Mystical. Haunting. Dark. Mysterious. Exciting. Adventurous. Chilling. Interesting. Encouraging. All of these are words that accurately describe Owl City’s new EP: Ultraviolet. Although the EP only contains 4 tracks, this may be the best piece of work that Adam Young has ever released, in my opinion. In a mere 4 songs, he manages to spark imagination, create welling emotions of happiness, sadness, heartbreak, and joy, and most of all, he makes the experience a good ride that feels like a complete, cohesive project. For less than $4, this is truly an amazing EP that should not be missed, and for those skeptical of the sound Owl City projects, it’s a wonderful entry point. A while back, I shared with you the new projects of 2014 that I was looking forward to the most. In that article, I shared that Owl City was planning a string of EPs for 2014, but no names or release dates were announced. Furthermore, I shared my thoughts on his song “Beautiful Times” featuring Lindsey Stirling. As it turns out, “Beautiful Times” is the first track on his new EP, which we now all know is called Ultraviolet since it released on Friday. Overall Summary10152018_10152276457612025_2384074053194619594_n I love that although it’s a short EP, it really sums everything up nicely. It starts with an enjoyable tune, it includes a mainstream song to appeal to the masses, a sorrowful song with a message, and a satisfying, upbeat Christian track to tie it all together. It’s as though the four staples of an Owl City album were squeezed together into a 4-track EP. It doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything, and it doesn’t sound rushed. It has a beautiful flow, and all the tracks mesh perfectly together. Adam Young puts a cohesiveness into his projects that is nearly unparalleled. From the name of the project to the cover art to the sound, themes, and lyrics, everything syncs together for nirvana. Ultraviolet is no different. This time around, Adam seems to stab at Owl City’s darkest sound yet. These tracks are generally at lower keys and pitches than some of his earlier tracks, such as “Dear Vienna” or “Umbrella Beach.” Furthermore, there’s deeper bass and a heavier emphasis on the lower notes. By no measure do I mean that his music is depressing or boring when I say “dark,” rather I mean that it has a deeper uniqueness to it. It’s less carefree and more mature, so to speak. The EP seems to convey a message of hope, and of light in the darkness. Of course, the title Ultraviolet clearly refers to light, which is a topic he oft references in the project (stemming back to my previous point about cohesiveness). Adam is making a plea to those lost in the darkness to hold on, to look for the light, and to know that brighter days are coming. He surely uses the metaphor of light to his advantage. Track-By-Track Breakdown “Beautiful Times” starts the EP off on the right foot, inspiring feeling and emotion in a song that mixes higher pitched, classic Owl City synthesizer with a deep synth and a solid drum beat. Of course, Lindsey Stirling’s violin is featured as well, though not as prominently as it could have been. The song is focused on pointing our issues in our world, but at the same time, it conveys the fact that we still live in a beautiful world. You can read a more in depth analysis in this article.10505579_10152452707492025_6667768628167951797_n From there, we move onto “Up All Night.” This is one of my favorite Owl City songs of all time. Again, Adam masterfully mashes his classic synth with a lower voice and deeper sounds. This track gives me the chills every time I listen to it, and I’ll be honest and say that my chest gets a bit “tingly.” Something in his voice in this song is almost haunting, which is exactly what he’s going for. “Up All Night” is clearly the most mainstream song in the bunch, but it is still injected with an Owl City vibe and a more abstract look at the concept at hand. It’s a love song, true, but it’s about a mystical experience where he “fell in love with a ghost… but there was no one there at all.” Third is “This Isn’t The End.” I almost wanted to cry the first time I heard it, and it’s truly one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard, if not the saddest. Adam strips the song of complicated sounds and focuses on the message (almost like a hymn), which is backed by a simple beat and synth. This song also tackles the most complicated and touchy subject of any Owl City song to date: suicide. This isn’t without reason, however. The message is clearly that although things seem bad, time marches on. What seems like the ending is only the beginning. Loss and healing are a part of life, and learning to deal with it properly is key. This ballad is masterfully done, and the second half of the final verse contains some of the simplest, truest, and most beautiful lyrics I’ve ever heard. I absolutely love this song. The closing track is “Wolf Bite,” which neatly sums up the entire EP with a sound that meshes with the rest of the songs. It’s more upbeat and uplifting than the previous track, and it provides a beautiful emotional high from the low of “This Isn’t The End” without being jarring. Maybe it’s because although the song is upbeat, it still covers a similar topic; being unsure of what to do and searching for help and hope. This is a song that could be featured on Christian radio at any time, as it is clearly a song written to God. Adam is asking if God will be there for help, guidance, and protection in a world of trouble. Again, this track is wonderful, and I will never tire of its pertinent message and beautiful delivery. In Depth As I mentioned earlier, one of the great things about Owl City is the way that he creates a cohesive package with every project. In this scenario, he named the EP Ultraviolet and paired it with an image of the light spectrum, naturally. The tracks cover a whole spectrum of emotions and sounds, from the slow, pointed, simplistic “This Isn’t The End” to the complicated, upbeat, “Wolf Bite.” Furthermore, each of the four songs discusses light and darkness prominently, making even the lyrics and message circle back to the EP’s title.10464243_10152446460462025_6921592356819808975_n For example, in “Beautiful Times,” he sings about a “spark pouring down in the pouring rain and restoring life to the lighthouse,” in the opening line. He goes on to ask, “when did the sky turn black, and when will the light come back?” in the intro to the chorus. In “Up All Night,” he references falling in love “under the moonlight,” in the very first line. In “This Isn’t The End,” he says that it’s just the beginning, even “when the light goes out.” In “Wolf Bite,” he mentions “howling in the moonlight,” and asks if God will be there “if the darkness falls,” and “in the darkest night, when I need your light.” This is so important because it makes all the songs feel as if they belong on this project. It makes everything align, and it creates for a beautiful experience where what I see on the cover is the same thing that my mind envisions when I hear and comprehend the lyrics about the same topic. It makes everything come full circle, and this is unlike anything that I’ve ever heard any other artist to. I could go on for another thousand words or two abotu how majestic this EP is, but I’ll let you hear it for yourself. Head to anywhere you get music, do yourself a favor, and buy Ultraviolet. As Adam Young points out, for $3.96, it’s cheaper than a drink at Starbucks, a 64 pack of crayons, a frozen lasagna meal, or a footlong from Subway. I mean, let’s put this into perspective. Trade a single coffee to buy yourself the EP that will entertain you and mystify you for weeks, months, or years to come. It’s a pretty good deal if you ask me. Thanks For Reading Matt

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5 thoughts on “Owl City Ultraviolet EP Review

  1. I like the way you went deep into the titles and the meanings of the albums.
    I love any owl city review that’s positive.
    5 stars 🙂

    Like

  2. Hey! I run a blog solely about Owl City and I’m going to create a post linking to your review. Thanks for this! Very good and detailed review.
    -Aidan

    Like

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