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Closing Time by Semisonic

Album: Feeling Strangely FineReleased: 1998Charted:
  • This song has a very literal meaning - being asked to leave a bar - but it goes much deeper than that. Semisonic lead singer Dan Wilson wrote the song when his wife was pregnant with their first child, which turned out to be a daughter named Coco. "It's all about being born and coming into the world, seeing the bright lights, cutting the cord, opening up into something deeper and more universal," Wilson told Mojo.

    Shortly before recording was scheduled to begin, Wilson's wife experienced complications with her pregnancy, and Coco was born three months premature weighing just 11 ounces. Wilson's bandmates offered to postpone the sessions, but he asked to move forward with them, since there was very little he could do in the hospital. This song took on a new meaning with the line "I know who I want to take me home," as Wilson was looking forward to the day he could bring Coco home.

    That day finally came nearly a year after Coco was born; she left the hospital in February 1998 on the same day "Closing Time" was released as a single. According to Wilson, the ambulance driver who transported them home asked if he was the same Dan Wilson from the band. That's when the full gravity of the song hit him, and he realized how much Coco influenced it.
  • This remains a popular song at bars when they are ready to pack it up. There is no mistaking the message: "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." Semisonic vocalist and songwriter Dan Wilson told The Hollywood Reporter in a 2010 interview: "I really thought that that was the greatest destiny for 'Closing Time,' that it would be used by all the bartenders, and it was actually. It still is. I run into people all the time who tell me, Oh I worked in this one bar for four years and I heard your song every single night."
  • Wilson explained in an interview with American Songwriter that he wasn't consciously trying to write a song about the birth of his first born child, but it became obvious as he was writing the tune. Said Wilson: "I was initially trying to write a song to end the Semisonic shows with. We had always ended with a song called 'If I Run,' and I really liked it a lot. John and Jake, the other two members of the band, were always impatient with ending the show with the same song. So I set out to write a new closer for the set, and I just thought, 'Oh, closing time.' Because all the bars that I would frequent in Minneapolis, they would yell out 'closing time.' There was one bar where a guy always would scream really loud, 'You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here,' and I guess that always stuck in my mind.

    So I started writing this song and it's just, 'Okay, you've got to go out into the light, make your way home, or wherever you're going to be.' Part way into the writing of the song, I realized it was also about being born. My wife and I were expecting our first kid very soon after I wrote that song. I had birth on the brain, I was struck by what a funny pun it was to be bounced from the womb."
  • Wilson told The Hollywood Reporter how he wrote this song in 20 minutes: "My bandmates were tired of ending our sets with the same song, so there was kind of an uprising where they demanded something different to end our nights with. So I thought, 'OK, I'll write a song to close out the set,' and then boom, I wrote 'Closing Time' really fast.

    There was one little adjustment later, which I credit to our A&R guy, Hans Haedelt. He said, 'It's too simple. You need to break up the rhythm of the verses.' So that line, 'Gather up your jackets, move it to the exits, I hope you have found a friend' is the first time it deviates from the rhythmic pattern. He was right - it's a great moment in the song."
  • The song features in the 2011 romantic comedy movie Friends with Benefits in a scene where Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are having sex. She asks him to distract her with what she calls, 'A Third Eye Blind song' and he proceeds to sing this tune. Dan Wilson told The Hollywood Reporter that seeing the scene in the trailer made him laugh. He said: "It is kind of funny to be looking at it from another perspective. And while I really like Justin Timberlake's music and singing, when he's doing a Dan Wilson impression, I'm not sure I like that. But it's very cute. I enjoyed that slight mockery. And the thing about Third Eye Blind is really funny."
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Comments: 14

This is an amazing song! What is even more amazing is that anyone could say they don't like it! My guess is that those who claim not to like it are not yet parents. The song was originally written with the birth of the songwriters first born child. The lyrics came from different sources all relating to him in someway. One line in the refrain makes complete sense and all of the others just seem to fill in. That line says"every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end." Listen to the song carefully and you will understand the lyrics involving birth and being parents. You will also understand the bar scene, but think about those lyrics and the entire meaning of life! I am not sure if Dan Wilson meant for these lyrics to mean so much and be so strong, but don't those nine words relate to every single thing that happens in our lives everywhere. Everything has a beginning and everything has an end. Everything! Including life and death. Think of every beginning and every end in your life. Did Dan Wilson mean for it to be that deep? I don't know and he might tell, but if nothing else it is deep and truthful! I know in my life that "every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end." That applies to happy and sad. Life and death! That isn't so deep, or is it???Brian - Clio, Mi
Moron that I am, I heard this song when I was thinking about leaving my first wife for someone I'd been attracted to for years. The every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end, convinced me that as one relationship ended another could begin. What an f.....g mistake that turned out to be.Don - Manville, Nj
I think it has to do with both. It's about a bar in a literal sense and birth in the metaphorical sense.Justing - Orlando , Fl
This song gained some popularity at Major League ballparks for a while when the 9th inning pitcher, aka "the Closer", would come into the game to try and save the game. It didn't last long in this role as most closers want a rockin' song to pump them up ("Enter Sandman" for example) as they warm up and this song doesn't fit that bill.John - Missoula, Mt
It actually does make sense if you have any desire to look into the lyrics. Not to mention this lyric: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end". The new beginning being birth and the 'other beginning's end' being death. There's an old saying/wive's tale/whatever you want to call it that when one person dies, another is born, so this line makes sense.Emera - Syracuse, Ny
As a late baby boomer/cusper, I don't listen to a lot of music from the 1990s or 2000s. But this was one I really liked. I thought I'd read it was a metaphor for graduating from college. Makes much more sense lyrically that way.Richard - Avon, In
Ok people. Some of you obviously don't fully understand this song......Open all the doors and let you out into the world means exiting the womb. Secondly turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl means the begining of life. ONE LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL SO FINISH YOUR WHISKEY OR BEER MEANS WHEN PREGNANT ITS BEST FOR THE CHILD IF THE MOTHER FINISHES (STOPS) CONSUMING WHISKEY OR BEER. The Child doesn't have to go home but he/she can't stay here (as in the womb). Time for you to go out to the places you will be from means exactly that. This room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come (as in the womb won't be open till another pregnancy). DUH! any questions?!?!?!?!?!Kevin - Lexington, Oh
Yo wtf? Number 1 this is a good song. Number 2 how can you say what it was inspired by is weird? Having a kids is one of the biggest things that happens to a person, you try having a kid and see if it phases you at least a little bit. Number 3 maybe if you tried really listening to it you'd get it. Its deeper than just a song. I mean c'mon have some class and sum balls!Brennan - Westhampton, Ny
This is one of the worst songs to ever hit the radios! Instant radio change when this comes on!Jenny - West Hills, Ca
yea what song was inspired from is kinda weird...but you can't deny its a good song....huge hit of the 90'sMadalyn - Greensburg, Pa
The ONLY good thing about this song is that it was covered, albeit in part on Weird Al Yankovic's polka track on "Running with Scissors". One more thing: What does last-call time in a bar have to do with some guy's kid being born? I don't get it.Darrell - Eugene
This has got to be one of the most pathetic songs I've heard. Nothing makes me switch to ipod quicker!Jack - Hamilton, New Zealand
Perhaps Semisonic is technically a one hit wonder, but this is certainly not their only good song.

"Chemisty" "Over my Head" and "Singing in my Sleep" are some of their other great songs.
James - Bridgeport, Ct
Why is this listed as a hidden track? It was the first song on the disc, for crying out loud!Joshua - Twin Cities, Mn
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