Owl City is an electronica/pop project of Adam Young. The Minnesota native began recording his tunes in his parents' basement in between shifts working at a warehouse. Initial interest in his music was generated by visitors to his MySpace site, where his songs racked up millions of page views before he signed to Universal Republic. Young told Rolling Stone that his mundane job loading up trucks helped him develop his dreamy, atmospheric sound: "About two years ago I was working at a Coca-Cola warehouse all day," Young said. "It allowed me to sort of dream up these projects. One wound up being Owl City. I thought through how I wanted it to sound, how I wanted the records to look, everything. Sometimes working in a monotonous environment can really free up your imagination."
Recording in a windowless basement also helped said Young. He explained: "A lot of it has to do with me being by myself while creating it; no producers, no engineers. And that approach allows me to think more freely, I think." He added that he used simple decorations to inspire his creativity. "I have a lot of landscape paintings to look at; lots of ethereal, dreamy nature photography. Having that stuff around really creeps in subconsciously to impact the music."
The song includes some unclear math:
Cause I'd get a thousand hugs
From 10,000 lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance
Young clarified the reasoning behind his arithmetic after being asked on Twitter to explain whether "each firefly hugs you 1,000 times, or do only 1/10th of the bugs give you a hug?"
"I was the recipient of 1,000 hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs for a grand total of 10,000,000 hugs," he explained in reply. "As the lyrics of the song clearly state, the average layperson would not believe their eyes if 10,000,000 fireflies were to illuminate planet Earth, nor would the average person conclude by natural instinct that 10,000 lightning bugs, acting as a collective group, are capable of embracing a human being 1,000 times without difficulty."
"By the same token, a gathering of lightning bugs in such vast numbers form a sort of 'swarm,' and a swam can collectively surround a human and deliver a 'hug' that a single firefly, acting according to the dictates of his own conscience, simply cannot," Young added. "Consequently, I was embraced 1,000 times by 10,000 luminescent insects."