Owl City — Mobile Orchestra review

Why, Adam. Why.

I’ve never been the biggest Owl City fan — he is to me of the same kind as, for example, Passion Pit. Both have a few really strong tracks, but honestly, I can’t listen to an entire album of the sugary synth pop they produce; I feel like I’m going to get diabetes from it rather than enjoyment. Sitting through an Owl City album or a Passion Pit album to me is a few good tracks and then more of the same, and more, and more, and even more. This is not the case with every single synthpop act (I really like Magic Man, they do something right) but definitely with many of them. The new Prides album which came out a few days ago is similar — I’m not going to review it, but my thoughts on it in one sentence: the last track is the best one but the rest is just so poppy I can’t really sit through it without getting bored and feeling an overwhelming urge to turn it off. I’ve also always found Adam Young’s Christian mentality to be a little too obvious in the music — I have nothing against Christian-themed music per se, I really like twenty one pilots’ new album, but it’s often so incredibly noticeable that it starts getting in the way.

Owl City’s new album is something different, however. It’s a change stylistically — from synthpop with pop rock elements to something closer to the currently popular hybrid of EDM and dance-pop with some other things thrown in. Now let’s ask the most important question: does it hold up? Well… no.

I was not a huge fan of The Midsummer Station, but then again many of the tracks on there were forgettable rather than plainly atrocious. However, one minute in and I was already convinced that this is the worst Owl City release to date. Many of these songs are either boring or even not something I can keep listening to for its whole length of four minutes or less. I’ll just go ahead and say that the 30-second title track prelude thing the album starts with is the best track on this record, and that should say clearly enough what a disappointment this album is.

The thing starts off properly with Verge, the lead single (“Hey, welcome to the album! Let’s start off with the lead single because it’s accessible!”) and a blatant EDM song featuring Aloe Blacc. First of all, the only reason Aloe Blacc is on here is for his name. He contributes absolutely nothing to the song and his vocal lines really remind me of what he does in Wake Me Up by Avicii, only in a much less entertaining way, it even feels like trying to capture some of Wake Me Up’s success again at which they absolutely failed if that was the case. And honestly, the rest of the album is that same recipe repeated to death. This Isn’t The End is probably the best proper song on here and that track was already released on his 2014 Ultraviolet EP. That is just laziness. In fact, three tracks on here have been on earlier releases, and his last proper album is from 2012. You have so much time and then you just come up with this!? Sorry, but this album just isn’t good at all. I’ll forget that this exists and hope that Adam Young returns to his roots a little and makes an album that is at least listenable.

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