Fireflies (Owl City song)

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"Fireflies"
Single by Owl City
from the album Ocean Eyes
B-side "Hot Air Balloon"
Released July 14, 2009 (2009-07-14) (see release history)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2008
Genre Synthpop[1]
Length 3:48
Label Universal Republic
Writer(s) Adam Young
Producer(s) Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen[2]
Owl City singles chronology
"Fireflies"
(2009)
"Vanilla Twilight"
(2010)
Audio sample
file info · help
Music video
"Fireflies" on YouTube

"Fireflies" is the debut single from Owl City's album Ocean Eyes. Relient K vocalist Matt Thiessen is featured as a guest vocalist on the song. Adam Young described the song as "A little song about bugs and not being able to fall asleep at night."[3] The song is built around a "bleepy" 1980s-influenced synthline and includes lyrics about insomnia, fireflies and summer.

The single attained worldwide success in late 2009 through early 2010, topping the charts in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. "Fireflies" was Owl City's only hit in the US Top 40 until three years later when "Good Time", a duet with Canadian recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen, charted at No. 8.[4]

Fireflies was used in the promotional video for Sony's EyePet video game. It is also featured in Disney Sing It: Party Hits.[5] It is also a downloadable content for both Guitar Hero 5 and Rock Band 3.[6][7]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Fireflies" was directed by Steve Hoover.[8] It features Adam Young playing the song on a Lowrey spinet organ in a toy-filled bedroom, where most of the toys (including an astronaut, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a Speak & Spell, toy cars including one based on Brum, and a blimp) come to life. Most of the toys are older model toys, with most of them from the 1970s and 1980s (the exceptions being a Robosapien and a Roboraptor). There are also vintage household devices such as a black and white television and a record player. The video had an exclusive premiere on MySpace, but was leaked onto Dailymotion some time before and YouTube soon after. As of December 2013, the video has received more than 100,000,000 views.[9]

Track listings[edit]

Europe CD single
  1. "Fireflies" – 3:48
  2. "Hot Air Balloon" – 3:35[10]
US CD promo
  1. "Fireflies" – 3:48[11]

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in early-September at No. 97, and it reached No. 1 in its tenth week, becoming Owl City's first No. 1 single.[12][13] The song stayed at No. 1 for two non-consecutive weeks, in the top ten for fifteen weeks and on the Hot 100 for thirty-one weeks.[14] "Fireflies" contributed to sales of the album Ocean Eyes, and was credited as being responsible for its entry to the top ten on the U.S. Billboard 200.[15] On the Billboard Hot 100 2009 year-end chart, it was ranked sixtieth.[16] On the Billboard Hot 100 2010 year-end chart, it was ranked thirtieth.[17] The RIAA certified "Fireflies" triple-platinum in June 2010. By November 2012, the song had shifted 4,648,000 downloads in the United States.[18]

In the United Kingdom, the song entered at No. 50 due to early download sales from a fake version that was leaked onto iTunes. The song would go on to make a forty-eight place jump to No. 2 the following week, beaten only to the top by "Replay" by Iyaz. The following week, it rose to No. 1, and topped the chart for three consecutive weeks, the song has sold 639,587 copies to date.[19] The BPI certified "Fireflies" silver in February 2010. On January 2, 2011 it was revealed that "Fireflies" is the twentieth most downloaded song of all time in Great Britain.[20]

In Australia, the song entered at No. 38 and on the week of January 10, 2010, it topped the chart with 37,354 copies sold, having the biggest sales for a song in one week.[citation needed]

In Japan, the song peaked at No. 3 and was ranked sixteenth on the 2010 year-end chart, the highest ranking for an international song for 2010.[citation needed]

The song attained success worldwide. It reached No. 1 in Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (for 10 weeks) and the top ten in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal and Switzerland. The song has reached over 90 million views on YouTube[9] and was ranked 89th on VH1's 'Top 100 songs of the new millennium'.[21]

Covers[edit]

The song is featured in "Weird Al" Yankovic's polka medley "Polka Face", from his album Alpocalypse. Sam Tsui covered the song for his album. Cheryl Cole covered the song on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Popular YouTube drummer Cobus Potgieter did a drum cover over the song. He posted it to his YouTube account on March 30, 2011 and it has since been watched over 3.1 million times.[22]

Ben Bennett with Jesse and Ashleigh performed the song for their battle round on season 1 of The Voice Australia.[23] Universal Music has since released Ben Bennett's cover on iTunes.[24]

Mac Miller also samples the melody in his song "Don't Mind if I Do" from his 2010 mixtape, K.I.D.S..

Charts[edit]

Peak position[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
United States/Canada[77] July 14, 2009 Universal Republic Digital download
Australia[78] November 9, 2009 CD single
United Kingdom[79][80] January 8, 2010 Digital download
February 22, 2010 CD single
Ireland[81] January 14, 2010 Digital download
Poland January 16, 2010 CD single
Germany January 22, 2010 CD single

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]