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Owl City: Deer in the Headlights Review

Updated on August 17, 2017
Adam Young (Owl City) plays a romance-deprived male in his 'Deer in the Headlights' music video.
Adam Young (Owl City) plays a romance-deprived male in his 'Deer in the Headlights' music video.


'Deer in the Headlights' is a catchy little tune from Owl City's (Adam Young) sophomore album from Universal Republic. It’s aptly named 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' (a title that easily describes what Adam enjoys). It contains electronic pop that celebrates life through the eyes of an idealistic romantic. 'Deer in the Headlights' is no exception. Actually, with a humorous twist, this song does poke fun at one aspect of romance. Adam Young explains in one of his 'Track by Track' videos that sometimes people get lonely and desperately want to be in a relationship in order to fulfill that particular need. I've heard it said that some people are 'in love with being in love'. This song explores that notion through the eyes of a male; he is hoping a girl he meets randomly will suddenly fall in love with him so he can stop feeling alone. A section of the lyrics draws inspiration from this old pick up line, "Was it love at first sight, or should I walk by again?" The actual chorus of the song is: 'Tell me again was it love at first sight, When I walked by and you caught my eye, Didn't you know love could shine this bright, Well, smile, because you're the deer in the headlights'.

One of the most humorous lines in the song is when the girl retaliates against this 'forced romance'. Adam opens the song with, 'Met a girl in the parking lot, And all I did was say hello, Her pepper spray made it rather hard, For me to walk her home, But I guess that's the way it goes'. This conveys that love sought for the wrong reason will not bring anyone good results. The female continues with a more aggressive rejection: ‘Met a girl with a graceful charm, But when beauty met the beast he froze, Got sense I was not her type, By the black eye and bloody nose, But I guess that’s the way it goes’.

Musically, this song displays Owl City’s safe haven with his usual happy-sounding digital pop. It includes various sounds, such as a continuous backdrop of piano notes and the usual synth beats to create a toe-tapping satirical single that will likely have you smiling.

The creative music video was directed and edited by Steve Hoover and produced by Brandon Bongfilio; Animal was the production company. It was comprised of various aspects that I believe successfully communicates the song with humor and visual effects. Surprisingly, the original Delorean from the ‘Back to the Future’ movie series provides Adam transportation for a not-so-mundane trip to a convenient store. On arrival, not only does he spot a deer hanging out in an aisle, but he also meets a girl he instantly falls for. The only problem is that she is a figment of his over-active endorphin-induced imagination. After hopping back into his vehicular time machine, he journeys forward to meet none other then his future self. You might recognize the space costume he's wearing from the ‘Alligator Sky’ music video. Not with-standing various sights of random figures, such as a dinosaur, jellyfish, farm animals and unnamed space graphics, ‘The Deer in the Headlights’ music video explores a precarious issue of love with an exhilarating, eye-popping style.


Quotes from Adam on Deer in the Headlights


He describes his song and video for AOL music:


"It's a quirky video for a cheeky song that quips, 'Why are we in love if it's for all the wrong reasons?' The song is about fending off the blinding light of superficial fluff relationships and saying, 'Thanks, but I'd rather be alone and thus avoid a million shallow heartbreaks until I meet the girl of my dreams'."


Excerpt from an interview with Christianity Today:


"I enjoy writing largely from the imagination, and usually that produces rather abstract imagery. But with "Deer in the Headlights," I wrote a personal song that plays close to the chest in a way that no other song I've written ever has. I was ending a serious relationship at the time, and I was harrowed by the fact that so many people (specifically me) have a funny tendency to desire romance merely for the sake of avoiding loneliness, which ultimately means it's not about LOVE at all! Sometimes it's easy to be "blinded by the light" and forget all about what true romance is designed by God to be. When all you focus on are the warm fuzzies, a relationship can become dangerous and disastrous very quickly. So the song plays closely to the fact that I needed to pull myself out of the lights and remember what's more important than the romantic butterflies."


Official Music Video

Deer in the Headlights Live

Deer in the Headlights Stripped Down Version

Music Video Screenshots

Adam discovers the famous time machine.
Adam discovers the famous time machine.
He rides in the actual car from 'Back to the Future'.
He rides in the actual car from 'Back to the Future'.
Adam peruses the shelves of a convenient store and locks eyes with a beautiful girl.  Or does he?
Adam peruses the shelves of a convenient store and locks eyes with a beautiful girl. Or does he?
'Put your sunglasses on, 'cause you're the deer in the headlights'
'Put your sunglasses on, 'cause you're the deer in the headlights'
Owl City's fellow electronic artist, Lights, makes an appearance as an imaginary love interest.  Love at first sight?
Owl City's fellow electronic artist, Lights, makes an appearance as an imaginary love interest. Love at first sight?
Adam Young appears at the end of the Deer in the Headlights video 'from the year 2015' in his astronaut suit from the Aligator Sky music video.
Adam Young appears at the end of the Deer in the Headlights video 'from the year 2015' in his astronaut suit from the Aligator Sky music video. | Source

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    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      3 years ago from Georgia

      whitewaive: Thanks! I have. I like it; it's a nice mix of old and new sounds from him.

    • whitewaive profile image

      Jennifer Downer 

      3 years ago from Newbury Park, CA

      Nice review! Have you heard Owl City's new album? If so, did you like it?

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      mattdigiulio: Thanks so much! I'm glad you like Owl City as well. :)

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 

      6 years ago

      Wow, this is a really solid review, with a lot of great media to boot! I really like Owl City a lot, and now I'll have to check out more of their work for sure. Voting up...

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      That's a good point. In my opinion, his music conveys optimism and that is very refreshing to me compared to other music infused within our culture.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      Well, I think what distinguishes his music is a combination of factures: the engaging rhythms, the tunefulness and, in some pieces, the Christian content.

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Neil Sperling! I am glad I could introduce you to him; he's my favorite musical artist. I viewed the video you mentioned. I thought the song was pretty good, but the music video was a little weird (just being honest here). Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      Cool tunes - GREAT review. Thanks for the introduction to Owl City.

      Should you be interested - check out you tube search for "Marija - Human Again" - I think you will love her.

      Thanks again for Owl City intro

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, Renee! I couldn't have worded it any better myself. :) Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image

      Renee 

      7 years ago

      Adam Young is the best musician science Mozart so if you haven't checked him out- you're missing a lot!

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      There's not really any major news. Apparently he's working on some music while he's touring, but that's nothing new. He's pretty much always working on music.

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      So, no more news from Adam Young just yet...

      Blessings.

    • Ebower profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin Bower 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      I love that you quoted Shakespeare and it's definitely related. :) Thanks for voting!

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      (PS: definitely voted up)

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      Good review!

      What you are discussing here, specifically the being 'in love with being in love', (which takes a good measure of adult maturity to recognize, incidentally), reminds me of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', where Romeo says in Acts 1, Scene 1:

      "O heavy lightness! serious vanity!

      Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

      Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!

      Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

      This love feel I, that feel no love in this."

      Strange? contradictory maybe?

      Yes.

      But for some ppl it's real.

      :)

      I like Owl City, anyway.

      Blessings.

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