Ocean Eyes

Ocean Eyes
Ocean Eyes
Studio album by Owl City
Released July 14, 2009
Recorded 2008
Genre Pop, Indietronica, New wave
Synth-pop, Alternative
Length 42:52
Label Universal Republic
Producer Adam Young
Owl City chronology
Maybe I'm Dreaming
Ocean Eyes
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Singles from Ocean Eyes
  1. "Fireflies"
    Released: July 14, 2009
  2. "Vanilla Twilight"
    Released: January 26, 2010
  3. "Umbrella Beach"
    Released: May 17, 2010

Ocean Eyes is the second full-length album by electropop act Owl City. It was made available for download on July 14, 2009, on iTunes, and on September 1, 2009 it was released in stores with a photograph of the Burj Al Arab as its album artwork. A vinyl edition and a two-disc Deluxe Edition of the album was also released. The Deluxe Edition was released on January 26, 2010,[1] and features three new tracks and a remix of "Hello Seattle". The album features guest vocals by Relient K vocalist, Matt Thiessen, on the songs "Fireflies", "Cave In", "The Bird and the Worm" and "Tidal Wave".



On July 14, 2009, the song "Fireflies" was chosen as the Single of the Week by the iTunes music store. This led to a huge success as the song was downloaded over 650,000 times and helped the album reach #2 on the US store. This success also led to the record company pushing back the release date of the physical copy of the album from July 28, 2009 to September 1, 2009.[2] Adam Young, the founder of Owl City told The Sun that "Cave In" was especially dear to his heart as "that song captures in just a few words, all my hopes and dreams."[3] The album sold approximately 18,000 copies digitally in its debut week. The album reached the top ten in the US peaking at #8. The same week its lead single "Fireflies" topped the Billboard Hot 100. Eventually, Ocean Eyes climbed to number one on iTunes after the album price was lowered for a limited period of time.

The album has slightly different versions of songs from previous albums, namely "Hello Seattle" from Of June and "On The Wing" and "The Saltwater Room" from Maybe I'm Dreaming.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[4]
Drowned in Sound 6/10 stars [5]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)
Evening Standard 3/5 stars [6]
The Guardian (mixed) [7]
Independent (unfavorable) [8]
NME 7/10 stars
PopMatters 5/10 stars [9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars [10]
Jesus Freak Hideout 4.5/5 stars [11]

Ocean Eyes has received mixed reviews from critics, based on an aggregate [12] Metacritic score of 53/100, indicating "Mixed or average reviews". The album gained some positive reviews, including Entertainment Weekly which gave it a B+ and said that it was filled with memorable choruses and that the highlight song was "Dental Care". Jesus Freak Hideout also was favorable towards the album; the review highlighted the album's musical style, saying that it had "dreamy lyrics and open soundscapes."

However, on the other hand, Rolling Stone claimed Ocean Eyes as "disappointing", only awarding it 2/5 stars. The magazine especially criticized the slower songs, saying that forgettable tracks like "On the Wing" were "just mush". Allmusic also gave the album an a total of 2.5/5, stating "Ocean Eyes ultimately winds up too sugary for its own good, though, having focused on dessert without giving its listeners any sort of meaty, substantive entrée. A handful of ballads add some sense of variety to the album's pace, but Owl City is largely a vehicle for the one song Adam Young knows how to make."


"Fireflies" was released as the album's first single on July 14, 2009 in the US and on January 8, 2010 in the UK.[13][14] It climbed the Billboard Hot 100 slowly until reaching #7 and leaping to #1 the following week. "Fireflies" topped the Billboard Chart for two non-consecutive weeks, as well as topping the iTunes Top 100 Chart for several weeks. "Fireflies" was originally released as a free US iTunes digital download the week the album had its digital release in the US, which could have contributed to the single's massive success. Even now that Fireflies is three years old, it continues to make the top 10 most downloaded songs in many contries.[15] "Fireflies" also reached No.1 on the Official UK Singles Chart on January 24, 2010.

"Vanilla Twilight" was released as the album's second US single on January 26, 2010 to radio, the same day that the deluxe edition of Ocean Eyes hit stores.[16] During the same week that "Fireflies" topped the Hot 100, "Vanilla Twilight" debuted at #95. It has since re-entered and re-peaked on the Hot 100 at #72 on the week ending January 9, 2010.

"Umbrella Beach" was released as the album's second UK single on May 17, 2010. "Umbrella Beach" was originally released promotionally on November 19, 2009, preceding the release of the official first single "Fireflies." An exclusive remix created by Kenny Hayes is included on the single release.[17] There is also a music video available for it. Unlike "Fireflies" and "Vanilla Twilight", Adam does not appear in the video aside from a few photos, which may be disappointing to some.

