Produced by Owl City’s Adam Young and recorded at Sky Harbor Studios in Owatonna, MN, All Things Bright And Beautiful features twelve new songs and was mixed by Young along with Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Jack Joseph Puig whose credits include Beck, Mary J. Blige, Green Day and John Mayer to name a few.
All Things Bright And Beautiful is the follow-up full-length studio album to Owl City’s platinum-selling debut Ocean Eyes. Released in July 2009, Ocean Eyes was certified platinum in just eight short months and earned Owl City a slew of critical acclaim (New York Times, Rolling Stone, People, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, etc.). Ocean Eyes’ sales were led by the runaway single “Fireflies” which is currently quadruple platinum in the US. “Fireflies” hit #1 on the Hot 100 twice and found its’ way to the #1 spot in 24 countries around the world – making this a huge International hit song and leading to several sold out worldwide tours – keeping Owl City on the road for over a year and a half.
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Owl City [All Things Bright And Beautiful]| Posted June 05, 2011
Owl City is back with a new full-length studio album – All Things Bright And Beautiful – due out June 14th worldwide on Universal Republic. Produced by Owl City’s Adam Young and recorded at Sky Harbor Studios the album features twelve new songs. All Things Bright And Beautiful is the follow-up full-length studio album to Owl City’s platinum-selling debut Ocean Eyes. Ocean Eyes’ sales were led by the runaway single “Fireflies” which is currently quadruple platinum in the US. On All Things Bright and Beautiful, the music and lyrics conspire to make listeners feel as if they were stepping into another world — a musical dreamland where “reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to live there,” as Young sings on the opening track “The Real World.” That statement sums up the theme of this album well. Adam seems to write and sing songs that are mostly about living for something greater than this world. About how music and his faith merge, Young says, “Music is something that is fused to who I am. It allows me to breathe deeply, it lets me feel, imagine, aspire and dream in the most beautiful ways imaginable. Music is something that I can't imagine living without, and though it means more to me than the world itself, there is something that weighs significantly heavier on the scale of all things valuable and important in my life, that being my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Images of abundance, like a backyard of butterflies in “Honey and the Bee,” blossoms filling a room in “Hospital Flowers,” and “sunsets that dazzle in the dusk ” in “Dreams Don’t Turn To Dust” unfold alongside starry-eyed imaginings of cherry bombs staining blackbirds red in “Kamikaze” and dipping one’s toes in the galaxy in the first single “Alligator Sky,” featuring Shawn Chrystopher. Young follows opening track “The Real World” with “Deer in the Headlights,” a playful song about feeling the pressure to be the perfect guy where Adam sings “It's suffocating to say but the female mystique takes my breath away.” Through each song, even the more melancholy ones, such as “Dreams Don’t Turn To Dust” and “Plant Life,” Young retains his ever-present optimism, letting the listener know that no matter how tough times get, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. There are also songs with a dance floor tempo, in particular stand-out tracks “Angels,” “Galaxies” and “The Yacht Club,” which features guest vocals by Canadian singer Lights.The female vocalist on “The Honey and The Bee” is Breanne Düren. She is the vocalist who sang on “Saltwater Room” from Ocean Eyes. Closing track“Plant Life” was co-written with Relient K’s Matthew Thiessen.
Like everyone else, I was hooked by “Fireflies” and “Vanilla Twilight” fromOcean Eyes. At the time, I didn’t even know Adam was a Christian and then he recorded a brilliant cover of “In Christ Alone,” and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Some of the Christian focused lyrics are found in my favorite song “Galaxies,” which is right after Adam plays a sound clip of President Ronald Reagan speaking about the victims of space shuttle Challenger that exploded on “January 28, 1986.” In the sound clip, Reagan pays tribute to their bravery and how they “touched the face of God.” I got the great opportunity to interview Adam about the song and we spent time discussing these lyrics in “Galaxies”-“For He is the saving grace of the Galaxies! He is the saving grace of the Galaxies! Dear God, I was terribly lost, When the galaxies crossed, And the Sun went dark. Dear God, You're the only North Star, I would follow this far.” He shared that the song is from the perspective of the astronauts before the explosion and is a prayer to God expressing his devotion to Him as “the saving grace of the Galaxies.” Amen.
