Life gets terribly frustrating and upsetting sometimes. Today and this past week has really been one of those times for me. Music, though, really has a way of lifting my mood! And I just discovered the perfect artist that is doing that for me right now: Owl City. His stuff is addictive.
This music is so infectious. The main elements of the songs are techno beats, with drum loops and funky synthesizer sounds, reminiscent of the disco era. Adam Young, who comprises the entire Owl City "band" said that he's been influenced a lot by the European music and has a great respect for the DJs who have the ability to mix music so well.
His lyrics are captivating. So simple, "G-rated" as everyone calls them, but there's a certain profoundness underneath. Adam is a Christian; on his Myspace page he says, "I follow Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. He is my life, my strength, my all.1" Although some people criticize him for not being obvious about it in his songs, I have no trouble believing that. He says that his inspiration comes from his faith. With lyrics like, "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,2" and "I get a thousand hugs, from ten thousand lightening bugs, as they try to teach me how to dance,3" and the thought of being "drenched in vanilla twilight,4" I can't help but think of heaven. The paradoxical thoughts and soul-stirring illustrations just give me shivers, because they allude to a world better than this one.
This guy inspires me. He made his music in his parents basement when he couldn't sleep. He finds it very inspirational to be alone in the calm windowless room, with no producers or recording engineers to interrupt his artistic flow. He has a lot of landscape paintings and "ethereal" nature photography in that room, the ideas of which, he says, creep into his music. Adam worked at Coca-Cola for two years and while he was there, he used the time to dream up the sound and look he wanted to have with his music. "Sometimes working in a monotonous environment can really free up your imagination,5" he says.
So, if you're having a bad day and need it to get better, or even when you're having a good day and want it to be phenomenal, listen to Owl City. There's something in the words "I've never been so afraid, but I don't need a telescope to see that there's hope, and that makes me feel brave,6" mixed with the upbeat sound that just makes the problems in life a little less intense. The cheery melodies go along with the message, so that it's easy to feel that there's hope and not just arbitrarily believe it.
I love how genuine this guy seems, too. In his music and blog posts, he presents this very authentic personality, that hopefully won't be hidden over time, due to his stalker-like fan following. In his promotional photos and music video, his face is never very visible, which I found odd at first, but realized that it's his humble way of showing that it's not about him, because in his fan photos, he has no problem smiling. I think it's just his way of not getting in the way of the music, the gift God gave him.
What's most refreshing is that he doesn't hide that he's a Christian. God is his number one influence, listed along with John Piper, C.S. Lewis and Rachel Joy Scott, the first girl killed at Columbine for being a Christian. As of October 1st, his song Fireflies is #3 on iTunes. Hopefully people in the music industry will notice this and realize that good music does sell and I hope that other Christians trying to succeed in the mainstream music world will realize that you don't have to compromise to be a success.
In one of Adam's blog posts, he writes, "I wake up every morning, hit my knees, and wholeheartedly thank God for allowing me to do what I do. I am endlessly grateful to Him for the time that has been given to me, for allowing me to be apart of people's lives in some small way, for blessing me in ways that are utterly indescribable. I am left speechless. Breathless. Overwhelmed."7 I hope listening to his music helps you feel the same way.
2. Vanilla Twilight, by Owl City, on Ocean Eyes
3. Fireflies, by Owl City, on Ocean Eyes
4. Vanilla Twilight, by Owl City, on Ocean Eyes
6. Tidal Wave, by Owl City, on Ocean Eyes'