Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Review: The Midsummer Station
Now that I actually own The Midsummer Station and have listened to it multiple times, here is my track-by-track review:
Dreams and Disasters: The Midsummer Station starts on a reasonably good note. I like the overall sound of "Dreams and Disasters", even if it gets a bit repetitive by the song's end.
Shooting Star: This one is an unintentional heart-breaker. Earlier in the year, Owl City released a preview EP (i.e. The Shooting Star EP) with four songs from The Midsummer Station and this is the last song I had listened to on it. The first three songs ("Gold", "Take It All Away", and "Dementia") sounded nothing like Owl City and I realized I was right about the studio shenanigans and was feeling depressed. When I played "Shooting Star" my expectations were low, but when I heard the soft synth intro, my heart stopped. It sounded like Owl City! The first verse was good, keeping the soft sound and having Owl City's trademark dreamy lyrics... and then the chorus happened. The booming beat kicked in, the self-esteem boosting lyrics began and from there "Shooting Star" turns into a Katy Perry song. The intro still breaks my heart; it's like listening to a bird stuck in a cage.
Gold: This is the only song I flat-out don't like on the album. The overly-simplistic chorus doesn't sound pleasant to my ears at all. I'm generally not a fan of booming beat songs (for lack of a better term) and this is no exception.
Dementia: Pop punk is one of my favourite genres , so naturally I like this song. Adam Young worked with Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 on this one. It still sounds nothing like Owl City, but at least its a genre that I like.
I'm Coming After You: This one has a "Deer In the Headlights"/Relient K-ish vibe and I like it for the most part. The siren sound effects on the chorus are kind of... embarrassing though. It should have either been an actual siren, or no siren at all (maybe a better option).
Speed of Love: A decent song, but not very memorable.
Good Time: I'll admit it. I quite like this song. It's really catchy and fun. It adds some pep to my step, but it doesn't give me the fulfilling sense of happiness that classic Owl City does.
Embers: Like most songs on The Midsummer Station, I have mixed feelings on "Embers". Overall, I like the verses (Adam Young pulls off hyperbole very well), but the chorus comes off as trite to me. It's trying too hard to be a self-help song and doesn't sound natural. I swear this song was written by the "It Gets Better" campaign.
Silhouette: Good old "Silhouette", the only song that Adam Young wrote by himself. This is understandably the the most personal song on The Midsummer Station and one of its treasures.
Metropolis: Many reviewers are saying that "Silhouette" is the song that sounds the most like Owl City (some even say it's the only song on here that sounds like Owl City). It seems the obvious choice as it's the only song written exclusively by Adam Young, but honestly I think "Metropolis" is closest to the Owl City vibe that I've come to know and love. Yes, this song is co-written, but it's co-written with none other than Matt Thiessen from Relient K. Adam Young and Matt Thiessen have worked together in the past ("The Bird and the Worm", "Fireflies", "Tidal Wave", and "Plant Life"). Whenever they write together, Thiessen's handiwork is evident, but the song still remains undeniably Owl City-esque. "Metropolis" is no exception. Sound-wise, "Metropolis" has the sweeping synth and string melodies that Adam Young does so well and is noticeably absent from the rest of the album (the rest of the album typically settles for club beats) and combines it with a Euro-trance beat remniscient of "The Yacht Club". Lyrically, this song reminds me of early Owl City (e.g. "The Technicolor Phase", "Swimming in Miami"). "Metropolis" is my favourite song on the album by far and I suspect this would have been the overall feel of The Midsummer Station had the collaborations not happened.
Take It All Away: The Midsummer Station ends on an interesting note. "Take It All Away" sounds like a ninties boyband, but it's surprisingly endearing.