American Music Awards
Owl City, "Fireflies"
Amidst the bevy of irony-laced synths and AutoTuned hooks currently saturating the pop landscape, Owl City's No. 1 hit "Fireflies" is a welcome refreshment. The phantasmagoric, electro-pop song is the brainchild of producer and singer/songwriter Adam Young, who admittedly owes a heavy debt to the Postal Service and Death Cab For Cutie. That said, his debut single is rich, nuanced, and uniquely constructed. Software horns, keys, echoes, shakers, xylophones and pitter-patter drums provide a blippy, almost childlike backdrop, but it's the pianos and guitars that really crack the song wide open. Its lyrics -- "'Cause I get a thousand hugs/From 10,000 lightning bugs/As they try to teach me how to dance" -- might come across as sensory overkill, but they're also the reason why "Fireflies" has made the impressive climb from Young's basement to the top of the Hot 100. Culling and reinterpreting influences is the process behind many a pop hit, and so far this year, no artist has done so more organically than Young with "Fireflies." --Ben Sheehan