Six years after the commercial breakthrough “Fireflies,” Owl City’s Adam Young has virtually mastered his poppy electronica-lite formula, and aims straight for the mainstream with this earnest, eager-to-please new work. These carefully manicured, melodic songs are much too transparent and lightweight, though, to leave much of an impression. The moony “I Found Love” and bubblegum EDM of “Verge” (“out on the verge of the rest of our lives”) sound overly calculated, seemingly begging to be included in the next film adaptation of a John Green novel. Young’s plaintive voice is built to break hearts, and the 29-year-old’s lyrics featuring wide-eyed awe at love’s wonders (“I’m thunderstruck/I love how you take my breath away”) are, depending on your perspective, either endearing or hopelessly sentimental. His winking evocation of cultural touchstones of the ’90s, “Unbelievable,” goes meta with Hanson guesting, yet somehow never references EMF. Young remains quite open about his Christian faith, and the sincere ballads “You’re Not Alone” and “My Everything” are ultimately the most genuine tracks. (Out Friday)
ESSENTIAL “My Everything”Ken Capobianco can be reached at email@example.com.