Top 10 Favorite Adam Young Songs of All Time


If you accused me of having a bit of a man-crush on Adam Young, I wouldn’t object. Every year around this time, Adam Young and his various music projects dominate my iPhone and laptop whenever I’m in the car, writing, or otherwise. The last two summers I have had the opportunity to go to a couple of Owl City concerts and they have been awesome.

Waiting in line last summer.
Waiting in line last summer.

Here is a bit of video I got right at the beginning of the concert I saw in Minneapolis this summer. It was cool being so close. Stood in line for like 4 hours:

The concerts are always a ton of fun.


So, in honor of it being almost summertime weather and such, and because I have recently discovered some awesome Adam Young side project stuff, I wanted to make a list of 10 of my favorite Adam Young songs. Most of these will be from his most popular band, Owl City, but a few of them won’t be. I always remember when I was first introduced to him in high school, I knew I had found one of my favorite musicians of all time–the dude is inspired by Armin van Buuren, my favorite trance-techno artist of all time, and John Piper, one of my favorite pastor/theologians of all time. Definitely a good sign.

Without further ado, I present to you my 10 favorite Adam Young tracks of all time (this list is subject to change as I discover more):

#10. In the Dolphin Tank by Port Blue — Port Blue is one of Adam’s lesser-known side projects, and a couple of the songs are fantastic. He has always said making “elevator music” is by far his favorite type of music to make, and Port Blue fits into that category. I like this track a lot. I’m not sure what draws me to it though. I enjoy it. I think it might be the title and imagining someone swimming in a dolphin tank. I’m not sure.

#9. If My Heart Was a House by Owl City — You’ll see a number of “heartbroken ballads,” as I like to call them, on this list, and this is definitely one of my favorites, which is why it’s on this list in the first place. Though, this one isn’t particularly heartbroken, but definitely a love tune. Imagery is great here.

#8. On the Wing by Owl City — I love this song because, like some of the others toward the bottom of this list, it was one of the first ones I ever heard and has a special nostalgic value to it. Classic.

#7. Brielle by Sky Sailing — This is one of the first songs I heard from one of Adam’s more popular side projects, Sky Sailing. I really like the song. It just has a nice flow to it and is really easy to (try) to sing along to.

#6. Lonely Lullaby by Owl City — This is another one of my favorite hearbroken ballads. I don’t know the backstory fully, but Anne Marie was Adam’s girl, left him or something, and the true sadness in this song comes through so clearly; I really admire his ability to communicate the emotion. Sorta depressing, but beautiful, I think.

#5. The Yacht Club by Owl City —  This song is one of my favorites because it was definitely the most fun song live in concert, which is why the video I’m sharing is from a concert in L.A. (pay no attention to the second half of the video as it is another song). My favorite part about this song live was the mini dance session toward the end where everyone in the crowd was just going nuts with the techno bit. At the concert in Indy, they extended it to like twice the length of what it is in the normal song and it was really cool. Love it. So much fun. Also, some of the lyrics are just so creative and the wordplay often reminds me of Relient K, which makes sense cuz he’s friends with Matt Thiessen.

#4. Strawberry Avalanche by Owl City — This song is, in my mind, very much along the same lines as Hot Air Balloon. I love this song because of some of the imagery and the ways in which the words engage my senses, particularly the thought of an avalanche of strawberries. Because this, along with Hot Air Balloon, was one of the first songs I ever heard from Adam Young and Owl City, it holds a special place in my heart. It also has a sweet hook to it.

#3. In Christ Alone by Adam Young– In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend is my favorite hymn of all time, without a doubt. We will be singing it at the wedding in June. When I found out a little more than a year ago that Adam had posted a cover of the hymn to his blog, I had to listen. It was everything I hoped it would be. Love his rendition of this hymn of the Church. Check it out.

#2. Vanilla Twilight — Definitely my favorite “heartbroken ballad.”  I love some of the imagery in this track and the honest emotion that so clearly comes through. And I mean come on, my favorite basketball player of all time is in the music video, yet another odd connection between Adam’s interests and mine, haha.

#1. Hot Air Balloon by Owl City — This is far and away my favorite track by Adam Young. Nothing really even comes close. I think the reason it’s so special to me is that it is one of the first ones I ever heard and it is, in my mind, the musical embodiment of everything summer. Nothing makes me thing of summer like this song. Beautiful summer nights on the porch getting bitten by mosquitos and days of laughter and freedom. Summer in a song. Nothing better.


A couple of tracks that I didn’t include on here because they are technically by someone else but he is featured on them: Youtopia by Armin van Buuren and All About Us by He Is We. These two tracks definitely should be on my Top 10, but I disqualified them because of this technicality. Love the songs though.


All About Us:

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!



