Recently, an unexpected duo hit the music scene: the song “Good Time” –a collaboration between the electronica one-man music act Owl City and “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen.
As the first single for Owl City’s new album, Midsummer Station (to be released Aug. 21st of this summer), “Good Time” shows the most commercial promise since Owl City’s biggest hit “Fireflies” in 2009. It has the basics of a lot of today’s mainstream music: an upbeat dance-a-long rhythm, a catchy chorus that people will be singing at the bar or on the dance floor, and the urging of audiences to put their hands up if they want to party. However, it is a stark contrast to Owl City’s past work and, most likely, a rude awakening to the music act’s most faithful followers.
Owl City has built its repertoire on its electronic sound and lyrics that stray away from most of the hits heard on the radio. Its previous hits have been known for its simple beats and poetic, yet abstract, lyrics. Past lyrics have brought listeners into “deep blue seas of paper mache” (“The Yacht Club”), “drenched in Vanilla Twilight” (“Vanilla Twilight”), and to places where “there’s a lot of vegetables out there/That crop up for air” (“Honey and the Bee”). These illustrative lines –panned by some critics for being too vague– left fans in awe and wondering what Adam Young, the man behind Owl City, truly meant.
“Good Time” leaves no room for such curiosity. The lyrics are straight forward and generic, with a repetitive chorus singing, “It’s always a good time.” While the electropop sound is still present and undeniably Owl City, the main melody and a group chanting and singing in the background make the song perfect for dance parties rather than contemplation and wandering discussions on long car rides that music project usually elicits. Admittedly, it’s catchy, but it will most likely get stuck in your head in the annoying way “Call Me Maybe” and “Friday” did. Overall, it lacks the usual depth of Owl City’s other tracks and the inclusion of Jepsen makes Young look like a sellout.
The song unequivocally moves in a different direction from Young’s previous work –which might be a good thing. Listening to Owl City’s 2011 album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, all the songs easily sound the same until Shawn Chrystopher starts rapping in the single “Alligator Sky.” Collaborations like the one in “Alligator Sky” and this new song with Jepsen, helps pace Owl City’s albums and add some variety. Additionally, “Good Time” exhibits the versatility of Jepsen’s voice. Her vocals show a distinct sound that still meshes well with Owl City’s eclectic beats. It’s a balanced follow-up piece to keep “Call Me Maybe” fans happy while asking those who mock the viral song to give the singer a second chance.
While fans should cross their fingers that the new album Midsummer Station is not filled with tracks similar to “Good Time,” this song is a fresh change. While it follows the mainstream trend of partying, it portrays a simplistic celebratory message that is more wholesome than “YOLO.” It could be 2012’s version of “Last Friday Night” without the mess and unflattering Facebook photos afterwards. All in all, it was a good move for both Owl City and Jepsen that will keep followers on their toes for these artists’ next hits.
— Katherine Simeon