All Things Bright and Beautiful

Listening to an Owl City song is like speed-eating a box of Girl Scout cookies: You go from tasty to pukey in minutes. Like his 2009 hit, Ocean Eyes, Minnesota native Adam Young's third disc is all syrupy Ben Folds-meets-Ben Gibbard vocal moves, gushy poesy and synth melodies like pink fireworks. "My rock-candy passion is bittersweet and armed to the teeth/'Cause she would rather fall in chocolate than fall in love," he sings. Young is especially fixated on romance as space travel - "Kamikaze" has a clip of Ronald Reagan speaking after the Challenger crash. It's fitting: The Gipper would get this pillow-brained romanticism.

Listen to "The Yacht Club" (feat. Lights):

Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos

From The Archives Issue 1133: June 23, 2011