Closing Time (Semisonic song)

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"Closing Time"
Closing Time single.jpg
Single by Semisonic
from the album Feeling Strangely Fine
ReleasedMarch 10, 1998
Length4:33 (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
A sample from "Closing Time" by Semisonic

"Closing Time" is a song by American rock band Semisonic. It was released in March 1998 as the lead single from their album Feeling Strangely Fine. Their signature song, it was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1999.[4] It reached #1 on Modern Rock Tracks.

While the song is about people leaving a bar at closing time, 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."[5][6]


Prior to the composition "Closing Time", Semisonic would usually end their concerts with the song "If I Run". However, the band eventually 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.[7] 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.".[7]

The song ends with a quote attributed to Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end).[8]

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) 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.

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.

Wilson recorded a solo version of the song for his 2017 album Re-Covered, a collection of his own versions of songs he had written for other artists; "Closing Time" was the only song on the album that Wilson had originally recorded himself.

Use in media[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.[9]

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 its usage if he had been personally asked because the scene it was used in was very violent.[9]

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 believed, Third Eye Blind.

In a Season 8 episode of The Office titled "Doomsday", it is revealed that new manager Andy Bernard ends every work day by leading the office in singing "Closing Time". While no one in the office particularly likes the song (and Stanley Hudson admits his joy on hearing Andy sing it solely relates to his appreciation for anything that ends a workday), Wilson felt its usage on the show was enjoyable.

The song was featured in the series finale of Rules of Engagement (season 7 episode 13) as the final credits were played.[10]

The song was featured in the television series How I Met Your Mother, in the thirteenth episode of its fourth season, entitled "Three Days of Snow".

The Milwaukee Brewers play this song at the end of their home games.

The song was featured in the 2012 film American Reunion.

The song is frequently used on radio stations to end an old format before introducing new ones; for example, KDGE in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, played the song on a loop on November 16 and 17, 2016, to signal the end of its alternative rock format.

The song was featured in the television series American Dad, in the ninth episode of its fourteenth season, entitled "The Witches of Langley", with Wilson voicing himself in the episode.

Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle played the song at the end of the 2018 World Series, played at Dodgers Stadium.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1998–1999) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 50
Canada Alternative 30 (RPM) 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 84
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 50
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[14] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 25
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 8
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 13
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 1
US Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks 4
Chart (2011) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[11] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 76
Chart (2012) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 71

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]+
  2. ^ "Classical Cover: Semisonic's Closing Time – Alto Riot".
  3. ^ "Billboard".
  4. ^ "41st Grammy Awards – 1999". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  5. ^ A Hit Single and the Heart-Wrenching Story Behind it, by Claudia Ricci, The Huffington Post, posted February 8, 2011, retrieved February 27, 2011
  6. ^ "Perennial Co-Writer Returns With An Album Of His Own". 15 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Schlansky, Evan. "Semisonic Success Story: An Interview With Dan Wilson". American Songwriter. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  8. ^ "What does the quote 'every new beginning comes from other beginnings end '.? - Quora". Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  9. ^ a b Hyden, Steven (30 November 2011). "We Are All 'Closing Time': Why Semisonic's 1998 Hit Still Resonates".
  10. ^ "Rules Of Engagement — "100th"". 20 May 2013.
  11. ^ a b " – Semisonic – Closing Time". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  12. ^ " – Semisonic – Closing Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  13. ^ " – Semisonic – Closing Time". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.

External links[edit]