Digital singles

"Strawberry Avalanche" and "Hot Air Balloon" were released as digital-only promotional singles in June 2009, leading up to the release of the album, though they did not appear on the album.

"Sunburn" was released as a digital-only promotional single for the soundtrack of 90210 in October 2009, and it was also released free to people who bought "Ocean Eyes" during a span of several weeks of December 2009.

Track listing

Standard edition

All songs written and composed by Adam Young, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cave In"     4:02
2. "The Bird and the Worm"   Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen 3:27
3. "Hello Seattle"     2:47
4. "Umbrella Beach"     3:50
5. "The Saltwater Room" (featuring Breanne Duren)   4:02
6. "Dental Care"     3:11
7. "Meteor Shower"   Adam Young, Cody Maga 2:14
8. "On the Wing"     5:01
9. "Fireflies" (featuring Matthew Thiessen of Relient K)   3:48
10. "The Tip of the Iceberg"     3:23
11. "Vanilla Twilight"     3:52
12. "Tidal Wave" (featuring Matthew Thiessen) Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen 3:10
iTunes bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Hello Seattle" (Remix - Also featured on Amazon mp3 album)   5:53
14. "If My Heart Was a House"     4:06

Deluxe edition

All songs written and composed by Adam Young. 

Disc 2
No. Title Length
1. "Hot Air Balloon"   3:35
2. "Butterfly Wings"   2:54
3. "Rugs from Me to You"   1:27
4. "Sunburn"   3:47
5. "Hello Seattle" (Remix) 5:53
6. "If My Heart Was a House"   4:06
7. "Strawberry Avalanche"   3:18
8. "Fireflies (Adam Young Remix)" (exclusively on iTunes) 3:12


Owl City
  • Adam Young – vocals, keyboards, guitars, drums, producer, engineer
Additional musicians and production
  • Breanne Duren – additional vocals on tracks 5 & 8
  • Austin Tofte – additional vocals on track 8
  • Matthew Thiessen – additional vocals on tracks on 1, 2, 9, 12 & 14, production on tracks 2, 9, 12
  • Melisa Morgan – additional vocals on tracks 7 & 10
  • Jolie Lindholm – additional vocals on track 7
  • Phil Peterson – cello on track 1, 4, 8, 9 & 10
  • Steve Bursky – producer, management
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Christopher Kornmann – art direction
  • Imran Khan – artwork
  • John Goodmanson – audio mixer

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (2009–10) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[19] 14
Canadian Albums Chart 18
Denmark Albums Chart 36
Dutch Albums Chart 42
French Albums Chart 88
Irish Albums Chart 16
Japanese Albums Chart 17
German Albums Chart 7
New Zealand Albums Chart 5
South African Albums Chart[20] 7
Swedish Albums Chart[21] 39
Swiss Albums Chart 93
UK Albums Chart 7
U.S. Billboard 200 8
U.S. Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Alternative Albums 1

Year-end charts

Chart (2010) Position
US Billboard 200 32[22]



  1. ^ http://tommy2.net/content/?p=11515 Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  2. ^ Menze, Jill (August 4, 2009). "Electro-Pop Act Owl City Takes Off With 'Fireflies'". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/news/electro-pop-act-owl-city-takes-off-with-1003999922.story#/news/electro-pop-act-owl-city-takes-off-with-1003999922.story. Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  3. ^ Cave In Songfacts Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  4. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1616554
  5. ^ link Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  6. ^ link
  7. ^ link
  8. ^ link
  9. ^ link
  10. ^ link
  11. ^ Jesus Freak Hideout Review Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  12. ^ Ocean Eyes: Metacritic
  13. ^ http://hmv.com/hmvweb/navigate.do?pPageID=1530 Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  14. ^ http://www.owlcitymusic.com/music_d.aspx?pid=12179
  15. ^ http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/music/interviews/2010/adamyoung-april10.html
  16. ^ url=http://www.owlcitymusic.com/music.aspx
  17. ^ http://www.radio1.gr/music/forthcoming_uk_singles.htm Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite
  18. ^ http://acharts.us/album/47116
  19. ^ Australian album peak position Archived 10 August 2011 at WebCite ARIAcharts.com.au Retrieved on January 10, 2010.
  20. ^ "South African Albums Chart - 27/03/2010". SA Albums Chart History Site. Archived from the original on August 10 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/1312942514286309. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  21. ^ Swedish Singles Chart Sverigetopplistan
  22. ^ "Best of 2010 - Billboard Top 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. http://www.billboard.com/#/charts-year-end/top-billboard-200?year=2010. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 

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