Owl City's 'Mobile Orchestra' Powerfully Sends Catchy Electro-Pop Encouragement with Aloe Blacc, Hanson, & Britt Nicole [REVIEW]

Justin SarachikJul 09, 2015 02:11 PM EDT
M Collective

The creative mind of Owl City (Adam Young) is at it again with the release of the long anticipated Mobile Orchestra featuring guest spots from Aloe Blacc, Britt Nicole, and more. BREATHEcast had the opportunity to hear the album before the release date and fans of this Christian electronic pop artist are in for a real treat.

Mobile Orchestra Tracklisting:
1. Verge (feat. Aloe Blacc)
2. I Found Love
3. Thunderstruck (feat. Sarah Russell)
4. My Everything
5. Unbelievable (feat. Hanson)
6. Bird With a Broken Wing
7. Back Home (feat. Jake Owen)
8. Can’t Live Without You
9. You’re Not Alone (feat. Britt Nicole)
10. This Isn't the End

The album opens up with “Verge” featuring Aloe Blacc and immediately draws the listener in with the simple yet emotional sounding vocals of the two artists to begin the track. The song has an inspirational vibe to it as it encourages people to stand “out on the verge” of the rest of their lives. The chorus of the song moves away from the calming verses and brings in more of a dance-house feel that is sure to get a car bumping or a club moving.

“I Found Love” has an almost movie score like quality to it with the opening orchestral work and deep synth pad and percussion. The airiness of the song elevates the vocals and helps convey that “float away” feeling he is singing about.

The next track, “Thunderstruck” featuring Sarah Russell has an enormous sound to it and really cranks up the EDM. Adam and Sarah together create a certified party starter filled with thoughtful optimism and “breathtaking” musical fortitude. The bridge changes up the pace before breaking down into the fierce outro.

“My Everything” starts with soothing piano chords and an easy listening tap and clap of percussion. Adam’s vocals are extremely vulnerable on this track as he gives his “everything.” The song could easily be stripped down with acoustic guitars and played on a Sunday morning at church as a worship song. The chorus of “Hallelujah, my almighty God divine/ Hallelujah, I am yours and You are mine/ This is all I know how to say” needs no further explanation.

Up next is “Unbelievable,” which features a trio of famous brothers singing along with Owl City in nostalgia-covered song that throws back to the '90s. The intro features a catchy whisper that goes right into the chorus before Adam references his love for C3PO, Spaghetti-O’s, and the Lion King. Hanson joins in on the chorus for the harmony before getting their own solo parts during the next verse. Their topics include the ‘Fresh Prince’, ‘Jurassic Park’, Powerwheels, and the delicious Dr. Pepper Jelly Beans.

“Bird with a Broken Wing” is a fun song that probably comes close to an owl City rock track. The heaviness comes from deep electronic music and bass instead of a gritty guitar, but it works. “It feels like I’m a lone survivor, forgotten in a dark and deadly world/ And on my own, I walk alone to see the Sun again I’d give anything,” he sings as the “bird with a broken wing.” The song just oozes of positivity and changing the outlook of a grave scenario.

“Back Home” featuring Jake Owen is another nice departure from the electric sound for Owl City. This song blends indie rock, country, and pop. Adam sings of “bonfires and fireflies” and the listener almost feels like they are sitting on a porch down south just shooting the breeze. The two musicians come from two totally different realms of music; yet compliment each other so well, making this one of the best and unique collaborations on the entire album.

Following that up is, “Can’t Live Without You,” which returns the album back to the Owl City signature sound. “You put my life back together and I’m not broken anymore” is one of the key lyrics in this song that brings Adam’s faith in God to the forefront leading him exclaim, “I can’t live without.” One of the cooler parts of the music is some of the stuff going on in the background, such as the mini guitar solo licks that dot over the synth during the verses. It is such a small appearance but adds fullness to the song. The fade out at the end that dissipates into a vocal only part is also a nice touch.

“You’re Not Alone” has a quiet gospel tone to it with a soulful piano ballad type feel that opens up quite nicely on the chorus that features Britt Nicole. She enters in on her own for the second chorus and beautifully sings of someone who needs to be “lifted up” by God. You can almost feel the struggle and pain in her voice. The chorus itself should be enough to pick up anyone looking for a lifeline in life – “You rescued me and I believe that God is love and He is all I need from this day forth, for all eternity/I’ll never wander on my own for I am yours until you call me home, close my eyes I can hear You say, you’re not alone.”

Owl City closes out the album Matthew West style with “This isn’t the End.” The song is a narrative of a little girl that paints the picture of a sad girl crying over the suicide of her father. Adam uses stunning imagery to describe the actions, “nobody knew he was dying inside…he promised his family he’d be alright, and then with a gunshot he left them behind.” The overall positive vibes of this album come to a somber halt, but still offer the healing touch of forgiveness and love. The song is wrapped nicely in a warm tone of strings and encouraging lyrics, “It’s just the beginning, this isn’t the end.”

Owl City
(Photo : Owl City)

Overall Owl City's Mobile Orchestra is an intense musical symphony from all fronts that not only tickles the ears, but pulls on the heartstrings with hope, positivity, and encouragement. Adam Young unabashedly expresses his faith and beliefs on these songs, and does so to a mainstream audience without so much of a hint of holding back. Mobile Orchestra is a great release for Owl City, and a sure fire hit with some staying people.

Pick up Mobile Orchestra tomorrow July 11 and pre-order from iTunes here. Also, today on Spotify the official track-by-track commentary was released.

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