With summer just around the corner, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the albums the next three months hold in store for the music-loving masses. And first up we have All Things Bright And Beautiful, from laptop maestro Owl City (aka Taylor Swift’s pal Adam Young). How exactly will the Minnesota native follow up the surprise success he achieved with Ocean Eyes two years ago? And what precisely does the Alternative Press cover guy have in store for fans of his shimmery brand of escapist synth-pop? So many questions — and we probably won’t truly have the answers until the album arrives. But until then, let’s take a look below at what we know!
ALBUM: All Things Bright And Beautiful (Universal Republic), the fourth overall release from Owl City’s Adam Young (including last year’s Sky Sailing side project An Airplane Carried Me To Bed).
RELEASE DATE: June 14 (pushed back from its originally scheduled May 24 drop date).
SINGLES RELEASED SO FAR: “Alligator Sky” (check out the unreleased Long Lost Sun remix, which we premiered back in April), “Galaxies” and “Deer In Headlights.” Young spoke about about penning the latter:
“I actually just got out of a relationship right before I wrote it. Some of my older stuff is based around romance, but it’s kind of dreamy, beautiful, perfect and kind of surreal — ethereal. And this one is a little bit more raw…. Being an introverted guy, I’ve only ever had two girlfriends, so I’ve never had that much to draw from in that respect, so I’ve only ever written from imagination. So it was a kind of a fun song to pull really specifically from an actual life scenario.”
ALBUM PRODUCERS: Like on his 2009 breakthrough Ocean Eyes — which spawned the Hot 100 chart-topper “Fireflies” — Young handled production chores himself. “Even though you can work forever on a mix on a song on an album, in my mind it’s never really done,” Young said in a making-of video. “But this album is really a lot more ‘finished’ than the last one was.”
WHERE ADAM RECORDED THE SONGS: His hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota, population 25,599.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE LP: More bright, dreamy pop from the one-man band. Young recently wrote the following on his blog:
“Sometimes I’m asked why the music I create tends to sound like it does — why the optimistic flavor? Is that because you’re an excessively happy person? Do you ever have bad days? It’s an innocent question and I enjoy answering it because music has always been my way of dealing with life’ by way of escapism. Rather than create art that mirrors the inevitable dark days I’m plagued with just like everyone, I prefer to let my daydreams carry me away into places where one can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone, in a way that only the mind can allow.”
Along those lines, it sounds like the singer-songwriter is keen on even taking sad subject matter and flipping it around on All Things Bright And Beautiful. In his “making of the album” video, Adam said, “There’s a song on this new record called ‘Honey And The Bee’. The message of the song is about these two individuals who are at a dead place in both of their lives and are feeling rather lonely. They meet each other and sparks happen.”
Young once again enlisted Breanne Duren, who appears on his Ocean Eyes track “The Saltwater Room,” for additional vocal duties on “Honey And The Bee.”
TOUR PLANS: Young is heading out on the road with his “Honey And The Bee” collaborator Duren on board as opener for certain dates. (She self-released her Mike Daly-produced EP Sparks last month.) The tour kicks off next Monday, June 13 — i.e. a day before All Things Bright And Beautiful is released — at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. And, lucky you — we’ve got details here on how you can win a pair of tickets!
OUR THOUGHTS: In just under two years, Owl City’s Ocean Eyes went Platinum, his single “Fireflies” sold four million downloads in the US alone and he toured the world. It’s probably safe to say this nocturnal bird-loving synth whiz has amassed a legion of fans who will both purchase his newest offering and come out in droves to see him live. But time will tell whether he can rack up another bona fide hit single on the charts.