Owl City has made a song with Carly Rae Jepsen; the tenure of “Call Me Maybe” has been rescinded.
OK, that’s a bit harsh. For everyone who thinks “Fireflies” is treacly, there’s someone who helped make it a No. 1 hit. And after the initial surprise and side-eye, the collaboration makes sense. If Carly Rae Jepsen’s music was exactly the same, sugar and all, except with a male vocalist, that vocalist might sound a lot like Adam Young. And despite “Call Me Maybe” ringing through every speaker and down every alley of the Internet, Carly Rae Jepsen’s still extremely new–most people outside Canada have only known she exists for six months at most. How do new artists gain traction? Guest spots. As for Owl City, his upcoming album The Midsummer Station has megaproducer Stargate working on it among others–compare to debut album Ocean Eyes, produced mostly by Young and his Postal Service fandom–so you can assume it’s a play for the radio.
There, that’s the answer to your first question (“Why does this exist?!“) As for your second question (“But is it actually good?“), listen below.
Unsurprisingly, considering the bucketload of extra personnel dumped onto The Midsummer Station, “Good Time” sounds nothing like old Owl City (a statement that’ll probably most readers either indignant or curious.) What it sounds like, instead, is everything else: synths and chords lapping at one another, steady as a wave pool or David Guetta a wordless chorus from Ke$ha or Britney or Katy Perry; on the bridge, preset claps from everything and the crowd shouts from “Last Friday Night.” You know already whether you love, hate or are sick of this. The only way this could possibly sway you is toward the last.
The only extra variables are the two vocalists: Adam Young, who is sounding remarkably like somebody from 3OH!3 these days even before he sings things like “I’m in if you’re down to get down tonight,” and Carly Rae Jepsen, who if “Good Time” is any indication might be pop’s most consistently likable vocalist. Every line she sings is set aflutter. But she did that already and prettier on all of Curiosity, let alone That Song, and no matter what you think of Young’s old material, it was more interesting than this. It suits neither’s strengths to sing “Good Time”‘s pseudo-jingles like “it’s always a good time” and critic-gimme lines like “we don’t even have to try.” You wonder what it would’ve been like if they did.