In an interview with EW, Adam Young (aka laptop sensation Owl City) admits his no. 1 single “Fireflies” and the Postal Service in general “are pretty similar,” but at the same time claims he’s “a lot more of a Death Cab fan.” For example, he’d only heard Give Up “a little bit” before people started pointing out the pilfering:

I’ve become more of a fan having started Owl City, actually. I had some friends in high school that would have it playing in their cars and stuff. It was cool, but it never really caught my ear. It’s kind of ironic, looking back at it, because a lot of people do relate the two projects. I can totally see it now, but I didn’t really then, for what it’s worth.

It’s worth a lot, now that you’ve sold over 100,000 fireflies. There’s more. In the form of an unintentional punchline. (Speaking of which, yes, that’s real merch pictured above. Real sad merch.)

Via EW:

EW: A lot of people wish they would put out another album. Is that something you would look forward to hearing?

ADAM YOUNG: I think [Give Up] left everyone asking, “What are they going to do next?” Since no one has done anything quite like it, it’s almost like everyone is naturally saying this is the next step — maybe that’s me, maybe that’s this record.


Comments (254)
  1. Bob Seger  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

    I am a rocker from way back. This don’t rock. Bob Seger says “Turn the page”

    Listen to BrakesBrakesBrakes or just Brakes kiddies. You will be happier.

  2. Brendan  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

    i wouldn’t even wipe my ass with this guy’s lyric booklet because it would be an insult to my poo.

  3. I know you were trying to be funny, Brendan, but OC’s lyrics are actually pretty clever.

    • No, they’re not.

      In fact, OC take Deathcab and Postal’s style of noticing poetry in the mundane objects and situations around us, copy it, yet completely ignore the need for the metaphors and other devices to hold /actual/ meaning to them.

      OC just spew out meaningless “cute” sounding similies and metaphors that have no bearing on each other. At all.

      It’s mostly meaningless, painfully so.

      • 1.Deathcab and PS didnt envent poetry about situations or any type of poetry…..they copied it from others..millions of years ago…..when they WERE invented

        2. Their similies and metaphors most likely are not meaningless, ever think they are referring to somthing about themselves or another person? if you think about the lyrics of some of the songs Ex. Fireflies….it is obviously referring to Insomnia. if you think they are meaningless then you need to look at the obvious…..and get over it

  4. I’ve always said that Owl City is the mutant scene-girl loving monster rip off of The Postal Service. I think this guy knew exactly what he was doing. I mean for godsake his vocals are just about the same as Ben Gibbard. I love The Postal Service and I feel like that Owl City thinks he is the new Postal Service, but really all he did was take this genre to a new low. He has packaged and published this to hot topic and made a monster. Ben Gibbard should kick his ass.

  5. Zanderrr  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 +1

    You guys are all pathetic. Yeah they sound alike, but that in no way means that Owl City is a blatant ripoff of The Postal Service. Get off your high horses and accept that. You’re all pulling that stupid “I liked this type of music before it went mainstream and therefore I have the right to be a condescending asshole” card and it’s retarded. Owl City has brilliant lyrics, and to that guy who talked about both Owl City and DCFC using the lyrics “bursting at the seams,” are you kidding me? That’s a common phrase, idiot. Hundreds of bands have used those words. Jesus Christ, you all disgust me.

  6. grittychris  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

    i love message boards that end with someone saying “Jesus Christ, you all disgust me” :) that being said, this makes me feel like I’m in the Gap. Also, vocals kinda reminded me of recent stereogum BTW Freelance Whales, which also makes me feel like I’m in the Gap

  7. leo  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

    I love how everyone is so indignant about ripping off the Postal Service album as if it was at all innovative or interesting. It was decent, sure, but nothing special. Wake me when someone rips off a good album.

  8. wow this music is annoying shit. lsuch ridiculously juvenile lyrics. who listens to this garbage?

  9. Bleauughghhhh……holy shit this music annoying as hell. and such ridiculously juvenile lyrics. who listens to this garbage?

  10. Brendan has the comment of the year;

    “i wouldn’t even wipe my ass with this guy’s lyric booklet because it would be an insult to my poo.”

