Since the dawn of time (or rather, since 2009), mankind has been haunted by an important unanswered question: What do the lyrics of Owl City’s “Fireflies” mean? Specifically, the line “Cause I’d get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs” is what’s been confounding: Does it mean Owl City, aka Adam Young, would get a thousand total hugs via ten thousand lightning bugs, or does it mean he’d get a thousand hugs from each lightning bug, so ten million total hugs?
That’s a difference of nearly ten million hugs between interpretations, and Young finally decided that he wanted to clear up the confusion. Last night, he responded to a curious fan on Twitter and explained, in great detail, that he “was the recipient of 1,000 hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs for a grand total of 10,000,000 hugs.”
Young got more scientific in his answer than anybody had any reason to expect, referencing important story elements like how a single firefly would behave “according to the dictates of his own conscience” and the insect’s “soft-shelled body, which is common among all winged beatles within the Lampyridae insect family.” Perhaps most importantly, though, he clarified that during the ten million hugs, he determined that the fireflies enjoyed the interaction, a conclusion he came to through astute observation:
“I can furthermore add that while each individual hug took place, each firefly participated in the chemical reaction commonly known as bioluminescence, in which the enzymes within the firefly, in the presence of oxygen, magnesium ions and ATP, emitted a chemically produced light or ‘glow’ because they were happy to be hugging me.”
The explanation is so entertaining and brilliant that it’s hard to get mad at the shameless self-promotion Young ends the post with: “Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any further questions! Stream ‘Fireflies’ on Apple Music and Spotify!”
Please feel free to stream “Fireflies” on Apple Music and Spotify, or watch the music video below.