Spectator Music presents: the album that changed my life — 'Ocean Eyes'

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 at 5:03 PM
Spectator Music presents: the album that changed my life — 'Ocean Eyes' by Livia Homerski

The first time I heard Owl City’s “Fireflies” in elementary school, I hated it. The twinkly, adorable bloops and bleeps that “Fireflies” opened with was miles away from the bad-attitude ‘80s hair-metal phase I was going through at the time. 

My attention was not brought back to Owl City until I was a freshman in high school, as naive, self-conscious and awkward as ever. I had seen my crush sporting a “Midsummer Station” shirt, and I decided that if I was going to attempt conversation, I was going to have to put my previous loathing of “Fireflies” aside and give Owl City another chance. 

To make a long story short, I never got the boy, but I fell in love with Owl City the moment I heard the soul-eviscerating and ethereal sound explosion in the bridge of “Vanilla Twilight.” 

I was raised listening to a huge variety of music, but electronic pop was uncovered ground, and perhaps that’s why the sounds of Owl City were so alluring. It was my first time hearing something from the genre that was thoughtful, sensitive and nonabrasive. Adam Young knows how to make his production sparkle; every song on “Ocean Eyes” has an inexplicable layer of iridescent, shimmering dust.

The album continued to draw me in through silly, yet poetic hooks and has most definitely inspired some of the quirks in my own writing. Young crafts his lyrics with close attention paid to word choice and cadence, along with how it accentuates the music. He explores themes of first loves, loneliness and depression — all things I could identify with as a young, edgy teen. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about Owl City is that Young is Owl City. He performs as the sole multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer. I have profound respect for artists who can execute it all; I grew up watching my father work as a musician and know firsthand how many hours of labor can go into just one song. 

In addition to sparking an interest in poetry, Owl City was a huge reason behind why I began to play music. I had been singing for quite a long time by then, but was reluctant to play an instrument. Listening and singing along to “Ocean Eyes” was not enough; I wanted accompaniment. 

I thought, “If Adam can play all of his own instruments, write the music and produce it with flying colors, then I can certainly try as well.” I picked up a guitar and have not stopped playing since. 

Admittedly, “Ocean Eyes” does not always come off as the most mature album, but it’s far from elementary electro-pop drivel. Even as I was wallowing in the angst that rages inside every 14-year-old, this album served as a lighthearted reminder that I was not yet too old for silly creativity. 

Five years later, I still get chills when I listen to tracks “Tip of The Iceberg” or “Vanilla Twilight.” Owl City’s “Ocean Eyes” not only got me through some of my most awkward and difficult times as a teenager, but I can still come back to this album and know that “home will always be here.”

Livia Homerski can be reached at musics.spectator@gmail.com.

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