  11. “I think they all come from the Northwest coast anyway. Maybe everybody from that area sings the same and makes electronic music.”



    MAYBEE WE CAN MAKE A RECORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    try head first this time!

  12. John  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    Owl City’s early albums showcase a different sort of over-the-top bubblegum pop sound that was more different, and much better, than the new, Postal Service-emulating sound. Maybe I’m Dreaming and Of June are INFINITELY better albums than the shitty sell-out “debut” Ocean Eyes. Not to mention that Fireflies is the shittiest song on Owl City’s shittiest album. Disgusting. Owl City was already a guilty pleasure, but now has completely sold out.

  13. crhis  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    Did I just hear “sock hop underneath my bed?”

    All time quarterback. QUEL CHANCE!

    I’m not even going to google these lyrics…

  14. the red feather  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    This band is the new “”indie band” that everyone loves” and it sickens me

  15. Researher  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    o tired of the ubiquitous ‘rip off’ accusations that you see in connection with everything you read about Owl City. If you can jump down off of your high horse and take a quick listen to some of the people listed as ‘influences’ on OC’s MySpace page it is very easy to see how it is possible to come up with his sound without ever having given The Postal Service a second thought, Kazumi Totaka (of video game fame) is mentioned and I never heard anything more like the beginning of ‘Fireflies’ than the ‘secret song’ found in his ‘Pikmin2′ game. DJ Encore is another influence that shows up obviously in Ocean Eyes. As far as the singing goes, Youngs voice is marginal and I honestly don’t think he could sing much differently if he tried. This young man has managed to fuze so many genres together to come up with winsome, whimsical music. It’s not the musical main course. It’s the dessert.

  16. rv  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    postal service + radio formula + appeal to the christian market = owl city

    • you forgot to subtract talent

      • Researcher  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

        Obviously wasting my breath here. Pearls before swine and all….

        • I hate spreading negativity, but your last two sentences in your previous post on here made me throw up in my mouth a bit. “It’s not the musical main course. It’s the dessert.”? Really? I hope you’re joking… I was going to ignore it, but yeah… His music is neither “winsome” nor “whimsical”, I mean, I’m glad for the people who do enjoy his music as it does seem to be, if nothing else, harmless, although entirely unlistenable, but there is a major difference between whimsy and artificial happiness made to impress Radio Disney’s primary listening demographic.
          also, “so many genres?” I only hear electronica

  17. Owl City sound like Ben Gibbard getting bitch slapped by one of the Jonas Brothers.

  18. Isabel  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    this is nothing like postal service, they do not sing about their quirkiness and Ben Gibbard is not in constant need of help to make him sound like a robot and whisper about stupid crap.

  19. funoka  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    The stats show the kid reached the kids — the Owl City “Fireflies” YouTube video has 54,000 comments — a five star rating by 50,000 plus viewers, and over 12 total million views. And take a look at the comments — some of them are pretty intense.

    BTW — need to get a plug in for Old 97s lead singer Rhett Miller’s song “Fireflies” — not the same song! — a duet with Rachel Yamagata, from his fantastic 2006 solo record “The Believer.”

  20. This song is terrible, however I’m thinking of publishing the lyrics as a childrens novel.

  21. Nick Jonas (spy)  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    No one is as wimpy as Adam Young. You thought some indie bands are pretty twee, jangly — whatever. But Owl City is like a mountain of newborn, confused kitties.

  22. While Owl City takes a little from the Postal Service, they sound even more like Mae. Listen to the album Destination: Beautiful and try and tell me it’s not a complete rip-off.

  23. Josh Germeroth  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    Holy Shit this is bad.

  24. Japandabear  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    The new Owl City reminds me more of Trance/Techno than Postal Service. It is too clean and with huge bass beats (good ole 808s). I can see that they are both similar, but seriously everyone with a computer in the past three years has done this. Adam Young just had better samples, catchier lyrics, and a better voice then all the other kids that were doing it.

    Yes, Postal Service was awesome, but really Owl City is nothing like it. It sounds more like Basshunter (Every Morning) than Ben Gibbard. Oh but I forgot, vi sitter i ventrilo och spelar dota was a Give Up B side.

