Owl City writes lyrics most foul, shitty

owl-city-adam-young-lyricsThat’s it, I’ve hit my generation gap with new music. Jonas Brothers I could abide, and Hannah, Britney, Hanson and the boy bands, because pop is fun. But holy mother of god Owl City’s lyrics are AWFUL.

Generations older than mine have taken issue with hair length, drugs, promiscuity, and noise. We’ve even hit insipid before, usually disguised by unintelligible enunciation and drowned in amplitude. But webroots Owl City takes stupid to a nails-on-chalkboard low, dubbing over loops of mechanical saccharine, with a prominent emo-sensitive vocal track.

OC’s Adam Young wines like James Blunt impersonated by a digital clone. The singer’s voice is not helped by being equalized to imitate the shrill tin of skype. But maybe he is. The vocal effects improve pitch, and perhaps producers know their tween audience these days hear their Romeos through the disembodied voices of computer chat. This is new territory. Imagine Leif Garrett trying to croon through a tracheostomy mike.

But the insanely awful lyrics are where Owl City really breaks ground. Neither David nor Shawn Cassidy’s songs were ever this embarrassing, and much of their sentimentalism was tongue in cheek. Adam Young’s Cave In, for example, could benefit with a laugh track.

Yeah, I’ll ride the range / and hide all my loose change
In my bedroom,
Cause riding a dirt bike / down a turn pike
Always takes its toll on me.

Fireflies suggests to me that someone’s developed a plugin for Garage Band which sorts random cliches according to rhyme. But the grammar’s still a rudimentary, this ’cause that.

It’s hard to say / that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep,
‘Cause everything / is never as it seems
Because my dreams / are bursting at the seams.

Vanilla Twilight throws metaphors into a mixer:

I’ll find repose in new ways / though I haven’t slept in two days,
‘Cause cold nostalgia chills me to the bone.
But drenched in Vanilla twilight, / I’ll sit on the front porch all night,
Waist deep in thought because
when I think of you I don’t feel so alone.

He had to have pulled “repose” out of the thesaurus. But “waist deep in thought” is too honest to be contrived. Obviously no thoughts here rise above the neck, except the stench of what we usually measure by increments of leg bones as we wade: ankle, knee…

My visceral gag reflex to these lyrics has everything to do with Owl City’s populist ascent through our idiot’s meritocracy. Our cultural figures, counting even our professional class of opinion shapers, are no dullards, but they will exploit any dim light for which there are moths. If pop music is candy, this treacle is pharmaceutical quality lithium. Young minds eager to stretch their realities on poetry, will have their spark of vitality mucked in industrial effluent.

To me, this dreck is worse horror than Kafka could devise. New world order, failed education, twilight of Democracy, now idiocracy for eternity. Vanilla’s Twilight streams past and future tenses in real time.

As many times as I blink / I’ll think / of you tonight.

When violet eyes get brighter, / and heavy wings grow lighter,
I’ll taste the sky / and feel alive, / again.
And I’ll forget the world that I knew, / but I swear I won’t forget you.
Oh if my voice could reach back through the past,
I’d whisper in your ear: / Oh darling I wish you were here.

34 thoughts on “Owl City writes lyrics most foul, shitty

  1. Dude, wtf. Owl City is amazing. That’s called imagination and creativity, Adam Young’s lyrics are about as creative as it gets, turning random words into beautiful lyrics. Do you know how hard it is for some people to write a song at all? What he does is pure poetry.

  2. No, he’s right–this is horrible crap–like something a 12 year old girl would write. You seriously call this poetry? I produce way better stuff every morning in my toilet.

  3. Something I’ve actually heard…

    The Beatles? Like, weren’t they Paul McCartney’s old backup group, with Julian’s dad and Ringo Harrison and a couple of dudes I can’t remember their name, but like, you remember THEM? Dude, you must be really OLD!!!

  4. why would you hate someone who sings what he feels? He tries to be unique, shouldn’t you be happy he isn’t immitating Madonna or other pop people like her? Respect the dude, I respect you looking like an complete loonatic when you poo.

  5. i’m not going to tell you, that you’re wrong; because music has endless interpretations, and to each is own, but i think that you think owl city lyrics are stupid because you don’t understand them. I can name so many people that like owl city because of their meaningful lyrics. Most of them have to do with his other half, or the love of his life – as some may call it. The lyrics of Adam Young are soulful and full of passion. They also use playful lyrics to make the songs more fun and joyful. But then again, this is just my opinion, as that was yours. By the way owl city is my favorite band, and i don’t listen to that kind of music, so that says something.

