A Take Me Home Three-Way: SEMISONIC – “Closing Time” (1998)
Semisonic – ‘Feeling Strangely Fine (20th Anniversary Edition)’ is available now @ iTunes.
by Walter Price
1998 was a phenomenal year for alt-rock. Everlast, Garbage, Cake, and New Radicals were all riding high, and your car stereo couldn’t get enough. But one song, in particular, would go on to be a late night anthem for the ages. The song is “Closing Time” by Minneapolis’ Semisonic. From their seminal album ‘Feeling Strangely Fine’.
True story, I, for the last couple of decades, have taken this classic at face value. An ode to the last call, turn out the lights the party’s over… Recently, at a holiday gathering, a mate and I were discussing the virtues of 90s rock and he started to explain that this track was actually about songwriter Dan Wilson anticipating his first child. We argued with both sides claiming victory. Then, I got home.
After some digging I found this quote from Wilson, “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,”
I was mostly wrong. For a long time, it seems. I say mostly because I’m not the only one who has taken this track literally. I’ve heard this at closing-time in bars from LA, NYC to Berlin and many spots in-between. And with another quote, Wilson explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
However you’ve interpreted the song over the years, one thing is certain. It is here to stay. And that is cool. And as with most classics that soundtrack our lives, “Closing Time” has been covered many times over. And since I’ve, probably, heard them all, I thought it a good idea to share three of my faves.
‘Feeling Strangely Fine (20th Anniversary Edition)’ is available now.
The Gospel Youth
Danielle Ate the Sandwich
Directed by Chris Applebaum / Starring Denise Franco
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