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 Apr 30th, 4:06pm report
I believe this song is much deeper, much lonelier and much more appreciative than what people seem to think:
I am an artist myself and with that in mind what I am hearing is a man who is very lonely in his own life, his reality, his waking world, but his career is like a dream, he gets on stage for a large audience who at some point inevitably put their lighters into the air and from his vantage point on the stage it looks like millions of fireflies.
Everywhere he goes these "fireflies" love him, they want to give him hugs, they want to share things with him, they want to be his friend, but at the end of every day he's going home to his lonely reality of not having ANYONE who REALLY knows him or cares about him the way that he wants to be cared for and it makes his career feel like that much more of a fantasy and one he does not want to wake up from - "It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep...".
If you listen to the song and keep in the mind the perspective of a lonely artist who finds comfort and appreciation in his connection to his fans, I think you'll find it all makes perfect sense...
anonymous Mar 20th, 3:20am report
IT is about waking up from the dream world we live in (Matrix) The scene in the video is reminiscent of Close Encounters of the Third Kind where Barry (little boy) is invited to come play with the aliens (Fireflies)All the toys come alive and communicate.
Notice the "MAGIC" button on the keyboard. He is showing us that Magic exists and that ethereal beings are part of normal human existence.
"I'd like to make myself believe" This refers to the struggle to stop thinking the way society forces us to think.
"that planet earth turns slowly" Time is speeding up and we are forced to believe that by being "In the moment" we can slow down time and really see what reality is all about. A hologram.
anonymous Mar 4th, 3:27am report
You could interpret the speaker as a mature one, for mature people have usually done guilty things. Theft, lies, hate, children wouldn't know any of this. Basically, the speaker wishes he could go back to a time where he can believe that "planet earth turns lowly" but he knows that's not true. He wants to go to a time where, "everything is never as it seems."
Its likely he could be reffering to both childhood innocence and something similar to astroprojection.
All in all, thnk if the speaker of a stressed out loner who wants time to go slower so he can do silly things like dance with fireflies, or at least let him enjoy such in his dreams
anonymous Dec 1st, 12:58am report
Astral projection. Nothing else.
anonymous Nov 22nd, 2014 11:49pm report
I absolutely agree that this is based on Astral Projection. "Its hard to say that I'd rather stay, awake when I'm asleep. Because everything is never as it seems." That sentence right there is evidence of it. Astral Projection is having full conciousness while sleeping and traveling across different realms and experiencing the wonders of the world. Your welcome :)
anonymous Nov 16th, 2014 11:31am report
I think personaly that the song is about his dreams, and his wish to escape reality. TO forget about thing else and just to dream. and it feels like time is moving too fast for him to understand any of it. that all these moments are gone, after you blink.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Aug 23rd, 2014 8:57am report
I couldn't agree more with the astral projection theory... it was the very first thing that occurred to me when I looked into the lyrics and to add value to my opinion I knew of the song but not well enough to know the lyrics completely .. recently I have been practicing dream recall in order to help in been able to practice lucid dream/astral projection... just last week when I awoke from my sleep woke with this song on my mind and had been hearing/singing it during a dream!!... it was for that reason I looked into the lyrics as I could only remember a line or two from the song.... for me that's evidence enough that it is all about the astral plane... the songs content made that even more applicable. Had I not dreamt of singing this particular song I would still be of the same opinion... it is more than obvious this is about the Astral realm...
anonymous Aug 6th, 2014 8:40am report
This song is about an out of body experience, or so called "astral projection", astral projection is when you are asleep but your mind is awake and it forms an energy that allows you to leave your body and do what ever you want so to speak. The first part of astral projection is leaving the body and entering the room you are sleeping in, the room is lit up and everything is sparkling, hence "fire flys" the lyrics "I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep" comes into concept with the mind being awake and the body being asleep, the lyrics " id like to make my self believe that planet earth turns" is stating the second phase of astral projection, doing what ever you want. In this case he wanted to visit outer space. Research my facts if you want to ;)
anonymous May 13th, 2014 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 Feb 21st, 2014 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 Aug 23rd, 2013 8:32am report
it make a lot of sense for it to be about lucid dream.
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