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 May 17th, 2016 5:42pm report
I believe it is a sort of sad, melancholy way of saying that one of two things.
Either first, it is about childhood, and going back to a point where everything was lies, but happier. He could have mor time to do the things he wanted to and ignore what h regrets. Have more Tim to be a child.
Or second, it is about fame, the fireflies being his fans. The limne saying "I get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs, as they try to teach me how to dance'" could be referring to them trying to get him to join in, trying to show him things, trying to get his attention.
anonymous Apr 2nd, 2010 4:48am report
This is not an interpretation but rather a question that has crossed my mind. Could the fireflies possibly resemble camera flashes? In my view this song is about time moving too quickly and the overall fear of growing up. The reason this question has crossed my mind is that, if we follow the previous interpretation as our general meaning, it makes sense because photographs are basically pauses in time that preserve an image of an unaged you. I see these "camera flashes" as pauses in time that protect him from his fear of growing up and in that he thrives on them. In the line "I'd gather them and keep them in a jar," directly translates to, in my mind, his desperate preservation of the past. "To ten million fireflies, I'm weird cuz I hate goodbyes," just offers more proof that he does not want to lose these precious pauses in time but he does it anyway because in order to grow up and move on we must first let go of the past. In the line "please take me away from here," it shows his longing and inability to leave his dream world that is the past. My question has become an interpretation lol, well there's my two cents, hopefully I've given everyone an idea to work with.
anonymous Mar 26th, 2019 3:45pm report
I think this song is about how everything is not what like it seems and that time passes WAY too quickly. When they say "Planet earth turns slowly" I think that It does NOT spin at all because the earth does turn slowly
anonymous Jan 20th, 2019 1:17pm report
I was listening to the first verse of this song and picturing a character from a book I read listening to or singing it. (I'm weird like that.) All of a sudden, it hit me. Are the fireflies kind of like people?
- Perhaps someone who's lived a hard and secluded life, (darkness, trying to fall asleep) and begins to see people and the world in new ways, noticing all the light and love for the first time. (ten million fire flies lighting up the world as he falls asleep)
- When your watching fireflies, it's hard to focus on just one. You just see this sky filled with them. Hence, that moment of seeing the big picture. Seeing the beauty in the midst the struggles of individuals. (leave tear drops everywhere)
- Telling someone who he trusts who is struggling to see the light in the world about his epiphany. (You would not believe your eyes)
- And it might be considered nosy or judgey to examine other peoples lives, but, whatever. (you'd think me rude, but I would just stand and stare)
-Then, him trying to hold on to that moment of perspective, but not being able to. (I'd like to make myself believe, that planet earth turns slowly)
- Comparing loosing that moment to falling asleep, and not being able to regain it as trying to say he'd rather stay awake.
- Holding on to hope, even in a seemingly hopeless situation. (everything is never as it seems)
- The second verse kind of debunks my theory, but the part about catching fireflies in a jar could be the closest friend who still encourage him.
anonymous Oct 8th, 2018 10:16pm report
The song is about astral projection. it is not insomnia, his body is still while his conscience or soul is outside. He sees everything in form of light, He views the earth from a distance and sees everything which he wants to see at one go Hence he says the planet is moving slowly. He has the ability to fly in this form and interacts with the fireflies who bump into him occasionally . He enjoys the beauty of this experience and feels everything is true and honest in this form thus he says he rather stays awake as he sleeps because everything is never as it seems.
anonymous Aug 14th, 2018 8:30pm report
Does it have to be about the past or childhood? "Teach me how to dance" implies that he's never danced before so he's not longing to go back to something he's lost. He's longing for something new that hasn't happened yet.
Fireflies are still magic and in particular they represent light in the darkness, answers. The world is dark and moving too fast. It's confusing and hard to keep up with solving all the problems that keep coming up. "cause everything is never as it seems". The wakeful world, the real world is stressful. He'd rather pursue his dreams but he keeps getting frustrated by reality "teardrops" "insomniac" "hanging by a thread".
"far too tired to fall asleep" He's so tired of the frustration. I've been there. I know how one can be so tired of the stress but unable to fall asleep because the world can be so maddening. That's really what this song is about, being so tired of it all but not even being able to escape into a dream.
The fireflies said goodbye. The magic is gone. The dreams are out of reach. But he's holding on to "several" in a jar just in case his dreams get "real bizarre" like a nightmare. His dreams are "bursting at the seems" meaning that his dreams motivate him and drive him to overcome the dark, fast world.
It's not dreams like one has when one is asleep. It's dreams like hopes and plans, desires for a better life.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous May 17th, 2018 5:33pm report
I think this song is meant to hold on to the memories that you have had in your childhood and move on because there will be more other great memories to come, but it is also to stay a kid as long as possible and enjoy while it last because that time only comes around in your life once and you can't go back. So be truthful, kind, and fun. And if I was you I would grab a piece paper or a sticky note and right something positive that you would like to do in your childhood while it last.
anonymous Apr 30th, 2018 4:08pm report
I believe the song is about death. The lightning bugs are a representation of the people who have died in the past and wants to believe the earth turns slowly so his life feels longer. He cant sleep because he has so little time to live his life.
anonymous Dec 29th, 2017 12:04am report
This is about a guy with insomnia being unable to sleep. The creator of the song himself said it to be i belive.
anonymous Dec 1st, 2017 12:26pm report
This song may be about insomnia. At one point, the song says something about dancing, like not being able to fall asleep, so they might as well get up and move around. When the song says, "I'd like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly," it could be like wanting more time to be able to fall asleep.
anonymous Nov 18th, 2017 11:12pm report
Its about being christian. We are firefly's because we have a light of yeshua, and so we can "Light Up the dark sky". There's a line in the song that says that talks about firefly hugging and so that could be the comfort of faith.
anonymous Sep 29th, 2017 9:34pm report
Romance might be the case. Or someone he misses.
anonymous Jul 4th, 2017 7:39pm report
It's about astral projection. Search it up.
anonymous Jun 29th, 2017 6:44am report
in this song
all of he said in song.
i See and feel it too.
its like fantasy.
when you look at air. you apprecieate all of things.
anonymous Jun 21st, 2017 6:17am report
I think it's about an isane guy in an asylum that still sees himself as a child the 10 million fireflies are the stars and he's looking out the window at the stars dreaming about his childhood.And the 1000 hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs are the electric chair. Plus he mentions insomnia which could be another part of his
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