Review Summary: The 7 new bonus tracks don't do this album much justice
For those of you that slept through 2009's Ocean Eyes, the breakthrough album of the electronic solo artist Owl City, you now have a chance to score its deluxe edition, courtesy of a newfound fanbase's hunger for Fireflies-ish music. And Fireflies-ish music you will find here, for better and worse. Now that I mention Fireflies, it's hard to imagine anyone who could have slept out on that widely successful single, let alone its album. From his humble beginnings as a Myspace artist to releasing this reprise, Owl City's sole member Adam Young has certainly reached an impressive status. The question here is does this reprise stand the test of time (just barely 4 monthes) since its original inception? And what about the new tracks?
Disc 1 -- Original Ocean Eyes
Ocean Eyes saw Young recording mostly the same electronic, bubbly music since he started in 2007. In fact, 3 of it's tracks were already on his previous works, with no mentionable differences. He basically hadn't changed much since his last record Maybe I'm Dreaming, with more ocean-worshipping lyrics and exaggerated elation than ever. His vocals are mostly the same, as are his lyrics. Unfortunately, he sounds like he's trying to hard with his voice on tracks like Bird And The Worm, and veers into dry humor through Dental Care. Both facets end up being 2 of the record's biggest downfalls, along with the overall love-or-hate essence of emotion. Compared to his Myspace debut Of June, he's definately grown in musical talent and capability, but when compared to Maybe I'm Dreaming, the songs here sound largely the same, repetitive, and a bit forced. Even on its own, though, the lyrics are very cheesy (even more than they were before), the emotion is static, and the personality feels disconnected (or way too imaginative and dreamy). Ocean Eyes does have glimpses of a charming personality, albeit brief ones; Fireflies and Meteor Shower capture a more astral, universal scope, most noticeable at their climatic build-ups. And Umbrella Beach, while nothing innovative for Owl City, is undenaibly catchy and decently constructed.
Disc 2 -- Deluxe Package bonus tracks
Much like Ocean Eyes proper, this extra batch of new songs is very hit-or-miss, some small gems in OC's discography, but also some complete garbage. The bonus tracks start off with a promising Hot Air Balloon, which teases at slightly new musical direction, it's just a shame this doesn't last. While this song is very bouncy and a decent way to start the disc, the lyrics are still rather poor and the emotion still feels bloated. Also about the lyrics, Butterfly Wings starts off with one of Adam's more recurrent statements, the frequently revisited world of "If
". His lyrics are testing actuality again, way up in the air and too distanced from reality to be relatable. And so any hopes for some lyrical improvement are discarded. Much like disc 1's Dental Care, Rugs From Me to You is a ridiculously bad attempt at being silly with some different instrumentation. The Hello Seattle Remix isn't anything worth mentioning because that song has been somewhat forcefed to fans since it's Of June debut. Other than that, Strawberry Avalanche remains the last interesting song on this record, the rest being entirely forgettable.
The 7 new bonus tracks don't do this album much justice. He's still the cake and icecream of the electronic genre, frequently singing about daydream thoughts and first-person, never-have experiences. Its true that Hot Air Balloon and Strawberry Avalanche would be worth it for fans, but even the Hello Seattle remix can do little to appease junkies of Ocean Eyes. Then again, if by some strange phenomena you liked
Dental Care, you could be jamming to the new Rugs From me To You, if of course, the new instrumentation doesn't turn you off. In the end, neither of these discs manage to stand as strong as (IMO) Maybe I'm Dreaming, and it's kind of a rip off since the second disc is so measly and small. I personally find it all uninteresting, minus some solid songs. If you liked Ocean Eyes, then you can definately find some enjoyment out of this package. However, the apparent persistence of it all may not only leave haters hatin' but hatin' even more.