Justin Yee's Blog

[Postal Service / Death Cab] + [Every Sweetener you know of] = Owl City

Scoped out an article w/ Taylor Swift, detailing what’s in her purse. One of a few things was Owl City’s Ocean Eyes. Huh. Let’s check it out – maybe my girl would like it.

Starter track spills it all – touch reminiscent touch, throwing whatever relationship quips it can throw at you till something sticks. Even the electro-stringed breakdown (Cave In, 2:22)! Yeah! Let’s get into this catchy, sweet-pop, blip-blip, woop-woop…. wait.. i’ve heard this stuff before… who just dumped sugar in my Coke? That’s not sugar.

It’s straight up Nutri-Saccharined Aspartame. Two lumps.

Like the cancer-related modern sweetener, most won’t know it’s in there (check that pack of gum in yer pocket). Ocean Eyes successfully masks most of the musical harm w/ yes you guessed it: frosting. But under the layers are way too many imprints of Postal Service’s famed album to ignore. Vocal style, melodic back and forths; synth blips; generous hand claps; and yes, even references to Seattle, Puget Sounds all just gave you that sugar rush in the first song.¬†And I’ll give it to them – they’ve made a very palatable follow-up to what every dreamy-eyed Postal Service fan wanted: more.

There’s one thing Owl City couldn’t do though – with all its formulaic sheen, the album fails to create the environment. Postal Service had their fair share of musical phrasing turrets, but it’s lyrics were concrete and familiar enough to relate to. Ocean Eyes has too many random thoughts / verbal movement that visualization comes and goes like the sugar high letdown which this articles make it’s starting analogy.

There’s a reason why a sugar rush comes and goes. There’s a reason why carbs stay. You can’t lay off the Wonder Bread cause it’s genuine, tried and true. You’ll never forget it, and everything else will just be imitators.