Closing Time (Semisonic song)

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"Closing Time"
Single by Semisonic
from the album Feeling Strangely Fine
Released March 10, 1998
Format CD
Recorded mid-1997
Genre Alternative rock,[1] pop rock,[2] post-grunge
Length 4:33 (album version)
3:49 (single version)
Label MCA
Writer(s) Dan Wilson
Producer(s) Nick Launay
Semisonic singles chronology
"Closing Time"
"Singing in My Sleep"
Music sample
A sample from "Closing Time" by Semisonic

"Closing Time" is a song by American alternative rock band Semisonic. It was released in March 1998 as the lead single from their album Feeling Strangely Fine. One of the band's most popular songs, it was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1999.[3] It reached number-one on the Modern Rock Tracks.


In concert Dan Wilson has confirmed that the song was written in anticipation of fatherhood but that he disguised it because he knew his bandmates would get sick of playing a song about his kids.[4]

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".[5][6]

The repeated phrase "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" is attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger.[7]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Chris Applebaum. 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), who is playing the part of 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 up. 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 during the filming to get the two sides of the video lined up properly.

Covers and samples[edit]

"Closing Time" was the final song in the polka medley "Polka Power!" on "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1999 album Running With Scissors.

In popular culture[edit]

"Closing Time" has been featured in a number of films and television series in the years following its release. In an article about the song's oddly enduring legacy and its use to punctuate comedic scenes, songwriter Dan Wilson believed the song had become "shorthand for that interesting feeling when you realize someone very different from you shares your cultural background", and that it is a song many people know but not everyone likes.[8]


  • The song was featured in the 2010 film Due Date during a scene in which Danny McBride beats up the film's two protagonists. Wilson says that while he wasn't "bummed" about the song's usage in the film, he would not have approved said usage if he had been personally asked because the scene it was used in was very violent.[8]
  • The song was prominently featured in the 2011 film Friends with Benefits where, in the climax, Justin Timberlake's character points out that the song is by Semisonic and not, as he previously believed, Third Eye Blind.
  • The song was featured as background music for the 90s themed high school reunion in the 2012 film American Reunion.
  • The song was featured as background music for the closing scenes of Freeriders, a 1998 extreme ski movie from Warren Miller.
  • The song was featured in the 2008 Italian film The Early Bird Catches the Worm.



  • The song was used as the final song by 3FM's Ekstra Weekend on its final broadcast on 13 December 2013, as well as the alternative format of Q101 and its later Rhythmic Hot AC format, i101, on WKQX in Chicago, as well as countless other stations before changing formats.


  • UK comedian Ben Target sings along to the song as a key part of his current Edinburgh Fringe show 'Hooray for Ben Target'.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1998/2011) Peak
Australia ARIA Charts 40
Canadian RPM Alternative 30 2
Dutch Top 40 84
New Zealand Singles Chart 50
UK Singles Chart 25
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 11
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40 8
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 13
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks 4
Chart (2011) Peak
Australia ARIA Charts 40

See also[edit]


External links[edit]