  6. i promised myself i wouldn’t rag on your opinions, so i wont. but you are an ass for being so rude. All good things and people have haters, that’s how you know they are good – if they can start controversy. now wouldn’t you rather have your music heard and hated versus not heard at all? I know so many people that loooove owl city, i also know people that don’t. it all depends on your person. Even if you are one of those people that don’t like them, you dont have to be an ass hole about it. You can just simply say what and why without being rude or, i hate to say it, bitchy.

  7. Fuck all you haters on Adam Young he is one of the most creative songwriters of this time. Your just jealous that you arent as popular as him you close minded ignorant fuck so suck a fat dick cause OWL CITY and SKY SAILING ARE AMAZING!!

  8. I consider Adam Young of Owl City to be a highly creative and multi-talented artist. I’ve always admired him for how he spins wordplay and metaphors together in unique ways and creates images and feelings in the listener through sensory words and descriptions. He himself describes his songs as ways to bring across the sound of optimism to his audience. How many bands can say that? All I seem to hear on the radio are hardly censored lyrics sung in monotones either about materialistic things such as cars or wealth or about sex and alcohol. Adam Young stands out from any other artist I’ve heard. Why is this a bad thing? He’s singing real poetry, and maybe he’s not expressing it in a way some people understand, but then again maybe they just can’t appreciate it. Art isn’t a bunch of sentences linked together describing your car, or dancing in a club, or drinking, or doing explicit things. So Adam Young’s lyrics appear like nonsense? So does Japanese to me, but it could be saying the most beautiful and intelligent thing and I wouldn’t know. My point is, if you’re going to write a bad review without a real backing statement, you’re doing yourself more harm than you are the the artist, cause your putting your ignorance out for everyone to read.

  9. I simply can not imagine hating owl city. And calling it what you have called it seems down right awful He’s simply amazing. He really is. But people have different tastes.
    However I think you should try your best to listen to his music with a completely clear head where you forget what your preconceived notions about music just for a little while.
    His songs take you to another place and he can just make your heart melt. I am seeing this again: he is amazing.

  10. Dang, you made him sound almost messianic. Does he have a group of twelve Jewish guys following Him everywhere?

    If I ever lose about 99% of my remaining morality and go over to Capitalism maybe I’ll invest in his cult errr record label and fan club.

  11. Bad lyrics, huh? Well let me tell you a little something about Adam Randal Young.

    Because of his imagination and beautiful lyrics, he stopped me from taking my life. He showed me the beauty that our world has. He took away the pain and sadness I felt, and helped me realize that the world needs me and I have a purpose.

    I won’t complain about your opinion. Everyone has one of course. But when you attack someone that’s precious to over 600,000 people, you’re going to see why we love Adam.

    Oh, and one other thing. I get that Adam’s lyrics are a bit more… “out there” if you will. And then there’s the other 95% shit music that talks about sex, drugs, drinking, “getting hoes”, etc. So yes, let’s fucking complain about a beautiful man who has saved countless lives and inspired so many people, and not say one damn word to the idiots who thinks using autotune is “singing”

    Basically, keep your shitty opinions to yourself.

  12. OK… This is getting more cult-like with each comment.

    I’m glad you stopped yourself from suicide. Next you need to get into some serious conversations with people who you know, and trust. Family perhaps. But it has to be somebody who, you know, KNOWS you. I used to suggest clergy but nowadays there’s so much hate mongering going on and I really don’t know your pastor or priest or rabbi or imam or other counsellor. or teacher.

    One thing to remember, Mr Young probably doesn’t want to be looked upon as a messiah but if he does, then you should be very careful about that.


  13. I understand that everyone has their own opinion about things, but even though you have a right to voice your opinion, I don’t think you should be attacking Owl City like that. I think his lyrics are beautiful. I feel happy everytime I listen to them. They’ve helped me get past break-ups, family issues, and other things. I wish I could write like that. But you don’t have a right to attack him. I mean cmon! He’s just a creative man, and not trashy like other artists. I thought it was amazing that I could listen to someone who doesn’t talk about crap like drugs, sex, and the other stuff. I just don’t think you understand them, but I guess it takes someone somewhat sensitive to understand them. So don’t bash on them unless you’re gonna take time to understand them.

  14. Ummm… I’m drawn to these comments the way you would watch a horrible bloody auto accident and can’t keep from looking at the mangled corpses.

    Look, the cult-like adoration is … freakish. There’s naught more I can use to describe it. It’s like this Charlton Heston movie from 1971 called “Omega Man” with a cult of people who have been turned into crazed, nocturnal beings who can’t stand sunlight or artificial light, torchlight being all they could take. They’d burn books, libraries, schools, hospitals, egged on by a former Radio/TV Hate Speech monger somewhat like Michael “savage” Weiner. And they would do it ritually, chanting “Evil! Evil! Evil!”

