Really? Ten million fireflies?

I keep hearing a song on the radio that sounds to me the way a bad acid trip would sound, keeping in mind I’ve never had an acid trip at all. Here’s how it opens:

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep.

It goes on to talk about getting hugs from a million lightning bugs. I don’t think I’d be thrilled by either of those things, myself. I believe I mentioned on this blog how we get infested with ladybugs every so often, and having hundreds of them banging against the windows is disturbing enough. I can’t imagine multiplying them by a thousand and then having them light up.

Just the sound of all their little feet…! Ugh!

I’m not the biggest fan of the song, but Kiddo#1 suddenly piped up after I did the “hear one note and change the station” trick, saying, “Hey! I like that song!”

Oh the sacrifices of Motherhood. I changed it back. By now I’ve listened to The Acid Trip Song a few times.

The last time it came on the radio, I thought toward my guardian angel, “Someone was doing the good drugs when he wrote the lyrics.”

A moment later, a thought popped into my head: that this song might well be part of the Alice In Wonderland movie.

It made sense: I’ve always disliked Alice In Wonderland because of its creepy-disturbing factor, and this song had the same kind of disconnect at its back.

The song ended, and the DJ said, “From the Alice In Wonderland soundtrack released last Tuesday…”

Good call, huh?

I’m still not keen on the fireflies, ten million of them or otherwise, but at least now I know why I want to change the station. I’ll just have to get faster at it.


  1. Jason Block

    The name of the song is “Fireflies” by Owl City. To put my trivia hat on, he is a one man synthesizer band. When I first listened to it, I thought it would be a perfect kids song because of it’s lack of range and simplistic lyrics. To think Disney chose it(or Tim Burton did) for the soundtrack DOES make perfect sense. I agree with you that it sounds like it was written by either a drug-tripped hippie, or Kiddo #2 🙂 (For the simplistic view…nothing more. 🙂 )

  2. tallgirl

    I don’t remember any songs with lyrics in the movie… my guess is it’s in the movie as music only and/or is a background song for the credits, which I didn’t sit all the way through. Don’t know if that helps any or not. Either way, I don’t think the new Alice is really a movie for kids… there’s too much that’s dark/disturbing/shocking about it. “Hugs from a million lightening bugs” goes right along with that, IMHO.

  3. whiskers

    I know you don’t like the song, but you should really see the music video. It will make TONS more sense afterward. Really, it’s about recapturing the innocence of youth and the excitement that makes some kids wiggle around in their PJs instead of going to sleep. If you look at it from the perspective of ‘childish imagination’ rather than ‘bad trip’ I think you might enjoy it more.

    1. Philangelus

      It’s entirely possible, and when I get my fast internet connection back, I’ll check it out again.

      It might be an innocence thing, but the bit about insomnia and wanting time to go slowly doesn’t fit with the childhood I remember. 🙂 (Well, maybe the insomnia, but that’s because I had too many exciting things to think about!)

  4. cricketB

    I’ve never seen the video, but I liked the song, until you pointed out the creepy side. (Short break while Cricket washes that image from her brain.)

    It’s like Nancy once described horses. Little girls think they’re romantic and sweet. Riders know they’re sweaty and stinky. You don’t put on pastel pinafores and ride three miles for an elegant picnic.

    The song reminds me of a comfortable, dreamy pre-sleep state, where nature entertains and looks after me. Yes, the fireflies are more like tiny sparkles with feathery (not not tickly) feet than 6-legged chitinous critters. Mystical, protective, glowing, incredibly light blanket.

  5. karen ^.,.^

    LOL – i absolutely love this song, and others by Owl City (and the video for the song). perhaps i’m just strange, but the song just makes me smile and feel happy. i suppose i wasn’t taking the lyrics quite so literally with the ten million fireflies and such… i have it on my play list for the book i’m writing and it usually puts me right in touch with my characters. guess you might not want to read anything i’ve written after hearing that, huh?? 🙂

    1. Philangelus

      As long as you don’t write Alice In Wonderland or anything that makes me wonder whether you and I live on the same planet, I think it’ll be fine. (I love SFF,so my definition of “reality” is rather flexible.)

      I have several songs that put me in touch with my characters but which I personally feel are embarrassingly bad songs. I tolerate them because when I listen to them, they remind me of someone (Josh, Gabriel, Bucky, etc) whom I love.

      I think I’m the one who’s strange because I don’t find the lyrics make me feel happy and I suspect that really was the effect they were going for.

      I don’t mind the chorus. It’s the worst earworm, though. I keep rehearing it for days in my head after hearing it on the radio.

  6. Rachel

    I remember something about how Owl City was formed by a guy who had insomnia and messed with his voice on the computer when he couldn’t sleep. All of his songs are kind of crazy like that, like Strawberry Avalanche and Saltwater Room. They do get annoying after the 1000000000th time the radio stations have played it. And they do play them all too often nowadays.

  7. Ken Rolph

    You should come to Australia in December. All the Christmas beetles come out. Every evening there is the soft putt-putt as they bounce against the fly screens trying to get inside to the light. Your kids can collect them and put them on each other. They are as big as the fingernail on your little finger and quite slow.
    Very young boys put them on girls hair. Slightly older boys put them carefully and silently on girls shoulders, hoping their will crawl inside their blouse so they can make a brave rescue. Fun for all.

    Mums and radios. You made me recall an incident from my childhood. It must have been 1955 because it was before TV and I was not yet at school, but grown up enough to have this memory. We had a brown bakelite radio with black nobs on top of a low sideboard in the family room. My mum used to leave it on most of the day for background music. It was the era of Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other smoothies.
    One day something different came out of the speakers. My mum said, “What on earth’s that?” and turned it off. She went out of the room. I reached up and turned it back on, standing right in front of the radio so the sound waves could wash over me. As I stood there listening I suddenly understood that life was going to be a very interesting adventure. Something new was coming out of the radio:
    “One, two three o’clock, four o’clock rock. Five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock rock …”
    I’ve had my glad rags on ever since.

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