14 years later, it's still stuck in my head
"Closing Time" hit the scene in 1998, and became a runaway success. I would be willing to bet that a lot of people still have the song's chorus stuck in their head, tucked away back in those recesses. Isn't it amazing, the way a song can do that? Lurk there, undiscovered for decades, only to reappear with a sudden lurch? Someone mentioned the song to me a week ago, I hadn't heard it in at least ten years, and I have been humming it ever since.
This is probably one of the last songs to get famous partly because of its music video. Music video popularity is a commodity whose time has very nearly come and gone. Only a few artists have popular videos these days. (Lady Gaga, OK Go, and Beyonce's "Single Ladies" are the only examples that spring to mind from the last five years.) The gimmick in their video is that the singer and a girl would be forever missing each other by mere seconds, as shown on a split screen. And each side of the screen represented one long take, precisely timed.
Re-watching the video from this far remove, I was repeatedly struck by "Oh wow, remember when?" The greenish tone to the entire video is the first and most obvious point of nostalgia. There is a certain slice of time, immediately after both Dark City and The Matrix, when everything had that pale greenish hue, as if it were being filmed underwater.
It made everyone look horrible, but also like The Future and being under water, and clinical depression. I don't know. I guess we thought it was pretty awesome, because you find it all over the place in the late 1990s. The sleek pixie haircut and ringer t-shirt on the woman in the video are likewise heavily Matrix-influenced.
I also spotted an iconic Ikea torchiere light. I know you know the one I mean. It has a round flat disk-shaped base, a silver metal shaft, and a frosted white plastic bowl which points all the light upwards. I bet you have one. I do - in fact, it is standing beside my desk as I type this. I'm pretty sure I bought it in 1998, the year this song made it big. I just glanced over at it and smiled.
Look closely and you will also spot a corded telephone with push buttons, attached to an answering machine. (Kids, we used these as voice mail before voice mail was invented. They used cassette tapes. No, I'm not joking.) Oh, and a pay phone, too. There's some concentrated nostalgia for you!