    I mean, come the HELL on, lady, there’s no “attack” here. Attacking people involves acts of violence or threats of violence.
    Talking about somebody, expressing an opinion that perhaps he should practice writing before actually publishing stuff like that for money… that’s not an attack. Hitting somebody upside the head, neck and upper torso with a large blunt instrument is an “Attack”.

    As to having “no right” to express any opinions, watch it a little, hey? Everybody has a right to an opinion, you acknowledged that part, then went straight to we don’t have a right to EXPRESS that opinion.

    I mean, I mean, i say I MEAN… somebody with a religious bent, practically worship of the singer, that’s a danger signal in itself.
    You have the right to worship a dead animal you found in the street if you wish. Other people would have the right to point out that your faith in the dead animal is kind of weird and that the dead animal probably represents a health threat, most immediately to its worship cult members.

    When your words edge closer and closer to the brink of thinly veiled threats, one who is Sensitive to such words and thoughts might say to himself, as I often do, “Self, these folks are going to start a Jihad or Crusade or some other form of Ritualistic Mass Slaughter against anybody who doesn’t join their cult”

    One doesn’t have to dig far through history to find similar wars, like one led by a French kid who thought God Himself was talking to her… and an English Archbishop having her tried and burned at the stake for witchcraft. All she was, was probably schitzophrenic but maybe just hopped up on some really bad moldy bread.

    It’s worth noting that in the same general time frame, two or three centuries doesn’t make much difference, women in Italy had a beauty craze going on, the Fashionable Look was to have big wide eyes. Huge. Little Orphan Annie huge.

    To obtain the effect they used the extract of a plant called Deadly Nightshade but the word they used for it was Beautiful Woman… Bella Donna. Which is also a hallucinogen much like LSD or Mescaline. They used it as eyedrops.

    For some reason there was a huge increase in Devout Italian Catholic WOMEN having visions of The Holy Family..

    Also angels, demons and unidentifiable things which, surprise, only they could see. Jeanne D’Arc might have gotten into the wrong patch of weeds one time too many, but she led a bloody war and was brutally killed for “having supernatural influences” which, of course, Sensitive People could discern.

  15. Not to say that you’re going to go all Charlie Manson on us, but the possibility always exists. Plus just the tone of the words is really creepy.

    And, you know, all over the world people have bloody riots which resemble small-scale wars over a fuckin’ soccer game. Cars and buildings get burned out and people get killed.

  16. well, i do understand what you’re saying. I mean, I guess it’s a differing in opinion. but you do have a right to say what you feel, so sorry for saying that you didnt. i do think everyone has a right to voice their opinion, but not when it’s hurting others, but it’s all in what other people believe. maybe i should just say i dont agree with it, but you do have a right to voice your opinion.

  17. If it makes much difference, this is one article out of thousands on the site. And the ONLY one about young Mr Adam and his band. It’s not like we’re hunting him or his listeners down.

    A musician who gets enjoyment from his songs, he wins.
    If other people enjoy it he wins big time.
    If those other people pay him to play or sing his music, that’s a high honor and really, if you make a living in music you’re ganing far more than vast majority.

    Really, the only people I’ve met who actually pay all their bills through playing music are either in a symphony or are the “Studio Band”. There’s a reason you don’t see many fat musicians, and it’s not because they’re on a diet.

    It’s because they really can’t afford to eat.

  18. Now i do see where you’re coming from and you’re right. Musicians don’t make much money, and sometimes good talent can go unrecognized. But you’re right, everyone has a right to their own opinion, even though others may not agree with it. I guess we both have different opinions but I shouldn’t have said it was wrong. Music shouldn’t be about how other people perceive it, how much money they make, or whatever it is thought to be now. It should be about what makes the creator of it happy, and if others like it, that’s a bonus. I completely agree with what you say about music.

  19. Okay, dude, I DARE YOU. Write a better song than what Adam Young (Owl City) can write. Seriously.

  20. Rachel, even though this wasn’t directed at me, challenge accepted. I even tried to write like Adam Young in the 2 minutes it took me to cough this up. Just set it to any Postal Service track ever and sing it in a whiny voice.

    Par for the course for this soliloquy,
    my empty words inventing memories.
    I’d walk a thousand miles if you’d tell me to hush.
    But left to my own detentions,
    second guesses and lost definitions.
    a thousand miles isn’t far enough to gain that trust.

  21. I’m going to be straight to the point; because you obviously can’t handle metaphors, opinions, things open to interpretation, human feelings,or big words.

