Time Flies

Album: The Incident (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • This epic eleven-and-a-half minute number is a track from British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree's tenth studio album, The Incident. It is part of a 55-minute song cycle, which occupies the whole of the album's first disc. Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steven Wilson described it as "a slightly surreal song cycle about beginnings and endings and the sense that 'after this, things will never be the same again.'"
  • Wilson described this song as "sentimental" and the "centerpiece" of the album. An edited version was released as a single.
  • Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree is recognized by those in the know as one of the world's premier drummers. He is the author of a couple of instructional drum books and won the Modern Drummer magazine readers' poll for "best progressive drummer of the year" consecutively in 2007, 2008 and 2009. At around the 10:30 mark on this song, Harrison shows his skills when he takes the song's recurrent beat and flips it around so it almost sounds like he's playing it backwards. In an interview with examiner.com, he was asked if this was something he just thought of doing on the fly. Harrison replied: "Well, I always think like that. I actually wrote a book in the late 1980s called Rhythmic Illusions, which is about literally creating illusions with percussion rhythms – the way it sounds like you're playing backwards, or when you're messing around with the perception of where the "1" is, or making it sound like you're playing a different tempo even though you're not playing a different tempo.

    There are all sorts of clever tricks you can do with rhythm if you truly understand people's common perception of rhythm. If you understand what people are expecting, then you can mess around with that and that's when you can create some really rhythmical illusions."
  • The original inspiration for the song cycle came to Wilson as he became caught up in a highway traffic jam while driving past an accident. He explained in publicity materials: "There was a sign saying 'POLICE – INCIDENT' and everyone was slowing down to rubber neck to see what had happened," he recalls. "Afterwards, it struck me that 'incident' is a very detached word for something so destructive and traumatic for the people involved. And then I had the sensation that the spirit of someone that had died in the accident entered into my car and was sitting next to me. The irony of such a cold expression for such seismic events appealed to me, and I began to pick out other 'incidents' reported in the media and news. I wrote about the evacuation of teenage girls from a religious cult in Texas, a family terrorizing its neighbors, a body found floating in a river by some people on a fishing trip, and more. Each song is written in the first person and tries to humanize the detached media reportage."
  • In this song Wilson reflects on his mortality and celebrates 1967, which was not only a milestone 12 months for rock music, but also the year he was born.

Comments: 2

  • Steve from Trabuco Canyon, CaPorcupine Tree plays their video behind them during this song in concert. So during the song they are in the video, very cool. The song structure reminds me of the Pink Floyd song Dogs from Animals which was originally called "You've got to be crazy". Also a favorite of mine.
  • Garrett from St. Petersburg, FlThis song is abput the singer, Steven Wilson, basically looking back at the begining of his life "I was born in '67...." and saying that he didnt get the most out of it, and gives the audience advice "the best thing that you can do is to tak whatever comes to you cuz time flies" and make the most of your time while your still around. He goes on to say that people would tell him to try to make the best of it "sha said luck is all you make it, you just reach out and take it". He tries to see his life now as he wants to when he was younger "and laughing under summer showers is still the way i see you now". then he tries to understand time, how it breaks down but with no markers. he then thinks about trying to talk to someone about how he wants to start over but he doesnt know where to start. its a very good song, very deep and meaningful to me. its my favorite one on this cd
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