Monday, September 7th, 2009

Owl City – Fireflies

Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to encounter what may be either the two best or worst puns in Jukebox history. Take it away, gents…


Iain Mew: True story: I got one of those “sorry you were out” cards through the letterbox yesterday, saying that I had missed a recorded delivery. I got up early today to collect it at the depot, but they couldn’t find it! Apparently postal workers are on strike and we have to make do with unskilled and inadequate substitutes.

Doug Robertson: If this was a stick of rock rather than a song it’d have “Postal Service” running all the way through it, so obvious is their influence on this track, but while it might not reach such great heights, there’s still something rather sweet and enjoyable on offer here.

Anthony Miccio: Refusing to record their own, The Postal Service belatedly inspire a Stone Temple Pilots to create Give Up‘s sequel for them. Though the vocal is a craven imitation of Ben Gibbard, the songwriting is more in line with the mall-emo standard; you could easily imagine Taking Back Sunday (or Miley Cyrus) singing over a pumped-up arrangement. Either artist’s bombast would be preferable to the tepid techno here, which makes me appreciate Jimmy Tamborello’s percussion tracks more than ever.

Ian Mathers: Owl City is horrific because they’re a twee, preachy, AutoTuned Postal Service, and it’s not as if Give Up was deathless or unimpeachable in the first place. Imagine that album taken to a strawman-ish extent, so that every claim made by the haters is true (and a few new ones, too) and you’ve got this douchenozzle. Unsurprisingly, “Fireflies” makes me want to kick puppies and strangle kittens.

Martin Kavka: I went back to The Postal Service’s Give Up to find the track that this most closely resembles. Damn, that album is good, and sonically thick. Their songs envelop me; with this song, I’m a spectator, and I feel like I’m watching a lesser remake of a good film. Still, dammit, I miss 2003/2004. Send on the Venus Hum and A Girl Called Eddy clones!

Martin Skidmore: This has just POWERED up from #97 on the Billboard chart to #94, possibly with a bullet. His voice isn’t unpleasant, if weak and limited, and the electro pop is fairly slick, but the cutesy aspects annoy and there isn’t anything like enough tune or an interesting chorus.

Anthony Easton: There have been two brilliant songs about fireflies, one by the Magnetic Fields, and one by Faith Hill. I listened to both of them immediately after hearing this, to remind myself that people still create interesting metaphors to power narratives.

Pete Baran: Dear Catchy And Irritating: I cannot help but think your continued cohabitation makes it difficult to assess songs like this. The fact that I cannot work out which of you owns the autotune machine or the kids TV melody can only make it difficult when you eventually split up and one of you wholly takes possession of this Owl City song. I believe it may belong to Irritating, but I’m going to give Catchy the benefit of the doubt for now.

Jessica Popper: The song could be catchier, but it’s pleasant listening, and I could quite happily watch the video all day long.

Edward Okulicz: Argh, horrendously twee dinky indie-pop, eschewing hooks in favour of saccharine. Not just in the sense that it’s sweet, it’s also a kind of empty, flavourless sickliness, rather like a cup of tea made with a quarter of a tea bag and six Sugarines.

Spencer Ackerman: Imagine if Michelle Branch had a dick. But still no balls.

John Seroff: Musicians like Mike Milosh, Röyksopp and Air all have the knack of pulling off digital love properly because they never fail to incorporate the glitchy fallibility and wonky heartsickness that marks them as human after all. Owl City seems unable to put the ghost into his machine, presenting us with a sterile lullaby for iPods. “I get a thousand hugs/from ten thousand lightning bugs”? That means nine out of ten chose to pass. When the music from your synthesizer sounds more organic than you do, it might be best to stick to producing.

Alex Ostroff: Owl City’s evangelical optimism results in lyrics as mundanely romantic as Gibbard’s — fireflies and insomnia and the slow turn of the planet — but with none of world-weariness or cynicism that bubbled under the surface of Give Up. Similarly, the production is clean and crisply epic, lacking the static and occasional dissonance of Dntel. With nothing to temper his saccharine tendencies, Fireflies ends up as a nice slice of summery electropop that doesn’t quite hit the benchmark.

Tal Rosenberg: I didn’t know it was possible to make a song that could somehow be used in both an Apple commercial and an episode of The Hills.

Additional Scores

Chris Boeckmann: [7]
Chuck Eddy: [6]
Rodney J. Greene: [3]
Michaelangelo Matos: [2]

5 Responses to “Owl City – Fireflies”

  1. Pleasently surprised to see someone mentioning Milosh, but seriously this is so bad (all of Owl City’s music is) that I was hoping for Chris Brown numbers.

    Also, kudos to Iain for that blurb.

  2. I think the reason this song annoys me so much is that Owl City trips my Uncanny Valley reflex.

  3. otm


  5. LOL at this song climbing up the Radio Disney charts AS WE SPEAK. Kudos to Anthony for the prescience.