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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the one-man band behind Owl City plays the perfect gentleman on this LP. Not only is there no violence or sex to speak of, but the romantic imagery is also innocent and free of any bad behavior or heaviness. The album's light-hearted, self-effacing approach to life should sit well with tweens and teens and offer them a unique insight into life's big dramas and little hassles.
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What's the story?
OCEAN EYES is the second full-length album from Owl City, a group which is far from a city; it's actually only one guy, Adam Young. This twentysomething started making his synth-pop music from his parents' basement with the help of electronic beats and digital music samples, and has become somewhat of an electronic Cinderella story. Owl City could in fact be the poster child for modern music success, owing not only its origins to computer-generated sounds, but also its success thanks to a loyal MySpace following. iTunes chose "Fireflies" as a "Song of the Week," and the album eventually rose to top the digital store's charts.
Is it any good?
Owl City's sound is definitely not something you hear everyday. The melodies are light, almost effervescent, and the lyrics are at times irresistibly charming ("Please take a long look through your textbook 'cause I'm history"). The man behind the music, Adam Young, takes on everyday minutia, like a trip to the dentist: "I've been to the dentist a thousand times so I know the drill." There's no denying this nice guy knows how to turn a phrase. But Young sometimes falls too far in love with his own cleverness, with some cringe-worthy lines like "with friends like these who needs anemones," and repetitive hooks that fall more in the realm of TV jingles than pop songs. But Young's sincere originality can't be denied, and for those that don't mind a little extra-sweetness on their playlist, the album is definitely worth a listen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about independent artists. How has the Internet helped new artists to gain exposure? What do you think of technology being used to create music? Are there more options available now for people to express themselves and share their creations with millions of others, thanks to the Internet?
These songs have a very respectful, tender approach to romantic relationships. Do you think guys are generally encouraged to show their softer, sensitive side? Can you think of some male artists who offer up caring, responsible role models? What about others that have made a name for themselves by objectifying women? What do these role models say to boys about their self image?
Talk about young love and how to handle relationships that move too quickly. Does a crush have to turn into a serious relationship? What social pressures are out there to make you feel like a relationship is necessary to be happy? Does the music you listen to affect how you feel about love?