Ocean Eyes

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Ocean Eyes
Studio album by Owl City
Released July 14, 2009
Recorded 2007–09
Length 42:52
Label Universal Republic
Producer Adam Young
Owl City chronology
Maybe I'm Dreaming
(2008)Maybe I'm Dreaming2008
Ocean Eyes
All Things Bright and Beautiful
(2011)All Things Bright and Beautiful2011
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 studio album by American electronica project Owl City. The album was released on the iTunes Store on July 14, 2009, and in stores on September 1, 2009. It features a photograph of the Burj Al Arab as its album artwork. A vinyl edition was released, followed by a deluxe edition available on January 26, 2010.[1] The deluxe edition incorporates four new tracks, including a remix of "Hello Seattle". The album contains 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 Store. This led to a huge success as the song was downloaded over 650,000 times and helped the album reach No. 2 on the U.S. 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, and reached the top ten in the U.S., peaking at No. 8. That same week, its lead single, "Fireflies", topped the Billboard Hot 100. Eventually, Ocean Eyes climbed to No. 1 on the iTunes Store after the album price was lowered for a limited period of time.

The album contains 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.

Young revealed the origin of the album's title when he said:

I'm from the middle of nowhere in Minnesota you see, so the ocean has always been a curiously dreamy, ethereal, almost romantic thing to me. Over the years I spent a great deal of time with my eyes closed, imagining myself having the most wonderful adventures by the seaside. Doing things one can only do in dusk and glow and midsummer dreams, as if the back of my closed eyelids were a silver screen and I was a sentimental projectionist with hundreds of fanciful reels at hand, all ready to roll. Thus is the reasoning behind the title.

— Adam Young, Adam Young's blog

Critical reception[edit]

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 Observer (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."

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 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 U.S. and on January 8, 2010, in the U.K.[13][14] It climbed the Billboard Hot 100 slowly until reaching No. 7 and leaping to No. 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 U.S. iTunes digital download the week the album had its digital release in the U.S., which could have contributed to the single's massive success. Fireflies continued to make the top 10 most downloaded songs in many countries[15] and reached No.1 on the Official U.K. 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 No. 95. It has since re-entered and re-peaked on the Hot 100 at No. 72 on the week ending January 9, 2010.

"Umbrella Beach" was released as the album's second U.K. 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", Young does not appear in the video, aside from a few photos.

Digital singles[edit]

"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[edit]

All tracks written by Adam Young, except where noted.

Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Cave In"   4:02
2. "The Bird and the Worm"
3. "Hello Seattle" (originally from Of June)   2:47
4. "Umbrella Beach"   3:50
5. "The Saltwater Room" (originally from Maybe I'm Dreaming)   4:02
6. "Dental Care"   3:11
7. "Meteor Shower"   2:14
8. "On the Wing" (originally from Maybe I'm Dreaming)   5:01
9. "Fireflies"   3:48
10. "The Tip of the Iceberg"   3:23
11. "Vanilla Twilight"   3:52
12. "Tidal Wave"
  • Young
  • Thiessen


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


Weekly charts[edit]

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 29
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[edit]

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

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ "December 6th, 2009". Tommy2.net. 2009-12-06. Retrieved 2013-07-07.  Archived 2011-08-09 at WebCite
  2. ^ Menze, Jill (August 4, 2009). "Electro-Pop Act Owl City Takes Off With 'Fireflies'". Billboard. Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Cave In by Owl City". Songfacts.  Archived August 10, 2011, at WebCite
  4. ^ Leahey, Andrew (2009-07-28). "Ocean Eyes - Owl City : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  5. ^ Woolley, Hayden (2010-02-19). "Owl City: Ocean Eyes". Drowned in Sound.  Archived August 10, 2011, at WebCite
  6. ^ "CDs of the week". London Evening Standard. 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  7. ^ Montgomery, Hugh (2010-02-13). "Owl City: Ocean Eyes". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  8. ^ Price, Simon (2010-02-14). "Album: Owl City, Ocean Eyes (Universal Republic)". The Independent. 
  9. ^ Basiliere, Aaron (2009-09-01). "Owl City: Ocean Eyes". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  10. ^ Hoard, Christian (2009-08-20). "Owl City: Ocean Eyes". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  11. ^ Dawson, Adam (2009-08-24). "Owl City: Ocean Eyes". Jesus Freak Hideout.  Archived 2011-08-10 at WebCite
  12. ^ "Ocean Eyes - Owl City". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  13. ^ "link". HMV. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Ocean Eyes". Owl City. 
  15. ^ Moring, Mark (2010-04-20). "Owls, Fireflies, and Jesus". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  16. ^ "Ocean Eyes (Deluxe Edition". Owl City). 
  17. ^ Copsey, Robert (2010-05-18). "Owl City: 'Umbrella Beach'". Digital Spy. 
  18. ^ "Owl City - Ocean Eyes - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  19. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart". ARIA Charts. 2010-02-08. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09. 
  20. ^ "South African Albums Chart - 27/03/2010". SA Albums Chart History Site. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Swedish Singles Chart". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  22. ^ "Best of 2010 - Billboard Top 200". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-12-31.