English: poetry: Closing Time by Semisonic

Tutoring English, you cover poetry. The tutor brings up Semisonic’s Closing Time.

Closing Time, by Semisonic, came out in 1998. I wouldn’t take notice of it until ten years later, as I drove my kids to their activities and it would play on the radio.

While I wasn’t a fan of Closing Time, it seemed a friendly song. Its premise is relatable enough, and it’s got some clever lyrics. I just think the chorus falls short, and I like a good chorus in a song.

Over the past couple years, Closing Time speaks to me more and more. I’m like that, though: often, something has to age 20 years before I look at it seriously.

Closing Time has some clever lyrics, to be sure. The line

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

is legendary. Personally, I like the imperfect rhyme in

So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits

In addition, I appreciate the tender empathy in the line “I hope you have found a friend.”

The line “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” – I didn’t accept it at first. Believe it or not, I would often think about it, driving in the car, coming up with scenarios of new beginnings that happen from nowhere, with no simultaneous ending.

I’m not sure, even now, that when something begins, something else has to end. However, I understand that point of view.

To wrap up: while I don’t find Closing Time a catchy song, it is a feel-good song, in a melancholy way, with some smart lyrics.

BTW: Dan Wilson wrote the song.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Canadian culture, poetry: You Learn, Alanis Morissette

Tutoring English, you encounter poems and songs. The tutor comments about one with which he’s gotten reacquainted.

Alanis Morisette’s album Jagged Little Pill yields numerous good songs, among them You Learn.

Back in the late nineties, I liked You Learn, but it didn’t speak to me as now. Twenty three years later, I’m finding more of a lesson in it, while back then it was just a fun song. BTW: I was 25 when Jagged Little Pill released, so I’ve about doubled in age since.

The song’s lesson, of course, is that if you play it safe to avoid embarrassment, you don’t progress. If, on the other hand, you try, you’ll probably fail – the first time. Yet, you learn.

Going even further, Alanis pokes fun at embarrassment itself:

I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth…at anytime…
(Feel free…)

In fact, You Learn confronts haters. Alanis is stating that those who would make you feel awkward or ashamed have no real power; rather, it’s just your fear of them that gives them influence. Instead of being shamed by their criticism, you should be ashamed of yourself for worrying about it. Don’t let them prevent you from trying – from learning.

At this age, I get her message; I wish I’d understood it much sooner. Nowadays, I take her advice – and, to quote her, “I recommend” it, along with You Learn.


You Learn, Alanis Morisette: YouTube

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.