop scene, I had no idea what Owl City's new album would deliver. And it didn't help matters when I saw the feature list: I like Aloe Blacc, but when I think of his features, I think more of Dilated Peoples and Fashawn than Owl City, and Hanson's been doing their own indie pop thing for years now, the team-up only made sense in terms of relative innocence. Probably also the reason Christian pop artist Britt Nicole is here... and then there's Jake Owen, likely angling for a pop country smash that'd bring in his own lightweight sensibilities. 

And considering I knew fans of Owl City who had really turned aggressively on this album, I prepared myself for the worst: how did it turn out?