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Owl City’s emo standby ‘Fireflies’ is back—as a meme

It was only a matter of time before it came back into our lives.


Vanna Vasquez

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 29, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 1:23 am CDT

The internet is a place where one day you can be jamming your favorite throwback hit, and the next day it’s a meme to all of your friends.

Back in 2009 Owl City released its breakthrough hit “Fireflies,” which had everyone hooked with its synthesized sound and bedroom-window romance. “You would not believe your eyes” back then if someone told you it would become a major hit eight years later.

The “Fireflies” meme surfaced in May, but took flight in June. It’s elegant and simple: The meme features the song playing in weird videos.


With any meme, there had to be a starting point that launched the viral trend. According to the YouTube channel Behind the Meme, the “Fireflies” meme originated in 2010 with a video that featured adorable photos of cats and dogs, along with a remixed version of “Fireflies” as background music.

Many familiar with the meme and song are also wondering just how Owl City received “a thousand hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs,” as singer Adam Young put it in the song.

Owl City broke down this question and clarified just how he, sole member Adam Young, received his hugs.

There’s no telling how long the meme fire will flame on, so enjoy it in all its glory while you can.

Make sure to check out the song that started it all, emo thrills and all.

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*First Published: Jun 29, 2017, 1:32 pm CDT