While I prepare for my imminent verdict of Madonna’s latest OPUS, I thought I’d venture down memory lane and pick out an unloved single from breakout star / one-hit-wonder Owl City.
In the UK at least, this was the followup to the phenomenally successful transatlantic #1 Fireflies. Seemed to buck a trend with a naively bright and fluffy pop song, with some sprinklings of electronica. Who was this man, where did he come from? Is he a group? Well these answers weren’t really answered with the second single, and altogether more uptempo dance song existing outside the masses of Guetta-this and Taio-that.
I really love it, and the album was maybe lacking in more hit singles (to be honest, if this wasn’t a hit, there was no hope for the rest) but it was a gorgeously coherent, pleasant and enjoyable album that I would recommend to anyone weary of ‘edgy’ pop music, it’s just childishly warm-hearted and lovable. Followup “All things bright and beautiful” was essentially more of the same, without any obvious hit singles. Oddly that didn’t get boring for me, I still loved it.
Anyway, Umbrella Beach bursts into life at full speed, a dizzyingly colourful synth affair. His breathy simple vocals are much the same as they were in Fireflies, it’s just easy on the ear. But this time you’ve got that lovely pacey beat that knows when to let things breathe for a moment and rush back in.
Lyrically, as with a lot of his songs, it ends up somewhere between nonsense, poetry and just a load of phrases that just sound nice. Usually he just throws a few evocative nouns together (see songs Umbrella Beach, Vanilla Twilight, Strawberry Avalanche etc)
Just drive around on a sunny Spring day and try not to be uplifted somehow. That plinky-plonky middle-eight going in that synthtastic final leg really makes my day. He may still be a bit of a mystery to me, leading to a bit of a fascination, but I really think this is a brilliant single. If nobody else wants it, then I’ll have it all to myself!