Before "Fireflies" became one of the most downloaded tracks in iTunes history, Adam Young courted listeners on MySpace. Armed with synthesizers, a home recording setup, the vocal timbre of Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, and a moniker representing his hometown of Owatonna, MN, Young created an alternate world measured not in love and heartbreak but in vivid panoramas of wildlife and landscapes. His lyrics are poetry for a surprising number of souls who, like him, seem to have grown tired of the standard Top 40 fare. Young broke the rules of pop by writing songs not of human emotion but of seahorses, manta rays, and panda bears. And he broke the rules of electronica by using club beats not to push boundaries of innuendo and experimentalism but to clothe wholesome tales in all their glory. The heart of the album is the makeshift tribute "Hello Seattle," but each song has elements of brilliance. Comparisons to the Postal Service fall short; Owl City is more charming, catchy, and lyrical.
Jared Johnson, Rovi