The Genius of Adam Young


I mentioned in my Switchfoot post that, besides listening to Switchfoot, I’ve been listening to some Owl City. I think some is an under-exaggeration, because I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Owl City over the past few days.

I haven’t been listening to Owl City for long, only about a year. Not even that long really, because I discovered Twenty One Pilots at the same time and fell in love with them so much that I haven’t really listened to a lot of Owl City since July. Then, maybe two months ago, I started listening to Owl City again and I really fell in love with it. Owl City (A.K.A Adam Young), is so upbeat and positive. The songs are colorful and the lyrics are either of dreamlike impossibility or have a deeper meaning than they seem to at first.

Here are some of the lyrics from the album Ocean Eyes:


Are you there, or are you just a decoy dream in my head?

Am I home, or am I simply tumbling all alone? – On the Wing


It hurts just to wake up, whenever you’re wearing thin

Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in

The end is uncertain and 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 ~ Tidal Wave


Home will always be here, unseen, out of sight

Where I disappear and hide ~ Umbrella Beach


Home is a boxcar and it’s so far out of reach

Hidden under umbrella beach ~ Umbrella Beach


You and I left our troubles far behind

But I still have just one more question on my mind

For all my pals who live in the oceans and the seas

With fronds like these, well,

Who needs anemones? ~ The Bird and the Worm


As many times as I blink my eyes

I’ll think of you tonight

I’ll think of you tonight ~ Vanilla Twilight


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

But I swear I won’t forget you

Oh if my voice could reach back through the past

I’d whisper in your ear:

“Oh darling, I wish you were here” ~ Vanilla Twilight


We drank the great lakes like cold lemonade.

And both got stomach aches sprawled out in the shade.

So bored to death you held your breath and I tried not to yawn.

You make my frown turn upside down and now my worries are gone. ~ Hot Air Balloon

😀 These lyrics make me smile.

I listened through many Owl City albums, all of which are great. Then I discovered something AMAZING. Adam Young started a new project this February. He is creating and releasing an original soundtrack each month. If you want to read more in-depth about it you can check out the link above.

Yesterday, I went to YouTube and decided that I was going to listen to one of these scores. I chose the first one (because that’s who I am), Apollo 11. I started the first song and I was immediately swept away into a story that was perfectly told without words. My big take away from this score is that it was so… cool! It’s just an awesome soundtrack. With the bass and electric guitar taking center stage it really sounds like I’m in a rocket ship exploring the frontier of space. It’s ethereal and beautiful. I think Adam was born to make this kind of music, because he does it masterfully. My favorite track would probably have to be CSM Dockingbecause it’s so awesome!! 

Apollo 11 was just the beginning, because Adam has made four soundtracks so far. As  fast as I could, I listened to the others: RMS Titanic, The Spirit of St. Louis, and The Ascent of Everest. I went in order and listened to the March soundtrack; RMS Titanic. As soon as I saw the title I knew that this soundtrack would be heart-wrenching. It was.

Note: I listened to the film score for the 1997 movie Titanic, composed by James Horner, to see if the two soundtracks sounded similar. They really don’t at all. Adam’s interpretation of the Titanic tragedy is so eerie, while the James Horner soundtrack  is much more, I don’t know, dramatic I guess, and really Celtic sounding. I enjoyed the James Horner soundtrack. I really liked the use of the Celtic sounds and themes. It was good. Very 90s hahaha. XD

However, as good as Horner’s soundtrack was, I love Adam’s creativity in going a different direction. I can imagine how hard it would be to come up with a creative soundtrack for something that has been done so many times before, but he does it. The soundtrack does such an amazing job of telling the story of the Titanic without words. I think it does the job even better than the previous film score! The moment I started listening to the first track, Southampton, I was swept away in the story. The second track, Boarding, is full of the excitement of boarding that giant, luxurious, “unsinkable”,  ship. Another thing I loved about this soundtrack is that there was absolutely no foreshadowing, which I  would really hate in this soundtrack. It was in the moment; exciting when it needed to be, spine-chilling when it needed to be, and heart-wrenching when it needed to be. All throughout the soundtrack I was on a journey. I was on the Titanic. I was watching it sink. It was a beautiful feeling.

My favorite track, without a doubt, is Lifeboats.  This track is…gorgeous. It’s a piano track, until about halfway through when the hymn Nearer My God to Thee begins to play on a violin and it’s lovely. I don’t usually force people to listen to something, but right now I order you, to listen to this song. It’s only two minutes long. Please, listen to it and tell me what you think. Actually, just listen to the whole soundtrack. It’s all amazing.

The next Soundtrack The Spirit of St. Louis is definitely different than RMS Titanic. It’s much more electronic based. The Spirit of St. Louis tells the story of Charles Lindbergh‘s nonstop flight from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927. The soundtrack encapsulates the feeling of adventure and daring that Lindbergh must have felt as he was in the air. It tells the story so well that I feel like I know the story, without actually knowing very much about it. Again, this soundtrack takes me on a journey, this time over the Atlantic ocean with Lindbergh. Now I want to know more about this man who won the Orteig Prize and a Medal of Honor for crossing the Atlantic, solo, without stopping.

My favorite track is probably Wheels DownIt’s my favorite track for several reasons. A) It reminds me of Owl City, because it is based (I believe) off of a track called Seagulls by Port Blue, a project made by Adam to create dreamscapes. Yes, you could argue that Wheels Down doesn’t really fit on this soundtrack, because it wasn’t really made for it, but it sounds like it does belong and that’s why I love it so much. 🙂

Last, but not least: The Ascent of Everest. The soundtrack for this month is shorter than the other three, but just as beautiful. This one also has electronic elements in the forefront, but also some awesome bass-lines humming away in the background. Awesome. This soundtrack is about the first two men to make the journey to the highest point on earth. The tracks feel windy and cold, and dreamlike. It really transports me to Everest. Adam’s creativity with this soundtrack is definitely present. It’s definitely not how would have composed it, but I like how he made it feel modern. If the soundtrack for the Titanic had been like this it would not have worked. At all. But for this soundtrack it does.

I’m not sure what my favorite track on this one would be. I haven’t really listened to it enough, but I’ll choose Base CampThe softness of this track is awesome and I love, love, love the bass!

I think it’s safe to say two things now.

  1. I LOVE Adam Young
  2. I LOVE these Soundtracks
  3. I will be reviewing Adam’s next next soundtrack sometime next month (they come out on the first of each month).

I hope you will take my advise and listen to these soundtracks. All the information about this project can be found here. Enjoy!

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