  25. the ricards  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    fuck this auto-tuned jerk.

  26. Shane  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    The scariest costume of this year’s Halloween:

  27. wunderkin  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    Wonder what the dude from Wheetus has to say on this one?

    PS – OC is pure crap

  28. jim  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    aw, it’s “just desserts” for the death cab guy. you have to admit, their first albums were nothing but bad built to spill & elliot smith impersonations! things just coming back full circle to him.

  29. This Fireflies song is the only song I’ve ever heard of where the chord progression doesn’t make any fucking sense. Seriously, listen to the chorus. None of those chords sound like they’re part of a coherent musical phrase. It’s a new low in incompetence.

  30. Bubba Wilson  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    A hip hop blog that I like to read (yeah, I’m that guy) had a nice review of some of the billboard hot 100 tracks.

    This is what The Postal Service would sound like if Ben Gibbard was more of a pussy.”

  31. Krissy  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    Why do you people care so much? I think they both sound good, so I don’t care. I’m just enjoying the music. Get a life.

  32. Bill Martin  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    You can’t get 1,000 hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs.

    1/10 of a hug each

  33. I’ve been bitching to my friends about this so much…… much to say. But i think all i’ll say is this makes me appreciate the Postal Service even more, gosh they are great.

  34. Oh, and Ben Gibbard SHOULD kick Young’s ass.

  35. Tab Numlock  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    Are you people deaf? TPS sounds like techno-Beatles compared to OC which is much more innovative. Adam is going to be a megastar. And I haven’t been wrong about anything since the OJ verdict. Forget about Fireflies and listen to Skydiver, Meteor Shower, This is the Future, Designer Skyline…hell, most of them are good. I was raised on Bach and I know good music when I hear it. You are only missing out by being a snob. The fact that Adam’s music makes you feel good is just a side benefit to the fact that it is truly is interesting and stimulating. I downloaded the whole discography off bittorrent and then bought a $25 T-shirt to assuage my guilt. That’s how much I like it. I haven’t paid for music in 20 yrs but I had to give something back for the joy this music has given me. Fuck you in advance.

    • With the exception of the expletive at the end of your comment I agree completly. I just hope that Adam won’t allow himself to be overly influenced by a recording company wanting him to crank out ‘hits’ and stop making songs like the ones that you mentioned, Also among my personal favorites are Dear Vienna, Rainbow Veins and I’ll Meet You There, They take me on private vacations to my happy place, Sorry if that disgusts so many people here. Let the wretching begin.

  36. scwg  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    dream of evan and chan was the only good “postal service” song before gibbard’s lyrics went to complete shit. that album is mid nineties aphex twin etc. watered down to starbucks concentration. even though i could give a fuck about a new postal service record, its pretty hard to deny that this is a shameless xerox. the instrumentation, lyrical content, the delivery, the syrup garbage vox. total fucking rip. apparently a pretty easy formula to crack

  37. People still like Death Cab?

  38. sillymakid  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    And the Jesus Freak Myspace following is actually thousands and thousands of 14 year old girls. My daughter is one of them. She played this for me about a month ago and five seconds into the song I said, “This sounds just like Postal Service!” She liked Postal Service when she was an eight year old and still loves Dntel’s Life Is Full of Possibilities”–which in my opinion is a perfect album, far better than “Give Up”. But I think the simplistic, juvenile, full-of-wonder lyrics of Owl City are more appealing to her Teen-Idol sensibilities. I’d much rather pop in Postal Service of Dntel than Owl City, but at least Owl City is slightly less annoying than some of the other Pop-Chart drivel she might have brought home.

  39. Pat  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Not an owl city fan…. but god. Stereogum draws the most opinionated pretentious assholes ever. I find that most people who truly appreciate and know good music, don’t waste their time bashing on bands they dont like. Everyone has their own taste.

    It’s particularly ironic, because Stereogum is the most famous music blog out there. You bash popular music on the most popular “indie” music blog.

  40. Bender Bending Rodriguez  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    So ripping off Merritt/Magnetic Fields (“10 million fireflies…10,000 lightning bugs” — come on, man, it’s like this song was written by a record company’s legal department!) and Tamborello equals #1?

