State, occasionally, likes pop. We certainly wouldn’t spend our weekends listening to the chart rundowns or sticking posters of Britney to our bedroom walls, but we know it has its place, in an entertaining, sticks in the head, passes the time kind of way. We draw the line, though, at Owl City.
Having already launched a single that’s so painfully similar to a Postal Service track that they’ve probably only avoided legal action as Postal Service want to avoid any more comparisons, we didn’t have high hopes for Owl City’s full album. Somehow it’s turned out even worse than we anticipated. The best side to Ocean Days is the backing track, which sounds something like a GameBoy game soundtrack, full of cringingly upbeat tunes (we genuinely believe that there’s not one minor key on this entire album) and bleepy, throwaway rhythms. We can only call the backing track the best side (-okay’ is a little too polite) as the vocals are so much worse.
Let’s set aside the ludicrous lyrical content of -Fireflies’ (which you’ve probably winced along to already), and look at the album tracks. Perhaps the worst culprit is a track called -Dental Care’, which sounds like a child’s pun-ridden take on something monumentally uneventful. It features lines like -I’ve been to the dentist 1,000 times, and I know the drill’, as well as a full on account of Adam Young’s entire tooth-care experience in painstaking detail. Other stand-outs include painfully sappy moments like -take a real good look through your text book, cos I’m history’ (Cave In) and -cars and alcohol don’t mix, that’s why I don’t drink and drive, cos good grief I’d knock out my teeth and kiss my smile goodbye’ (we didn’t catch which track that particular effort is from, and refuse to go back and find out).
That’s before you even get into the autotune, and it’s on pretty much every single word, leading State to ask ourselves if Adam Young can actually sing at all. If he can – and it’s meant as an effect – the excessive use only adds a robotic element to the ludicrously juvenile. This album’s selling by the bucket load, but aside from very young children with a penchant for bad poetry, it’s hard to think who might actually be buying it. It’s the kind of effort that can only have two effects: uncontrollable laughter, or genuine concern for the state of a music buying public who will actually pay for such tat, and a music industry that will promote it.
In short, Owl City come across a little like an electro Mika, though without his redeeming features – no entertaining campness or lyrical witticisms. There are one hundred ways we could have dissected this album, the result would always be the same. It’s frankly one of the worst that we’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to. Adam Young, we want the last hour of our life back.