Life Imitating Life
There’s a reason why sequels usually suck and why sophomore albums are let-downs. It’s because after success happens the pressure is there for everybody involved in the project. Artists over-think and executives and producers over-examine. Thankfully, that didn’t happen on Owl City’s second ‘official’ Universal Republic Records release “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” I can’t say that it’s better than Adam Young’s previous album because “Ocean Eyes” was such a huge release, but I will say that it’s on par and it doesn’t lose anything in quality. “All Things Bright and Beautiful” is nothing but consistent throughout. From track 1 to track 12 there’s nothing not to like if you liked the last album. You can get into this and listen to it over and over, not because of Young’s electronic work (it’s good though.) And not because of his silly vocals (they’re vaguer than the last album.) You can get into this album because Young’s song structures are brilliant. They’re flawless and when you go through them, they’re a bit by-the-book, but they’re never boring. For any artist attached to the pop genre in any way, it’s a perfect quality to have. Relient K’s Matt Theissen helped out writing a few songs with Adam on “Ocean Eyes”. Here, he’s not present in the credits, so Young is responsible for these songs and they’re just as tremendous. The biggest difference between this album and the last album is there’s a few songs with house/trance type beats to them and there are two collaborations. Shawn Christopher and Lights both contribute and both are welcome additions to the album. If you can find one flaw with “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, it’s that it might sound a bit too much like the first label release. For Owl City fans, that’s a great thing. For people who aren’t fans… they’ll continue not to be. Owl City’s second big release “All Things Bright and Beautiful” is another success for Adam Young, especially on the creative side. He made another great album and it’s hard to imagine him not making another one after this because he’s got that kind of ability.