    I blame the Postal Service. They should’ve put out that damn second record by now if they didn’t want no-talent auto-tuned hacks to steal their schtick!

  41. Bender Bending Rodriguez  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Not to mention that the dude is trying as much as humanly possible to sound just like an auto-tuned Ben G.

    Still, I blame The Postal Service…

  42. One Guy  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Seriously, my daughter is 2 and she would take a dump on this song. Give kids some credit, the know good music when they hear it. This sounds like something from a Disney channel show.

  43. ryan  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    i didnt even know who owl city was before this.

    unfortunately, now i do.

  44. Stevie  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Wow, a pretentious 2-yr old. You must be so proud. If kids aren’t buying this music then who the heck is buying it up? Your comment makes less sense than Owl City’s lyrics.

  45. KB  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    To be honest, I own and liked the Postal Service album. Yeah, when I heard “Fireflies” I thought, “Hmm, Ben Gibbard much?”, but as it turns out, I like the Owl City album much more than The Postal Service. The PS album is fine for aural structure, but Ocean Eyes is more of a coherent album of songs.
    As for ‘ripping off’ from other people…it’s been going on for years. BTW, Nirvana didn’t rip off Boston…it was the Pixies they ripped off. Kurt admitted it and was a huge Pixies fan. Hell, Gemma Hayes used the “the roads don’t love you” line in “Happy Sad” which was from the Magnetic Fields, though she gave credit. And iI adore Gemma. She’s amazing. Big deal. Am I supposed to be pissed off at Breanne Duren for sounding like my beloved Beth Sorrentino of the criminally overlooked Suddenly, Tammy? No…because Breanne’s album is amazing. So I’m not going to hate on Adam for happening to sound like Ben.
    And yes…I’ve noticed a lot of pretentious a-holes on Stereogum…but they’re everywhere. It doesn’t keep me from liking what I like, and it won’t do that for anyone else, either.

  46. It’s good to see some of the 14yo fans you guys rip so much are smarter than you and use google before posting. If you did, you would find that it’s not even the one man behind Owl City singing…

    It’s Matt Thiessen from Relient K. He has sung that way his whole career which coincidentally has been roughly a year after Gibbard started DCFC. Why didn’t anyone accuse him of copying his voice the last decade he’s been making pop/punk and now more poppy music? Oh yeah….it’s because there wasn’t a blippy-bloopy electronic-inspired soundtrack for it to go along with.

    Grow up. People sound like other people by chance and sometimes even songs made on opposite ends of the world by people who’ve never heard each other have similarities. It doesn’t mean anyone copied off of anyone, it just means they’re making music to make music and with a limited number of notes to play with, things on occasion can sound similar.

    Now please proceed with discussing the actual musical content. (I personally think it’s good but probably just because I used to love Relient K, but as for electronic sounding stuff, Postal Service beats Owl City and probably always will.)

  47. captainP  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    soo i think you all need to get the hell over this. so what if he sounds like postal service? how many bands and artists out there do you know that sound almost exactly like someone else? and on purpose too? it’s really not even that big of a deal. the majority of artists copy the style and sounds of other artists. IT HAPPENS. jesus christ…

    • jean  |   Posted on Nov 12th, 2009 0

      Well Captain P though im sure you only listen to bands like seether and shinedown whom scream “No Origniality” theres a lot of music out there that does not blantly rip off bands music. Whom have their own sound.

      Or maybe im just pissed that Owl Citys getting the airplay that the Postal service never got.

  48. LOGAN  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    WRONG this is adam youngs WORST WORK this song was used a a fan magnet i think a pre-teen girl fan magnet if you listen to port blue or swimming with dolphins or even a different owl city song you will see something you obviously dont see

  49. Bored Gord  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Been watching a bit of the CMAs tonight. I think we should forget our differences and band together against the common enemy. These ‘hat acts’ haven’t changed for decades.Wish I had satellite TV…

  50. I’m glad I never gave this, as one commenter cleverly put it, Fowl Shitty, a listen.

    Are the Postal Service going to come out with any new material any time soon?

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