Owl City: Fireflies Meaning
Song Released: 2009
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
Cause they fill the open air,
And leave teardrops everywhere,you'd think me rude but I would just stand, and stare
I'd like to make myself...
At the heart of this song there seems to be a yearning or a desire to escape back to childhood innocence. Upon first hearing the song, I was intrigued by the melody and simple lyrics; it wasn't until I actually questioned the artists intent that I began seeing the deeper meaning of Adam Young's lyrics. The song starts by telling us we would "not believe" our eyes, a statement that suggests the song will cover some sort of fantastic occurrence. Then the song progresses into a dream like quality. The speaker actually speaks of fireflies as if they were surrounded by them, but I can't help believe the fireflies are supposed to stand for a specific event or situation. Hence the question: Who would catch fireflies? The answer: innocent children. The song speaks about the innocence of youth and how quickly that innocence escapes us. The chorus says "I'd LIKE to make myself believe" suggesting a desire of something that can not be completely accomplished. The speaker wants to believe earth moves slowly; if he can't believe that simple statement, it must mean the opposite is true--planet Earth spins much too fast. In other words, time passes by much too quickly. The speaker then talks about the desire to remain to remain in that dream trance instead of waking up to reality, because within that dream trance is the innocence of youth. An innocence and naivety that allows a simple act--catching fireflies--to become a magical excursion into a wonderland of possibility and adventure. The point of the song seems to speak about the need to hold onto and embrace (maybe even slip back into) our child hood innocence so the reality of growing up does not completely take away the magic and joy the world has to offer. Simply put: We are all forced to give up our childhood too soon. We need more fireflies and rooms full of toys (video) to keep our lives simple and innocent.
anonymous Oct 9th, 2009 10:23am report
This song is about wanting to slow time so to speak. And to have more of it. That's why he wants to believe the earth turns slowly. "It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep" implies he obviously should sleep but truthfully doesn't want to miss out on anything. It is definitely about childhood innocence and dreams, and also stopping to enjoy the small things. Just as a child in awe would "Cause I get a thousand hugs From ten thousand lightning bugs As they try to teach me how to dance A foxtrot above my head, A sock hop beneath my bed, A disco ball is just hanging by a thread (thread, thread)" Learning to "dance" would be an example of a sipmle pleasure. A foxtrot, a sock hop, disco balls- these things are all associated with times when there was more innocence, or happiness so to speak. "To ten million fireflies I'm weird 'cause I hate good-byes I got misty eyes as they said farewell (they said farewell) But I'll know where several are If my dreams get real bizarre 'Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar(jar, jar, jar)" This line is definitely a good example of clinging to areas of childhood as well. He's "saved a few and kept them in a jar" in case things get to "bizarre" as if to remind him of a simpler time. A time when things were beautiful. The lines about not sleeping and bizarre dreams could be symbolic to this face paced adult world being a bit of a nightmare and hence he has recreated his simplistic childhood as his reality. I think those are the moments he wants to slow- the simple ones, the beautiful ones- whether they are from childhood or just a simpler time. You can tell from the type of music used in their songs as well, it has a light feel to it. As if it's going to lift you off your feet and take you to a better place. It's not sure exactly what this particular song means but it's certainly evident the directions it points in and what it implies.
anonymous Oct 11th, 2009 10:36pm report
The song is basically about a grown man who wishes that he could go back to childhood innocence, which is why in his video he has a roomful of toys. "That planet earth turns slowly..." means that to him time is moving way too fast for simple things like catching fireflies. When he says that he doesn't want to fall asleep basically is saying that he wishes he cold stay up so that he can live life to the fullest and fill each day with childlike things, such as playing with toys and/or catching fireflies.
anonymous May 13th, 5:29pm report
I've tried to rack my brain about what this song means and I've gone through a bottle headache medicine doing it. I listened to it once just for fun not really caring anymore, I just stopped thinking about it and it hit me. I just had to let it be what it is, and I think that's the meaning of the song. You just gotta let things be what they are because the closer you look at it the less of it you see. Like in the movie "Now You See Me" the closer into the show you look the less you see, only when you sit back and watch it from a distance well you see the truth. The truth well crawl to you in it's own time half the time, the other half you have to chase it.
