Owl City, "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
At the beginning of his third album, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," Adam Young (aka Owl City) sings, "Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there." And the set certainly resides in a different kind of pop universe. The dozen tracks of effervescent, shimmering, faith-based synth pop blend Young's adenoidal, Warped tour-ready vocals with a decidedly '80s new wave flavor. The melodies are so infectiously tuneful that you'd feel like you're kicking a puppy to say anything bad about them. "The Real World," "Deer in the Headlights," "Angels," "Honey and the Bee" and "The Yacht Club" convey a wide-eyed, utopian innocence. But the album has its darker and edgier moments in the aggressive attack of "Kamikaze," the ambivalent twist of fate in "Hospital Flowers" and the mournful tone of "Galaxies," a sort of tribute to the Challenger space shuttle crew that's preceded by a snippet of President Reagan's speech after the tragedy. But amid all the synthesizers is the same irresistible buoyancy that made Owl City a hot commodity with 2009 hit "Fireflies."