100,000 Fireflies

"100,000 Fireflies"
Single by The Magnetic Fields
from the album Distant Plastic Trees
ReleasedSeptember 1991
GenreTwee pop, indie pop
LabelHarriet Records
Songwriter(s)Stephin Merritt

"100,000 Fireflies" is the first single by the American indie pop band The Magnetic Fields, taken from their first studio album Distant Plastic Trees, released in 1991. It is known for its bleak, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and black humour[1] and for Susan Anway's sparse, soprano vocal performance.[2] The song saw play on alternative and college radio stations on its release and slowly grew into a cult classic, becoming "the ultimate staple" of indie mixtape culture during the 1990s.[3]

Because of its re-release in 1995 as part of the 2 for 1 Distant Plastic Trees/The Wayward Bus album, Glide magazine named it the second best modern rock song of the previous decade in 2004.[4]

Music critic Tom Ewing ranked the song at number 11 in his list of the "Top 100 Singles of the 90s", and said that, "for '100,000 Fireflies' everything is trebly and close, the drum reduced to a stern background thud and the song almost completely driven by the cycling, calliope-tinted keyboards and Amway’s cut-glass singing. Like the song and the situation it describes, the result is a perfect mix of intimacy with claustrophobia."[5]


  1. ^ "100,000 Fireflies". allmusic.com. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  2. ^ "The Magnetic Fields - 100,000 Fireflies". Stylus magazine. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Twee as Fuck - The Story of Indie Pop". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  4. ^ "20 Top Modern Rock Songs Of The Past Decade (1994-2004)". Glide magazine. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  5. ^ Ewing, Tom (8 December 1999). "11. THE MAGNETIC FIELDS – "100,000 Fireflies"". FreakyTrigger. Retrieved 8 January 2017.