"Closing Time" is a song by Semisonic from their 1998 album Feeling Strangely Fine. The band's most popular song, it was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay. According to the Closing Time Songfacts, this remains a popular song at bars when they are ready to pack it up. There no mistaking the message: "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."
The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1999. It peaked at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks and #25 on the UK singles chart.
The place that closes seems to be a pickup bar, noted by the lines:
One last call for alcohol
So finish your whiskey or beer
You don't have to go home
But you can't stay here
So gather up your jackets
Move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
However, the book So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star (ISBN 0-7679-1470-8) by Semisonic's drummer Jacob Slichter indicates that it is, instead, about being born: the place that is closing is the womb, and the mention of alcohol is a reference to pregnant women not drinking. This can be seen in the lines:
Time for you to go out
to the places you will be from
This room won't be open
'til your brothers or your sisters come
This interpretation has additional support. In a show in which he opened up for Sondre Lerche, Dan Wilson noted that the song was NOT written for the birth of his child; in an attempt not to be one of those annoying songs that an artist wrote for the birth of a "jr," he made sure the meaning was abstracted.
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