    Owl City is awesome. You suck. And you may or may not be a zombie without a soul.

  22. If you could recognize metaphors, opinions, interpretations, or feelings, you might see Owl City doesn’t. For lyrics to be any of those things they have to have meaning. Otherwise they’re just words, apparently “big words” to you. Thank your candid remark for spilling those beans, whatever.

    The American education system perpetuates the Owl City genre fan base by graduating illiterate uncritical-thinking know-nothings, for consequences worse than crap entertainment, but hardly more irritating.

  23. The state of US music making is a sign of how out of it we are in the world as a whole. I don’t even much listen to any of it these days.

  24. You have no idea how much this piece of writing angers me.. just because who ever the hell wrote it is to dumb to understand the depth and meaning of his lyrics, owl city/ Adam Young’s songs are so much better that the shit that people call music today, every song on the radio is about sex, drugs and getting stoned.

  25. Erm well….first off, i just wanna say that im not trying to criticize ur opinions. Personally i think his music is pretty amazing and is really inspirational, well…u gave (perfectly valid, might i add) points as to why u hate him which is cool but….u know…dont be rude about it man…:/…music is all about interpretation, thats y its called music, so…i dont really have anything against you hating him since some ppl are bound too, we all have our opinions but just…u know…dont be rude about it…:)

  26. Fuck you Owl City’s amazing. He has feeling and he has a heart and can really great translate what he feels into songs and you’re probably too stupid to understand him.

  27. Instead of being mad at you, I feel sorry. You’re probably stuck listening to Mac Miller and “musicians” like that. It’s sad to know that we have people in this world who just can’t appreciate REAL music, and don’t understand the concept of creativity. Owl City’s amazing and has awesome lyrics, so if you want to criticize him, you’ll have a bunch of loyal fans to answer to. You have your opinion and I have mine, but there’s no reason to announce it to the world unless it’s positive. Especially when it makes no sense. When you write a song that gets popular overfrickinnight (or at all), then you can talk trash about Adam and his lyrics. But since that’ll never happen…eff off a-hole.

  28. I like a lot of different music, Owl City is one of my favourite artists, as are bands like ELO, Meatloaf, Genesis etc… In my eyes Owl City’s lyrics are just as good if not better than these other bands, it’s just a different style of writing. You say the lyrics are bad, the fact is just that you don’t like them. It shows a lack of intelligence that you’d rather write a blog saying ‘how bad his music is’ instead of simply not listening to it.

  29. Well…
    This is crap.
    Pretty awful crap.
    You, suck… So hard.
    Adam Young is cool, please dont waste your time in this.

  30. one of the best things about Adam’s music is his lyrics – i cannot fathom anyone not falling in love them them

  31. Seeing how far Adam has come from “Fireflies” in 2009 to now his new album: “Coco Moon” here in 2023, this is a poor take.
    Here is how this take is problematic, it lacks any real depth of understanding the innocents of childlike wonder. Which is what Adams music started out admiring/mirroring. Throughout the years, his lyrics have gone from childlike wonder, to nostalgia to wanting to escape reality, to his own real life, BACK to childlike wonder and escapism. His music has literally gone full circle. So for that reason, this take from 12-13 years ago is lacking that wherewithal and acknowledgment of what should be considered to be brilliant ethereal lyricism, that at times hints at an unwavering faith. For lack of a better word, this take is whack. While, everyone each has their own opinions, I found this take to be more of an amusement as an attempt to be a hot take rather than something as to be any form of constructive criticism/feedback. Especially due to the fact that one would have to complain about lyrics having a more robust vocabulary, that one may actually have to educate themselves and pull up the meaning of words. Rather than allow the vastness of words used to excite them about how someone eloquently described how they feel. All while describing real longing as a hopeless romantic, as we know Adam has portrayed himself to be in his lyrics over the years.
    Lastly, we must remember things/words have context and meaning. Adam weaves the words he smiths into stories that flow in and out of dream like states, in and out of love and then moves out of a childs mindset to a more adult like wherewithal. And he does so with a fluid like motion of sound; while simultaneously creating an ebb and flow that will tug at your heart and transport you back to certain times in your life you might have forgotten about or even times you wished to forget(insert that sprinkle of sad OC songs here). I could go on and trust me I would gladly type out a 10 page response or thesis on Adam’s music over the last 12 years(jeez that makes me feel old, though 27 is still young….idc what those 5 year olds tell me) and go in-depth on the lyrics and layered melodies(you think I am joking….I am not. English majors and musicians “pop off” about topics and other authors and artists of wonder they admire).

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