Young tells Billboard the odds-on favorite is "Shooting Star," a Stargate-produced co-write with Relient K's Matthew Thiessen that's already made an appearance on the Christian Songs chart, reaching No. 36. And Young acknowledges he isn't sure if that will help, hinder or not at all affect the song's fate in the secular market.
"That's an interesting place to be, or even think about. I think it could go any of those ways," Young acknowledges. "I prefer to stay out of it and let it do what it's going to do. It certainly might be a help. It could be a hindrance, too. It's hard to tell before things happen, so I feel like whatever does happen, it's kind of meant to be that way and I'll just do my own thing."
"Shooting Star" certainly exhibits Young's decision to reach out to other collaborators on "The Midsummer Station" after playing mostly as a one man band on its three predecessors.
"With Stargate, those guys have a track record of their own, and it was so much fun to work with those guys," Young recalls. "I had this old leftover instrumental idea that didn't make the cut for (2009's platinum) 'Ocean Eyes,' and I brought in this minute-and-a-half long demo MP3 to Stargate and said, 'Here's this track. There's something kind of special about it, but it's very middle of the road. I don't know where to take it. What do you guys think?' They kind of worked their magic and we spent a couple days in New York at their studio, which was great. All the lyrics were basically written on the spot during those two days... and then I went back home to my own studio in Minnesota to cut the final (version). I think I tweaked some lyrics here and there to make everything feel better, and then the song was finished."
Owl City is currently touring to support "The Midsummer Station," with the North American leg wrapping up this week and a European trek kicking off Oct. 18 in Paris. Meanwhile, Young has "a handful of ideas and concepts floating around" for the next Owl City project, although he says it's still in its early days. "I think I'm still trying to find my feet as far as what direction I want to take," he says. "I think the more records an artist puts out, the more intentional he or she is about what's coming next. You sort of have a better idea of how to pinpoint where you can go before you sit down to go there. So I'm still trying to figure that out for the next album."
He does anticipate more collaborations because "it was so positive" on "The Midsummer Station" but adds that "I'd certainly love to work again with some of them and have a handful of new songs on whatever is next that are just done as my own solo kind of thing. It's all about the music, and each song is always up in the air for something new."
As for other musical projects such as Sky Sailing, Swimming With Dolphins and Port Blue, Young advises fans not to hold their breath.
"Owl City is keeping me so busy, it's hard to do much else," Young explains. "So the other projects are kind of waiting for me whenever I feel like coming back to them. The beauty of working as a solo artist under all these different monikers is you can always go back and kind of pick up where you left off, so I definitely might revisit those soon, but I don't know how soon."