anonymous Mar 28th, 3:46pm report
Idk this guy is plain high or he's on crack
anonymous Feb 21st, 2:57pm report
It's about the night and insomnia. Because, insomniacs (like me) are usually up past midnight, no matter if its because they are not tired or they can't go to sleep. So you usually have to think of something fun to do, and this is him talking about just always being awake for 15+ hours a day usually, and to give all you got when you have to make your own fun at night.
anonymous Jan 15th, 2014 1:28am report
Clearly insomnia makes the most sense, given the context of the writer's circumstance (meaning in songs, Christian background, professed insomnia) astral projection seems unlikely. It's also worth noting that it would be very difficult to astroproject if you can't sleep. Astroprojection usually involves serenity and an almost meditative state, hardly something a restless insomniac could achieve. However if one is using LSD or even other psychedelic substances that would account for the projection and possibly the insomnia as well.
anonymous Dec 2nd, 2013 12:15pm report
I believe this song is about the artist trying to hold on to his innocence and how he wishes he could still do childlike things like catch fireflies.
anonymous Nov 3rd, 2013 11:46am report
Not wanting to wake from dreams.
anonymous Oct 14th, 2013 10:21pm report
its about doing meth just Liston to it with that frame of mind if you have ever done meth you will understand when he talks about being charged with ten mil fireflys he cant sleep and at the beginning he talks about his tier drops coming from his eyes he even describes the high with fox trot and the disco ball hanging by a thread all you guys are dum
anonymous Aug 23rd, 2013 8:32am report
it make a lot of sense for it to be about lucid dream.
anonymous May 30th, 2013 5:53am report
Stupid.. This all isn't about his Child Innocence and Insomnia and stuff.
It's about his experience during his Astral Projection. All he said was about astral projection. Most of his songs were based on his experience in Astral Projection or Lucid Dreaming. You guys should know Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming first. It's not his insomnia. He's not crazy. He just have a high imagination which makes him go to a higher realm in the Astral Plane that's why his songs are all extraordinary and is about dreams. And yes, I've experienced it too. You guys should try to understand your inner self first and your mind. It's so obvious that this is about astral projection. Most of his songs are about his experiences on astral projections.
anonymous Apr 18th, 2013 4:28pm report
I agree with those who say that this song is about child like innocence. On other sites I have seen interpretations that have to do with astral projection and other things that have roots in East Asian religion, but this is not true because Adam Young(The one who founded the band and writes These songs) is a Christian so he wouldn't be writing about stuff like that. But Christianity does have lots of things about children being precious to God, so the child like innocence makes much more sense.
anonymous Feb 12th, 2013 2:14am report
The guy wants more time. He want's to live his life and experience it all, and not dream away his life, because he never has enough time.
On the flip side, is the fact that his dreams are amazing, they are bright and vibrant and exciting, and they are an important part of his happiness, but when he's awake he never wants to lose the time sleeping, but when he's asleep, he'd rather be there, enjoying the wonders of his dreams.
anonymous Jan 8th, 2013 1:21am report
A song about fireflies.
anonymous Dec 12th, 2012 12:53am report
The generic consensus on the interpretations are relevant and likely to be correct.
However, after considering the song quite a few times (as I was making a music video of it at the time), it is quite possible that the artist was talking about the effects of psychedelic drugs.
The fireflies may in this case represent hallucinations produced by some types of drugs when used.
The idea of being an insomniac may refer to the withdrawal symptoms one gets (with insomnia being a very common one).
The desire to believe the Earth turns slowly can be interpreted to mean that the rational part of the user's mind wants to believe the logical (i.e. the slow speed of the Earth's turning) while the drug wants the user to believe otherwise.
Other references exist as well. These are just the most "obvious" ones to me.
Of course it's very possible I could be wrong on this, but this is also one of the deeper and less "innocent" interpretations.
anonymous Nov 23rd, 2012 11:13pm report
It is a song about Astral Projection.
You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
when you do Astral Projection your body falls a sleep, and everything in the astral plane sparkles and is vibrating.
anonymous Nov 16th, 2012 11:15pm report
He is talking about ALL of the possibilitys of dreams. how a dream is whatever you make it. -Tomoya
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