Owl City
Ocean Eyes


1.0
awful

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
March 22nd, 2010 | 137 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The boy bands have won.

The Boy Bands Have Won, and All the Copyists and the Tribute Bands and the TV Talent Show Producers Have Won, If We Allow Our Culture to Be Shaped by Mimicry, Whether from Lack of Ideas or From Exaggerated Respect. You Should Never Try to Freeze Culture. What You Can Do Is Recycle That Culture. Take Your Older Brother's Hand-Me-Down Jacket and Re-Style It, Re-Fashion It to the Point Where It Becomes Your Own. But Don't Just Regurgitate Creative History, or Hold Art and Music and Literature as Fixed, Untouchable and Kept Under Glass. The People Who Try to 'Guard' Any Particular Form of Music Are, Like the Copyists and Manufactured Bands, Doing It the Worst Disservice, Because the Only Thing That You Can Do to Music That Will Damage It Is Not Change It, Not Make It Your Own. Because Then It Dies, Then It's Over, Then It's Done, and the Boy Bands Have Won.

In 2003, Death Cab For Cutie released indie-pop masterpiece Transatlanticism, but their frontman scored in both halves of the pitch, his collaboration on Give Up with electronic artist Dntel (Jimmy Tamborello) also garnering considerable critical acclaim for its dream-like melancholy and soothing beats. Since that point, Gibbard has returned to work with his major project, but while 2005's Plans and 2008's Narrow Stairs received reasonable receptions and proved fairly popular, nothing has hit those early-decade heights in their real glory, so it was with a hint of apprehension but nevertheless a great deal of excitement that The Postal Service's sophomore release landed in my mailbox in late 2009.

Lead single 'Fireflies' was an all-around confusing introduction to the pair's new material, but worked out as both a huge radio hit and an enjoyable, if slightly empty reiteration of Give Up's ideals. It hinted, however, at the issues which plague Ocean Eyes from top to bottom, the main two of which would seem to have their roots in a lack of care and attention. Gibbard, now engaged to Zooey Deschanel, has let his lyricism slip to the level of puns about the dentist and vacuous metaphors - at one point he even self-references, mentioning Puget Sound as he did on 'This Place Is A Prison' - valuing cute and meaningless imagery over anything harbouring real emotion. Dntel's slip-ups are similar; his beats are again pretty and spacey but so much more simplistic, and their predictability renders Ocean Eyes a disappointingly uneventful listen; without Gibbard's poignant honesty to save the game, it's even more of a letdown.

Make no mistake about it; 2009's The Postal Service is still at its core the same as that which made Give Up but just so much more condensed and shallow; there are even good tracks here, Meteor Shower impressingin a short timeframe with its quaint piano and universal, down-trodden atmosphere. The Saltwater Room is arresting as it features the record's only vocals not delivered in Gibbard's definitive everyman tone, a guest spot from Breanne Duren carrying an affecting, infectious chorus. But too frequently it feels as though Tamborello and Gibbard have aimed for the mainstream, leaving behind their artistic integrity and any depth or complexity in the process, dumbing down their aesthetic in an attempt to broaden their audience. The absence of any really intelligent lyricism or unpredictable electronics are this record's defining features, and given that Give Up's merits lay in the exact opposites of those traits, it's easy to see why Ocean Eyes falls short of its predecessor by some distance.

One feels that the end product that is Ocean Eyes was not the intention of either half of The Postal Service when they began work on their debut album; perhaps both have been subjected to a lobotomy in the 6 years between records, or maybe some freak operation merged them into one irritating teenager with absolutely nothing new to say. Whatever the reason for this record's lack of substance, it's a disappointment, because the direction presented at this project's inception was one packed full of intrigue and intelligence. To see it stripped of all artistic merit through a lack of ideas is saddening, and to see it become more popular than the pair's earlier, more original and less contrived work is more so. Ocean Eyes is undoubtedly a Postal Service record, just a really, really bad one.



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user ratings (648)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
March 22nd 2010


20834 Comments


cool review / rating.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


gay etc negd

DiceMan
March 22nd 2010


7068 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh my fucking god thank you. The guy who made this album ( I don't remember his name, nor have I ever heard it cause everyone just calls them THE FIREFLIES BAND!!!!!!) claims to have never heard The Postal Service. What the fuck.

AggravatedYeti
March 22nd 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I haven't even read this yet but
Ive missed you.

this is for a lack of a better word hilarious. but also srsly srsly good.

iarescientists
March 22nd 2010


5863 Comments


adam knott: hating on trends that have already died

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


holly shit it's AMAZING, these songs make me wanna fall in love again

sniper
March 22nd 2010


19080 Comments


lol

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


Owl City's "Ocean Eyes" is my no. 1 Spring-is-here album, WON-DER-FUL catchy tunes, just wonderful!

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


this album is suprisingly dope, my first venture into this genre and im impressed

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


FIREFLIES♥ This song just makes you wanna be happy. It's not a love song or a sad song like most. It just makes me happy when I hear it. It brightens up my day.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


I've been listening for over a week, and I still love every single track. Every memory I have from the days I've been listening to Owl City is all happy memories.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

adam knott: hating on trends that have already died


lol

I haven't even read this yet but
Ive missed you.


i'm backkkkkkkk

AggravatedYeti
March 22nd 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

robertson.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


adam is so adorable. kinda sad that he became famous and haters appear :/

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


Hey if you don't like Owl City, why are you here? And I think, Owl city is so cute and cool. This page is here for Owl City fans.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2010


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

hahahaha alex where are you getting these from

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


It inspires me how many haters he has got. Thinking about his lyrics, perhaps people wouldn't be idiots if they understood his music first.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


15070 Comments


haha these are all from last.fm they are inspiring


i'm almost tempted to delete my 1 review and write a 5 wouldnt that be fun

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2010


17225 Comments


what the fuck is wrong with you

Ire
March 22nd 2010


41822 Comments


what the fuck is last.fm



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