Something about Owl City’s music that I’ve consistently enjoyed is the ability to escape daily stress and pressures while listening to the songs. Adam Young has a unique gift to make catchy and optimistic songs while still challenging me intellectually. My favorite songs on this very solid album are “Angels,” “Dreams Don’t Turn To Dust,”“Honey and the Bee,”“Galaxies,” “The Yacht Club,” and stunning closing track “Plant Life.” Knowing Adam’s faith as a Christian allows me as listener to share his optimism that we weren’t made for this world. All Things Bright And Beautiful is easily the best alternative music album of the year. I love that this album is chock-full of optimistic messages wrapped around some incredibly hooky beats and dance floor tempos. If you liked Ocean Eyes, you’ll be thrilled by All Things Bright And Beautiful.
#4 Album Of 2011| Posted December 26, 2011 Part of me feels a need to justify my choice in including an album with so little overt spiritual content. The other part of me is annoyed that I feel the need to do that. And all of me understands that no matter what, someone will disagree with it either way. The fact remains, I'd be purposely leaving out this album from a self-professed Christian, that does work to reach out to the Christian music community (Adam Young headlined Creation East this year and "Galaxies" was a hit at CHR radio), because of a lack of buzzwords, and I just feel that's a bit shallow. Music to me envelopes not only the lyrics, but beat, and Christians go through a huge range of emotions and relationship woes, so why not sing about it? Truth is, I haven't been able to put this album down since it released, so here we are. And it's where we should be,
Adam Young, the one man show behind Owl City, fascinates me in that he does everything on his albums. Writes, composes, records, sings, plays all the instruments and apparently, challenges himself to use the name of every animal known to mankind in his lyrics including deer, tigers, bugs, mice, crows, bees, butterflies, eagles, barracudas, sharks, bears, bats, crickets and tree frogs. It's quite the display of creation if you think about it.
There are also shout-outs to tiny feathers, balmy breezes, sugar maple wings, wild fires, ruby redwood trees, velvet ivy, story brushes and satin air. And that's just in the first song, "The Real World!" Yes, the lyrics are a bit wispy, matching Adams vocal delivery, and take a few listens to get used to, but then you appreciate how different they are. Adam's lyrics are poetic in the truest sense, and he's a hopeless romantic who is searching for love, acceptance and the getting lost in wonder of creation all around us. He finds a plethora of adjectives to describe the world around him and he wraps it all around some fantastic synth/dance/electronic music that is instantly his own sound, and incredibly catchy.
Yes the lyrics are borderline odd, but there are so many hope filled gems to be discovered if you dig. "My captain on a snowy horse has come back to take me home," Adam sings on "Kamikaze," a creative reference to Revelation 19. On "Hospital Flowers," a song about reawakening after a tragic event, Adam sings, "My burns were third degree, but I'd been set free, because grace had finally found its' way to me." In "Plant Life," he's longing for companionship and sings,"If I were to pluck on your heart strings, would you strum on mine?"
This isn't a praise and worship album, but it sure is an amazing fun celebration in hope and positivity, soaked in lyrical whimsy that's tough not to appreciate.
5/5| Posted June 14, 2011
Owl City's major label debut, Ocean Eyes, became an unexpected smash hit with both the Christian and secular communities. 2 years later Adam Young is back and sounding as better as ever. There is a lot of anticipation and expectations for this one and what comes out of it after listening is more then satisfactory.
The first thing I noticed was how much better the production quality is. Gone are the days of Adam creating songs in a basement, now he has a full studio and the music shows. This album also ambiciously mixes up styles with some hip hop elements that actually sound pretty good. Lyrically, you can tell that Adam has matured a bit in his songwriting ability. As the album title implies, most of the theme of this album is about beautiful things that are all around us. There's also a space motif going on throughout the album with songs like "Galaxies" and "Alligator Sky." This is also a much more spiritual album then Ocean Eyes was and I appreciate it when a mainstream Christian artist is not afraid to profess their faith in their music.
All Things Bright And Beautiful is an ambitious album that certainly pulls no creative punches. The sheer creative genuis of Adam Young is prevalent and that creative force has crafted an album that exceeds all expectations that I had.