Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Owl City

Owl City

Date: Dec 14 2009

Themes: Alternative, Music

Grammar: Definite & Indefinite Articles


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Go Super to Listen Go Super!

In music, there is a fine line between being influenced by another band, and ripping that band off. And a lot of people think that Adam Young of the hot new band Owl City has crossed that line.

Critics point out the similarities between the soft, soothing electronic songs on Owl City’s debut album, Ocean Eyes, and the music of another electronic band, Postal Service. Postal Service’s 2003 album Give Up didn’t have a ton of commercial success, but it did earn a ton of fans. Now some of those fans are upset by how much success Owl City has had with the hit single “Fireflies,” which Young himself admits sounds “pretty similar” to Postal Service.

Find out if Ella and Beren think Owl City is a true original or just an imitation.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

Log in to Listen

2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Beren:  So, have you heard this band Owl City?

Ella:  Yes, I own the latest album, Ocean Eyes.

Beren:  I don’t know that much about the band, but I thought it was the Postal Service when I first heard it.

Ella:  They do sound quite similar, but I know there’s one dude and he writes a lot of the songs and does the keyboard and all the production, and I think it’s great. It’s really catchy.

Beren:  It’s like the number 1 album in America. It’s the big sleeper hit, which is unusual in this day and age.

Ella:  Yeah, ‘cause he’s so small. But I guess he used to be a part of another band.

Beren:  Well a lot of people are saying he’s just like a copycat. I mean, I’ve only heard that “Fireflies” song…

Ella:  Their other songs are pretty legit. He has one about going to the dentist, you know, it’s kind of traumatic, but he makes it fun to go to the dentist.

Beren:  People are saying it sounds a lot like Postal Service, which I have to agree with. I’ve only heard “Fireflies,” but people are saying that because Postal Service only had one album come out, that this guy took that sound and he’s able to repackage it in a different way and sell it to the public now, because the Postal Service never did that well.

Ella:  Yeah, I think he really targets the younger crowd, and the stuff he talks about is kinda…I don’t know that much about the Postal Service but I just remember their songs were a little deep, and his are a lot more fluffy, so maybe that’s why it took off.

Beren:  Ah, it’s for kids. People that are too young to know who Postal Service is.


Grammar Point

Go Super to learn "Definite & Indefinite Articles" from this lesson Go Super!


Go Super to take Quiz Go Super!


Lesson MP3

Go Super to download full lesson MP3 Go Super!

The iTEP® test

  • Schedule an iTEP® test and take the official English Practice Test.

    Take Now >


Go Super to Listen Go Super!

Ella is a big fan of the new band Owl City. Beren has only heard their hit song “Fireflies,” but she is surprised by how similar they sound to the band Postal Service. She agrees with the people who are saying that Owl City copied Postal Service’s sound.

But according to Ella, some of Owl City’s other songs sound more original. She especially likes their lighthearted lyrics. Ella thinks Owl City may be trying to reach a younger audience, whereas Postal Service has a more serious sound that appeals to more mature listeners.

Do you think Owl City ripped off Postal Service? Have you ever known anyone who was a copycat?



Log in to Comment




I like this,whatever happen to you,the moment you put on your headphone and play his songs,sad things go away,you can still feel the world is beautiful,and you are worth to live.

05:40 AM Jan 20 2013 |


United States

Hi, I’m a new member and i join to the page because I’m practically desperate to impove my english. Please….help!!!!!!

12:57 AM Dec 06 2011 |




11:27 AM Nov 14 2010 |



Saudi Arabia

Well Owl City sounds original to me, really nice song lyrics he makes.

10:33 AM Jul 27 2010 |




Well, i'm not sure if Adam Young had, or not, the intencion of ripp the Postal Service's sound. I think, whatever, that Owl City makes a good sound. The Postal Service can be, in this case, a font of inspiration for Young. It's normal in the worldmusic and we've some examples of artists that do like this.

12:25 PM May 05 2010 |




it's really very embarrassed by being named a ripping  off quy .Repackagings is hard to called a new in this day and age cause their just a fine line . Before we learning ,we need imitating, then make progressiving

05:23 PM Apr 18 2010 |

Dema amy


 i like owl city

02:38 AM Apr 06 2010 |



after this artickle i found songs of postal service, i liked it by the way :) 

but i can say , that it's not exactly the copycat, it's just similiar sound, voice, style,

for example i can't distinguish some rock bands or sth like that , but it doesn't mean that they are copycats .


and i know that many stars get their hits taking some parts of a lot of very old songs of 70's , 80's , and it is normal

for example Kanye West has a lof of tracks that are mixed from other old songs. 

09:42 AM Mar 05 2010 |


South Korea

i love him really much! he's totally cool

12:24 PM Dec 20 2009 |




Hummm I have never heard about that band Owl City such little Postal Service…I really like eletronic music,but that style is pretty "fluffy" to my ears :P hahaha

02:24 PM Dec 19 2009 |




they r not copycat:!!!

01:44 PM Dec 19 2009 |




I luv "fireflies"!Kiss

01:43 PM Dec 19 2009 |



i like their --the saltwater room!!!

12:08 PM Dec 19 2009 |



this is the 1st time i've heard about owl city and i thought i would like it because i really love postal service. buuuuut…. i've just seen the fireflies video on youtube and my 1st reaction was like rofl… it's ridiculously alike!! then… as i listened to the song i realized that though they sound similar there's no way i can like that song, it's just tooooo silly and doesn't please me at all. i'm downloading the whole record though, maybe the other songs are better… who knows.

12:24 PM Dec 18 2009 |




haven't heard of Postal Service yet, but i love Owl City

07:32 PM Dec 17 2009 |




late Cry



07:31 AM Dec 16 2009 |




"fireflies" is nice song and its PV is also cute, I like them as the individual musician not as copycat. I heard Postal Service but I don't think Owl City is a copycat.

In music scene there are always controversies about someone rip off someone's tune… In my opinion, it is natural musicians are influenced by old and great musicians. Copycats might do sleeper hit, but it couldn't last for a long time without own talent. Bands have been running top are true if their music sound copy for some people.

04:46 PM Dec 15 2009 |


United Arab Emirates

OWL CITY ROCKS !!! =D <3 i love his songs specially " fireflies " really awesome  . . hehe =P

11:58 AM Dec 15 2009 |




Laughinghi!!!owl  city!!i  like  your  song —the  saltwater  room vvery much!!!

i like your first  record,too!!i am  a  fan of  you~it  is  so  happy  to  fine you here!! 

10:11 AM Dec 15 2009 |




Why they put a photo of a guy shitting on the floor?

10:30 PM Dec 14 2009 |

Likes (20):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast