When it came time to record Adam Young's third album as Owl City, the Minnesota native set himself up for the following challenge: "Over the past several years I'd become fascinated with trying to capture magic in a jar through simple, concise pop songs," he says, "I saw it as a great challenge to try and come up with catchy, unique, and memorable songs because it was a new method of songwriting I'd never approached before. I believe artists should never look back or repeat themselves and this was a new frontier for me."
To create the instantly memorable, feel-good moments he envisioned (like first single "Shooting Star"), Young sought out co-writers and outside producers for the first time, enlisting his friend Marr Theissen (Relient K), Stargate (Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa), and the team of Josh Crosby, Nate Campany, and Emily Wright (the latter known for her work with Dr. Luke). "I made my first two records on my own without any outside help and learned that it's easy to over-think what you do by allowing yourself to become too emotionally invested in what you are doing." Young says, "Initially, I was anxious about letting other people co-pilot the solo endeavor I'd always played close to the chest, but it was exhilarating not having 100 percent control over what happened. In the end for me, it's all about trying new things as an artist. Working with other writers taught me to care about a song as a piece of art created to reach people versus worrying about getting the final say of having my own way. Collaborating kills off a lot of ego and pride issues and that's a really healthy thing."
The process enabled Young to tap into collective human experiences in his lyrics and connect on a larger scale. "I'm known for creating music based on whimsical ideas and concepts from my own headspace, and another set of parameters I set for myself was to write about things people might relate to better," he says. "Dementia" documents the "crazy, schizophrenic thoughts and feelings" Young dealt with in the wake of the success of his chart-topping 2009 platinum debut album Ocean Eyes, while songs like "Shooting Star" pulsates with euphoric dance beats that will appeal to fans of house, trance, dub-step, and other styles of EDM. "I grew up listening to dance music and I've always wanted to make a dance record," Young says, "European dance music has so much influence over pop right now, so it made sense to me. I admire a lot of the great trance DJs of the past ten years, guys like Armin van Buuren, ATB, Above & Beyond, Tiesto, and Ferry Corsten." Other tracks follow on the most rock-inspired sounds that Young began to explore on his second album, 2011's All Things Bright and Beautiful. "Dementia" even features guest vocals by one of Young's heroes, blink-182's Mark Hoppus.
The Shooting Star EP featuring lead single "Shooting Star" will be released by Universal Republic on May 15, 2012, with the full-length album to be released Summer 2012.