[Album Review] Owl City – ‘Mobile Orchestra’

I first started to fall in love with Owl City in early 2010. As the blizzards rolled in throughout New York City, I cozied up to my stereo and became captivated by singer Adam Young’s lyrical abilities, blending the worlds of romance, fantasy and the humorous antics of what-dafuq-is-he-talking-about all into his major-label debut, Ocean Eyes. That album helped me escape the confines of my mind and the emotional abuse of a relationship at the time.

It wasn’t until I experienced a live Owl City show in September 2012 that I really understood the magnitude of what Young’s music brings to fans across the globe. Listeners of all ages made up the crowd – from really young to old to everything in between – making it more of a family affair while demonstrating what I knew in my heart all along: people want to escape for a while. Once leaving New York’s Irving Plaza that night, I overheard a young tween boy say to his father, “This was the greatest night of my life!” to which the father replied, “Mine too!” Clearly, we’re on to something here.

Escapism has become a current role in every Owl City album – All Things Bright and Beautiful carried me over to a sunny field of blissful contentedness while The Midsummer Station spiced things up a bit, going in a more EDM-infused state yet still maintaining the true Owl City sound. Now, with his new release, Mobile Orchestra, Young has managed to bring me out of my two-week-slump and on the road to recovery and healing.

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Though short but sweet, Mobile Orchestra offers up some summer goodies that are sure to burn up your road trip playlists while diverging into new territories sonically – ranging from pop, dance to even some country, featuring Jake Owen himself. Young may have pushed himself out of his comfort zone for this one and it may have paid off in the long run.

“Unbelievable,” a track featuring 90’s heartthrobs, Hanson, is a Throwback Thursday anthem waiting to happen, mentioning all things good about the 90’s including Nintendo, GI Joe, Power Wheels, Zack Morris and the wonders of a VHS tape. We’re sure DJ Tanner would approve.

God has always been a major driving force within Young’s music. Tracks like “My Everything,” “You’re Not Alone” and “Can’t Live Without You” defy the odds in such a way that begs the question if maybe Christian music can be included in Top 40. Though it’s preferably un-preachy, it’s a nice change of pace from the overly-saturated love songs burning up the airwaves.

While I’m still trying to figure some things out after a major blow to the heart, I can proudly say that because of this album, I am now ‘on the verge,’ so to speak, of the rest of my life. I am learning how to get back up on my feet. Though it will be a long process, I’m intent on achieving a new level of my faith. Closing track taken from last year’s Ultraviolet EP, “This Isn’t The End,” is a nice, teary-eyed reminder that when one door closes, another surely opens. Though it may feel like an end, it’s only the prologue to your sweet beginning.

Mobile Orchestra is available now here.

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina Roumeliotis

Tina is the founding editor of The Daily Listening. She's also a professional music nerd for BUZZNET. You'll most likely find her where she finds most of her inspiration: introverting in her bedroom with her music collection and a pair of headphones.