Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So About This Owl City Business...

By now I'm sure you've heard about this latest fiasco. Minnesota electronica boy-wonder Adam Young, aka Owl City, released his first major-label album Ocean Eyes in the summer and all of a sudden, many music fans consider it to be a complete ripoff of the Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello project, The Postal Service. What we loved about Postal Service is now hated in Owl City. Gibbard and Young sound a lot a like, but Owl City's music is definitely more poppy. Just listen to hit single "Fireflies". It's so bubblegum. There's a distinct difference between 2003's obscure electronic music to 2009's everywhere electronic music. All in all, fans are pissed. Yet the album has reached number one on Billboard's Top Electronic/Dance chart.

Here's my take: Young's a fan of The Service. He's said so in interviews regarding the backlash. The album is number one. So what's the big deal? It's not like he covered all the Postal Service songs or stole lyrics, though some of the content may be similar. I've heard the record and it's OK. Certainly not ground-breaking like the way Give Up was considered. But it's getting that #1 nod because that's the music that is in now. Rap is on the back burner and rock is barely breathing. Electronic music has shown its prominence in our music culture since the dawn of the millennium and if my assumptions are correct, it's going to get crazier and more popular. I respect Young's music, though it's formula seems to be copied. But in the end, it's not, and nobody can sue. It's just the way it is. It's not like R.E.M. was sued for acquiring jangle pop from The Byrds. Same with Interpol and Joy Division and so many others. Artists mimic other artists. It's called being influenced by. And that's what all this is about: influence. Nobody needs to listen to it. Nobody needs to listen to anything. Take it or leave it.

Owl City - "Fireflies"

P.S. You can check out a ton of crybaby quotes on Stereogum's post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really do agree with this. Pitchfork gave Fireflies a 1, which even for that site was a little much.