So, on this beautiful summer day, I figured I’d review Owl City’s new album Cinematic. I’ve been waiting eight months for this thing, and I have a lot to say about it.
I looked up some reviews of the album, and some of them were fairly negative, but this is because they were written after one song had been released. This song divided a lot of people. Personally, I thought it was good, although far from my favorite song by Adam. He was just trying something new, and I commend him for not being afraid to do that.
But that’s just the song “All My Friends.” What about the rest of the album?
Well, when the previews were released, it made me feel genuinely excited for certain songs, while others I enjoyed, but not on the same scale. One song that I will say pleasantly surprised me based on the previews was “Be Brave.” The preview did not do the song justice at all. I think it is one of the best songs he’s ever done, period. I remember listening to the preview and not feeling impressed that much, then the song for the first time, and I honestly felt like crying, because it was an incredible story. The one thing that I’ve always loved about Adam is his way with words, how beautiful he can make the simplest idea sound, and “Be Brave” is a gorgeous example of that, and he didn’t show it with the preview, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Now, with the rest of the songs, I have to admit that there are ones that I like more than others, while some I love just because they’re damned catchy. Now, that in itself is not a bad thing, but I do admit that the catchier ones sometimes lack certain substance that other songs on the album have for me. I think I feel this way because I love the instrumental work in certain songs (i.e. “Madeline Island”) while others I enjoyed, but wasn’t blown away by (i.e. “New York City”). This is a completely subjective view on my part, and it just shows how different all our tastes can be.
This is also not entirely true for other songs, which are both catchy, and have substance for me. This is illustrated in the songs “Cinematic” and “Firebird” and the “Firebird Alternate version.” Personally, I love “Firebird,” but I find the alternate version easier to listen to, for some reason. Both versions share the same message, though, so I can’t hate the original and adore the other version, but the acoustic version is just more accessible to me.
Now, with a song like “Montana” I have the opposite problem. I actually prefer the original version over the acoustic, but again, I can’t hate the acoustic because it’s the same thing – the delivery just doesn’t stick with me in the way the original does. And, as I said, this is entirely subjective and, to me, it shows the album’s overall variety and what Adam was going for, in that there’s something for everyone. There’s fun songs (i.e. “New York City” “Lucid Dream” “All My Friends”) while there’s also the emotional side (i.e. “Montana” “Firebird” “Be Brave”).
One thing I can say about this album that is entirely new with Adam’s work is the personal nature of the overall album. Up until now, he has outright admitted that he has never done something like this. I was afraid this would mean that the lyrics would be more generic and lack the Owl City writing that I love so much, but I was pleasantly surprised, because he does not lose that storytelling beauty that his old albums captured so perfectly. You can tell that his imagination is still at work with this album, and I adore that about it.
Overall, OC fans do not want to miss out on this. It’s a fantastic album that is executed almost flawlessly, and Adam retains what I think most fans love about him: his ability to tell captivating stories.