COLUMN: An honest critique of ‘Owl City’


Ian Stobaugh, Columnist

A few nights ago, my friend invited me to their room to listen to “Owl City.” We just wanted to go through the entire discography and see if we could find out if he deserved to be a one hit wonder. After going through four of the six albums in almost three hours, we decided that he did deserve it.

“Owl City” is a project by Adam Young, a musician who came up with the idea while experiencing insomnia on his shift at Coca-Cola. He started recording the songs in his parents’ basement, and blew up after releasing “Fireflies” in the third album. This is still the song that everyone associates the project with, but we wanted to see if there was more.

The first thing we noticed was that the instrumentals, while very similar to each other, were rather good. It’s very mellow and bright, with fun tones and sounds throughout. However, once you listen into the lyrics, it gets odd.

The lyrics are entirely nonsensical, and not in a way that makes sense. It’s like a raging mosh pit of words, one that’s moving so fast that it feels like you can’t recall what happened afterwards. With lyrics like “Golf and alcohol don’t mix/And that’s why I don’t drink and drive/Because good grief, I’d knock out my teeth/And have to kiss my smile goodbye,” from his song “Dental Care,” how is anything meant to make sense? What does golf have to do with drinking and driving? And why is this in a song about dental care?

Another lyric that shocked all of us in the room was from the song “Rainbow Veins,” and we had to rewind the song and make sure we were hearing it correctly. The chorus says, “And I’ll blend up that rainbow above you and shoot it through your veins,” which is something weird to hear with the happy go-lucky instrumentals in the background.

We decided that “Fireflies” was the one song that makes the most logical sense throughout its duration. My friend said that “‘Fireflies’ was the only gem to be found amongst many diamonds whom remained in the rough,” and they couldn’t be more correct. Most of their songs sound decent in the beginning, and as they continue on, the lyrics begin to devolve. The instrumentals also stay consistent throughout the song as well, with little change throughout them. It would make for good background music in a game or TV show, but in an album, the music is half of the entire point. The other half are the lyrics, and they get negative points.

So if you were thinking about listening to “Owl City,” I recommend against it. We listened to it for you, and trust me when I say that unless you want to listen to coherent gibberish, don’t follow in our footsteps. It was a confusing few hours for sure.

Ian Stobaugh is a freshman German major. He can be contacted at 581-1812 or [email protected].