Owl City – Vitamin Sea (Single)

Sky Harbor Entertainment

Release Date: March 3rd 2023

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Owl City– Vitamin Sea (Single) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Vitamin Sea

Does Adam Young, songwriter, and entertainer extraordinaire, need any introduction? Nope, I don’t think so- his song “Fireflies” under the popular moniker Owl City, has garnered him fans aplenty, as he rose up to fame and stardom very quickly since 2009. But just in case you are unsure of who he is (although he’s been around for 13 years or so as an artist…), let me give you a quick rundown. The shy, introverted, young, multi-instrumentalist and insomniac, who was playing with electronic sounds in his parent’s basement in his teens and early twenties, has now become a musical mainstream phenomenon, because of the aforementioned track. “Fireflies” is the song that skyrocketed to No. 1 on many charts worldwide in 2009, and the music video features Adam experimenting with instruments and sounds in his bedroom- with strange objects flying around. Though many have differing viewpoints on the song and the video, let’s move on, shall we?

After an immensely popular sophomore album Ocean Eyes (in 2010) that had the world talking (his debut album unfortunately flies by under the radar, who can remember it?), Adam released two more equally memorable and much-loved albums (All Things Bright And Beautiful and The Midsummer Station). And after dropping a mini album, the Ultraviolet EP in 2014, as well as a quasi-worship project Mobile Orchestra in 2015, and an autobiographical orchestral album Cinematic in 2018; we are now presented with something new from Adam. Adam loves to ‘go dark’ in between releases- maybe to reignite the creativity and maybe it’s part of his process. Whatever the reason, from 2018 til now, Adam has been sporadic on social media at best- but he resurfaced late last year to unveil his collaboration with Neural Cloud for his pop single “Up To The Cloud”; reminding us that Adam Young isn’t slowing down any time soon. This song, though perhaps not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, is still vintage Owl City, and this melody had (and still has) me anticipating whatever comes next from Adam. Known for combining fun, breezy, quirky and nonsensical electropop as well his deep and meaningful ballads and spiritual themed tracks filled with imagery and double or triple layered material; “Up To The Cloud” is no different- you can read our review of the single here.

This past month though, Adam is back, again under his moniker Owl City. He released his single “Kelly Time” this past January, as well as “Adam, Check Please” in February. It was all culminating to the release of the brand-new album Coco Moon at the end of this month… and seeing that the release was so soon, there was no way I would review another Owl City single, right? Wrong! That was before I heard “Vitamin Sea”! With “Kelly Time” sung from the perspective of Wilson the volleyball in Cast Away, and sung to Tom Hanks’ character about their friendship while being stuck for 4 years on a deserted island; the melancholy 5-minute ballad speaks about feelings of isolation, contemplation, reflection, heartache and hope, as Adam also delves deep into the concepts of forgiveness and sticking by someone through thick and thin. Structurally, this is an incredibly weird Owl City song, but it’s still incredibly poignant, heartfelt, and catchy. It takes a while to appreciate this song, but one it gets you, there’s nothing better than to press repeat and listen to this epic artistic masterpiece. “Adam, Check Please” is another brilliant masterpiece from one of today’s most gifted songwriters; with the song being about Adam’s first job, and the song lyrically goes deeper than that, as Adam speaks about doing whatever it is that you do to your very best- with passion, with intention and with a zeal for life. As Adam recounts that he loved his job despite the mundaneness of it all because it was where God had placed him in that moment in time, so too should we be grateful and thankful for the little moments in our lives, even when they are menial jobs, and especially so- because more often than not, we will learn something about others and about ourselves through the things we think are insignificant. Yet these two are deep and introspective songs… and “Vitamin Sea” is that fun, jovial Owl City that we’ve all come to know and love. It’s about celebrating life in the sunshine and living every day to the fullest- and what better way for Adam to sing about the sun that to film a music video in the snow? It’s a quirky yet totally Owl City kind of song!

It’s about the everyday kind of hustle of normal life just has its crazy way of getting heavy over time and it weighs in my shoulder like it can get crazy and it’s just about those moments when I realize that this is going on. I realize I’m running out in fumes and look at myself in the mirror and I just go, ‘Whoa, I need a break right now.’

A vacation to me can mean almost anything and it can be almost everywhere. But I think maybe my favourite scenario in this case is one where I’m sitting back and I’m relaxing by the ocean. I’ve been really fascinated by the ocean for as long as I can remember. I’ve written a lot of songs about it, so all I need to be happy like I can forget my troubles, I can decompress, and I can unwind. I just need some sunglasses and a chair on the beach.

When I was writing this song, I was imagining that a vacation could be something like a daily supplement, something you could take in a capsule, in the morning like a vitamin but something that you could also be a deficient in. It’s taking me a lot of years, but I’ve figured out that I really need to check in with myself every so often and figure out on how to de-stress because if I don’t, I feel like I’m gonna explode.

I found myself in Hawaii for the first time and I was blown away, back when I was 10 years old, I got a Nintendo 64 game for Christmas called Wave Race 64. It says jet ski racing game and instilled a fascination of the ocean in me especially tropical settings because it was so different than I where I was from. When I made it to Hawaii years later, I remember immediately off the plane feeling like I was in a paradise that I’d only experienced in the video game like it just become real to me. I was 22 years old, I was walking down the sidewalk toward Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. A place I’d never imagined that I would have opportunity to visit. I passed by a Burger King and what did I hear playing out of the overhead speakers? ‘Vanilla Twilight’ by Owl City and I just felt so grateful and blown away and it was yet another magic moment.

That’s ‘Vitamin Sea’. I admit that I’m kind of a workaholic so when I get into something, I really get into it and it’s tough to pry me away from it. It took me a long time to figure that out and no matter how fulfilling whatever I’m working on is to me. Sometimes I just want to lay that down and go somewhere else, somewhere that I can just exhale for a while. The nice thing is that I can do that really anywhere, but again, maybe my favourite place in the world is on a beach in Hawaii where the only thing there is to worry about is my tan line.

What does the future hold for Owl City next? After the epic 18 track album in 2018 (that plays out like a soundtrack for a movie), and after the two lead singles from this new album, what direction will Adam head into next? Is Adam Young still going to be singing about movies and key moments in his life, or more explicitly about his faith in Jesus Christ? Whatever the case, I’m still going to listen to his music, and I will encourage all of you to as well. Cinematic is a very unique album, and these new singles (5 years in the making?), are special tracks as well. Is Owl City releasing a new album in 2023? Yes, because Coco Moon is coming in a couple of weeks. So until that time, let’s bask in the knowledge that Adam is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter. Let’s be amazed that we all have gotten to experience the past few Owl City albums in real time. Isn’t that wonderful?

Score: 5/5

RIYL:  Relient K, Switchfoot, Needtobreathe, Brooke Fraser, Cimorelli, Avril Lavigne, Lifehouse

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