Closing Time (Semisonic song)

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"Closing Time"
Closing Time single.jpg
Single by Semisonic
from the album Feeling Strangely Fine
ReleasedMarch 1998[1]
  • 4:33 (album version)
  • 3:49 (single version)
Songwriter(s)Dan Wilson
Producer(s)Nick Launay
Semisonic singles chronology
"Closing Time"
"Singing in My Sleep"
Audio sample
Music video
"Closing Time" on YouTube

"Closing Time" is a ballad[6] by American rock band Semisonic. It was released in March 1998 as the lead single from their second studio album, Feeling Strangely Fine, and began to receive mainstream radio airplay on April 27.[1] Their signature song, it was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay. The single reached number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and the top 50 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It is certified silver in the latter country and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1999.[7][8]

While the song is about people leaving a bar at closing time (also called last call), and widely interpreted as such, drummer Jacob Slichter has also indicated that the song was written by Wilson "in anticipation of fatherhood" and that it is about "being sent forth from the womb as if by a bouncer clearing out a bar".[9][10]

Background and writing[edit]

Prior to the composition "Closing Time", Semisonic would usually end their concerts with the song "If I Run". The band grew tired of playing this song every night and so Wilson set out to write a new song that they could play at the end of their set.[11] Wilson's girlfriend was pregnant at the time and although Wilson did not set out consciously to write a song about giving birth, he has stated that "Part way into the writing of the song, I realized it was also about being born."[11]

The song ends with a quote attributed to Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Chris Applebaum.[12] It features two continuous shots, running side by side on the screen. One side shows the band playing the song in a rehearsal space. The other side features a woman (played by Denise Franco) as the singer Dan Wilson's girlfriend. As the video progresses, Dan and his girlfriend switch sides of screen, as they attempt to meet up. At the end of the video, they both wind up at the same nightclub. However, they still end up missing each other by mere seconds and never meet. The "trick" of the video is that each shot was done as one long, continuous shot, with no cuts or editing, and therefore relies on proper timing to get the two sides of the video lined up properly.

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick of Billboard magazine described "Closing Time" as an "instantly memorable rock ditty", saying, "...the core of 'Closing Time' is pure pop with a sticky chorus that will have you singing along before the end of your first listen. This could be the jam that establishes Semisonic as the top 40 heroes they deserve to be."[13] Doug Reece of the same magazine called the song "impossibly hooky".[14] "Closing Time" was placed at numbers 19 in Rolling Stone's 2007 list of the "20 Most Annoying Songs"[15]

Track listings[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reece, Doug (May 9, 1998). "MCA's Semisonic Strikes a Chord with 'Closing Time'" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 19. p. 93. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  2. ^ Price, Walter (January 7, 2019). "A Take Me Home Three-Way: SEMISONIC – "Closing Time" (1998)". Global Texan Chronicles. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Classical Cover: Semisonic's Closing Time". Alto Riot.
  4. ^ "Dan Wilson On Mountain Stage". NPR. October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Collin (April 5, 2001). "Semisonic All About Chemistry MCA". Daily Nexus. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Verna, Paul (March 28, 1998). "Reviews & Previews – Albums" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 13. p. 55. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  7. ^ "41st Grammy Awards – 1999". Rock on the Net. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  8. ^ Wood, Olivia (January 15, 2020). "Episode 176: Semisonic". Song Exploder. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
  9. ^ A Hit Single and the Heart-Wrenching Story Behind it, by Claudia Ricci, The Huffington Post, posted February 8, 2011, retrieved February 27, 2011
  10. ^ "Perennial Co-Writer Returns With An Album Of His Own". April 15, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Schlansky, Evan (October 14, 2019). "Semisonic Success Story: An Interview with Dan Wilson". American Songwriter. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "Production Notes" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 19. May 9, 1998. p. 80. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  13. ^ Flick, Larry (February 21, 1998). "Reviews & Previews – Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 8. p. 64. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  14. ^ Reece, Doug (April 4, 1998). "Popular Uprisings" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 14. p. 12. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  15. ^ "The 20 Most Annoying Songs". Rolling Stone. July 2, 2007. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007.
  16. ^ "Closing Time" – US CD single promo (Compact disc). Semisonic. MCA Records. 1998. 9765.CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ a b c " – Semisonic – Closing Time". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  18. ^ "Closing Time" – UK CD single (CD sleeve). Semisonic. MCA Records. 1998. MCSTD 48098.CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. ^ "Closing Time" – UK cassette single (Cassette sleeve). Semisonic. MCA Records. 1999. MCSc 40221, 155 645-4.CS1 maint: others (link)
  20. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3543." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  21. ^ " – Semisonic – Closing Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ " – Semisonic – Closing Time". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  25. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  26. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  27. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Semisonic Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  31. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Semisonic". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Hit Tracks of '98" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 63 no. 12. December 14, 1998. p. 20. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  35. ^ "RPM's Top 50 Alternative Tracks of '98". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  36. ^ "British single certifications – Semisonic – Closing Time". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved October 2, 2020.

External links[edit]