I love Owl City.
Now, before you judge me (though I don’t really care if you do), let me explain why: Owl City’s songs make me happy. That’s all there is to it.
The complaint I hear the most about Owl City (which, for the uninitiated, is essentially one guy, Adam Young) is the following: “Owl City is a rip-off of The Postal Service.” Whether Adam Young consciously imitated The Postal Service or not (I don’t care), the fact is: I don’t like the Postal Service, but I like Owl City. There is something fundamentally different about Owl City’s music, namely that it’s upbeat and full of energy. The Postal Service’s songs, on the other hand, I find tolerable at best, and at worst, their dreary weariness grates on my consciousness.
Another complaint I often hear is this: “Owl City’s lyrics are crap.” This depends entirely upon one’s definition of “crap.” Granted, the lyrics to many of the songs are apparently meaningless, at least intrinsically, but they are often chosen for purposes other than just their meaning. The following lyric, from “Sunburn” on the deluxe edition of Ocean Eyes, illustrates one of many instances in which words are chosen for their euphony: “Implying that she’s the bee’s knees and I am the cat’s meow.” The consonance and internal rhyme of “she’s,” “bee’s,” and “knees” is pleasing to the ear (at least to mine, if not to yours).
I don’t think that the lyrics to any Owl City song are “deep,” as one poorly-argued diatribe accuses. In fact, I think it’s quite possible that “Fireflies” isn’t really about anything. But the words, while they may be devoid of inherent meaning, contribute to the feeling of the songs. And we’re back to my main point: they make me feel happy.
Several of my friends might argue that I like Owl City songs due to the mental associations I have with them. I’m not entirely sure that isn’t the case. But I think that I enjoy Owl City independently of those associations as well. This, like every other point I’ve made in this post, is subjective, but then, so is all artistic appreciation. You may not like Owl City, but I do. And that’s that.