Owl City
Maybe I'm Dreaming


3.5
great

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
August 29th, 2012 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: R.I.P. the once-promising talent of Adam Young.

Let me let you in on a secret, Sputnikmusic community. It’s a secret that may shock you, a secret that may make you question my sanity. It’s also a secret that, knowing your general opinions of music, you might feel uncomfortable with, something with which you’ll probably immediately disagree. Now that I’ve sufficiently hyped the secret, it’s time to reveal what it is: At one point, Owl City’s music was not bad. Are you surprised? Disgusted? Ready to burn me at the stake as a heretic? How is it that I, a (hopefully) unbiased and critical reviewer, can say something like that? After all, I despised All Things Bright and Beautiful along with you. I thought the songs were generic, sickly sweet pop that sounded like they could have been manufactured by a cold, unfeeling machine whose only purpose was to make money. I thought the only worthwhile songs on Ocean Eyes were rehashes of older material, and the rest of the album was pretty bad. And what I’ve heard of Owl City’s new album, The Midsummer Station, makes the idea of listening to the entire album an unappealing one. So how is it that, despite all this, I can still claim that Adam Young once made enjoyable music?

It’s because Maybe I’m Dreaming is almost everything Owl City’s later albums failed to be, and avoids nearly everything that the other albums did wrong. Rather than being generic, flat, and irritating, it consists of relaxing, tranquil bubblegum pop that does what bubblegum pop was meant to do - it puts a smile on the listener’s face and calms them, relieving them of worries they might have for the length of the album. The album thankfully isn’t annoying for anyone over the age of 15 with grating synth leads, drums so generic they almost cause anger for want of more, and an obnoxious voice singing terrible lyrics. Instead, it soothes the listener with airy, almost ethereal leads and simple acoustic guitar strums over a relaxing bed of synth pads. As an added bonus, Adam Young’s voice is bearable at worst and much better than that at best, with fanciful lyrics that fit right along with the music.

For example, look at “Rainbow Veins,” a standout track on the album. A dreamy, percussive synth lead and a rhythmic guitar seem to take the listener through the clouds as Young sings lightly and happily behind them. It’s as airy as cotton candy and it’s hard for even a jaded and cynical music lover not to smile while listening. “The Technicolor Phase” utilizes a shimmering melody and background to create a silky cloth of sounds that envelops the listener and keeps him warm. Ending the album, the piano, muffled drums, and chilled-out synths of “West Coast Friendship” end the album on the same soothing note as it started.

Which leads to the negative aspects of the album, which really aren’t that different from the positives. This album definitely isn’t for everyone - although the sugar isn’t sickly sweet, there’s still a whole lot of bubblegum-pop sugar on this album. And, just like the cotton candy alluded to in the review, the music feels superficial and insubstantial. It’s just too dreamy to really find a solid foothold on the ground, and spends its time drifting through the clouds. But the album is by no means cut from the same cloth as Owl City’s later work, and is actually a fun, escapist listen. It’s light, tranquil, and in very few ways similar to Adam Young’s more infamous albums. It’s a side of Owl City that showed only briefly and may not show itself again, and as an embittered once-fan I grieve for the talent that vanished soon after this work.



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user ratings (204)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Kevin K (3)
Maybe We're Not Dreaming After All; Adam Young shows good talent when in the right places....

Fxxkit13 (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bracing for the incoming impulse-negs and "Album is shit" comments.

Can a mod/admin fix the album info? For some reason it decided to submit a new album instead of going with an already-created one. I'm sorry for being a newbie but if someone could help that'd be awesome.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2012


50553 Comments


When you submit a review you're supposed to pick which album it's for

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2012


19920 Comments


I don't get it. You say RIP to the once talented Adam Young yet you gave this a 3.5?

Digging: Transit - Joyride

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2012


19920 Comments


Oh, nvmd didn't see that this was older.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I did and I said "Maybe I'm Dreaming" but then it gave me this.

skoopy48
August 28th 2012


1536 Comments


adam young showed talent on sky sailing and port blue, so i disagree with the summary

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If anything sky sailing and port blue support my summary, he hasn't done anything with them since he went to shit

skoopy48
August 28th 2012


1536 Comments


um sky sailing was released after ocean eyes

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wouldn't put ocean eyes in quite the same category as his really bad stuff, though, it had some good songs like vanilla twilight, but the album as a whole was pretty bad. Can we not quibble over definitions, though? I see your point, but at the same time you see my point, whatever talent he had is hiding/gone now

LifeAsAChipmunk
August 28th 2012


4854 Comments


"At one point, Owl City’s music was not bad. Are you surprised? Disgusted? Ready to burn me at the stake as a heretic?"

Damn bro, we've got a maverick up here! You are now sentenced to death by prog m/

But yeah, there is no chance of this being good.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh I wouldnt say that without listening to the album. Course, if you thought Ocean Eyes was hell spawn created by the devil
himself, you won't like this. If you thought it was pretty bad, you might still like this album.

And yes I do realize I have to be educated in the ways of prog, but that will come in time.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How was the review writing-wise though? I really want to improve and I'd love to get a sense of how this could be better.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


10284 Comments


Well-written.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2012


3470 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! Anything I can do better next time?

Ninjask
August 28th 2012


178 Comments


Cut out and revise the first half of the first paragraph.

skoopy48
August 28th 2012


1536 Comments


I wouldn't put ocean eyes in quite the same category as his really bad stuff, though, it had some good songs like vanilla twilight, but the album as a whole was pretty bad. Can we not quibble over definitions, though? I see your point, but at the same time you see my point, whatever talent he had is hiding/gone now

I hope its hiding, his new stuff sounds like katy perry b sides

TheGardener
August 28th 2012


150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe I'm Dreaming is one of my favourite albums of all time. There was a time where I would listen to it every day for months at a time. I am a fan of Adam Young, his work under the moniker of Port Blue (The Airship is another favourite of mine), but I would agree that his music has taken a turn for the worse.

Ocean Eyes was a good album in my opinion, but it wasn't the same. All Things Bright and Beautiful and The Midsummer Station have been less than average albums for me and I'm disappointed by it, but I'll always have Maybe I'm Dreaming to make me happy. I'm glad someone else on Sputnik shares my opinion.

Good review, except it reads like a 4.5

ConsiderPhlebas
August 29th 2012


6157 Comments


You know your way around a sentence, but the beginning of the review makes you seem delusional. Sites like this will always attract hordes of nerdy metal fans, but people listen to all sorts. Addressing the entire community and offering a reductive opinion of their collective taste is patronizing, and it gives the impression that you see yourself as some kind of trailblazer. Even professional reviewers are more down to earth than that, so doing it on a site where any hamfisted oaf can sign up, mash their paws into the keyboard and publish a review is a bit weird.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2012


19920 Comments


Hello Seattle is the best song he's ever done. Damn gardener, you 5'd this?

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2012


10284 Comments


One thing you can do to improve is revise the introduction, like someone else said. It was all well-written, but not exactly necessary and you don't want to bore potential readers with unrelated asides. I always try to make my intro paragraph as captivating as possible while still being really related - maybe a bold claim about the album that I follow up.



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