TEDS Trip 2013

Later this morning, Susie and I will be making our way up to the northern Chicago suburbs so that I can check out Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and, specifically, interview for the Kern Foundation Pastor’s Scholarship on Friday. Today we will be meeting with some apartment managers and landlords and hanging out with a few friends up there, and tomorrow we will be getting the full TEDS tour.

This morning I just ask that you pray with me for my interview tomorrow. This is undoubtedly the most important interview I’ve ever had up to this point, and I just ask that you pray for God to be glorified no matter what happens. I would really love to get this scholarship and it would work perfectly into my plans of how I would like to move forward as I pursue ministry. But I understand that, while this scholarship is a good thing, it may not be what God thinks is best for me moving forward. So, you can pray that I get the scholarship if you want, that’s fine, but I’m most concerned about God being glorified in my meeting with the folks on the Kern Panel and that, regardless of if I get the scholarship or not, that the scholarships they have are given wisely and to the right people.

So please pray for me and with me that, no matter how the interview goes tomorrow afternoon at 3pm central time, God would be glorified throughout. That’s what I’m most concerned about throughout this process.

I’m super excited to get up to the Chicago area, and I must keep packing! Have a great day!


The Tipping Point of the Church

Recently I’ve been reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell, renowned best-selling author and staff writer for The New Yorker, called Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. I’m just over halfway through the book and I’m loving it so far. Gladwell’s writing style is very journalistic, which described in a single word that is not “journalistic” would be “simple,” and I like simple.


It’s clear from the get-go of the book that Gladwell is a smart dude, but his simple, “journalistic,” writing style allows him to present rather complex concepts in a concise, coherent manner. The main point of the book is this: epidemics, both the illness kind and the social kind, do not instantly spawn as giant waves of sickness or influence; in fact, a lot of times, huge fashion trends or sexually transmitted disease outbreaks are started in a somewhat small fashion, but with very particular players involved.

As far as I can tell, and like I said, I’m only about halfway through the book, Gladwell’s main point is that big things happen because of little things.

The example of this that I am reading about right now in the book is regarding the incredibly high crime rate in New York City in the early 1980s. Crime was rampant in the city, and no one really knew how to stop it. Vicious and petty crimes alike were not only taking place in dark alleys in the depths of night, but on a lighted subway train during rush hour. The valiant men and women of the New York City law enforcement agencies had no answers.

Then, all of a sudden, in the early 1990s, in the midst of peak crime rates in New York City, the number of crimes dropped off significantly. All of the reasons that people pointed to for the sudden drop in crime made no sense because they either a) have no connection to the occurrence of crime, or b) would result in a gradual drop of crime over a long period of time. The sudden drop in crime in New York City in the early 1990s was because of an initiative called “Broken Windows” put into place by two criminologists in the mid-1980s. The theory was crazy, but the city of New York thought it was so crazy it just might work, and why not try it right? Nothing else had been working so far.

The idea was this: clean up vandalism, wipe down graffiti-glazed subway trains, fix broken windows, crack down on petty crimes like jumping the turnstile at the subway station, and your overall crime rate will decrease. In short, this idea worked, and as the NYPD and other agencies worked on the little crimes, big crimes stopped happening in great numbers.

I share that example with you for this reason: I hope to pastor a church someday, and as a young man hoping to attend seminary in the fall, this book as raised a question in my mind: “What is the tipping point for the Church?”

What do I mean by this? What is the tipping point of the Church? What I mean by it is this: what is it that will cause the Biggest Thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that it entails, to spread like wildfire like the dropping of crime in 1990s New York City? Big things spread because of little things, and my theory is that if, as the Church, we focus on the little things, the Big Thing, the gospel, will begin to spread like wildfire.

To be completely honest, the little things may be different depending on where you’re located. But examining my life and the context in which I live and the weaknesses I exhibit, the little things that I can do in order to make the Big Thing spread like wildfire is participate in little acts of love that will magnify the Big Thing that motivates me to do them. I believe that, as a universal Church, if we can focus on loving people in the little things, helping people take groceries out to their cars or sending an encouraging note to a neighbor we know is having a rough week, we can eclipse the tipping point of the gospel and begin to see it spread like wildfire because of the grace of God and his awesome work through the Holy Spirit.

We must love people. Today there are all sorts of social controversies we can be confronting and plenty of political problems about which we can be passionate, many of which are legitimate issues. But brothers and sisters I encourage you to love people. Love people in the little things. Instead of bashing the kid that puts that equal sign thing on his Facebook profile picture, ask him how his day is going and if you can help him in any way. Instead of simply attending church this week, ask someone in your Sunday school class how you can be praying for them this week.

Little things make big things happen.

LIttle acts of love can be the tipping point of the Church, making the Big Thing of the gospel spread like wildfire.