Thursday, December 13, 2018

It's a Sign of the Times We Live In

Harry Style's song called "Sign of the Times" is one of his most popular songs on his self-titled album. In an interview, Styles revealed that t's about a mother who recently gave birth and is told that her baby will be fine, but she will die. It is a slow paced song that talks about avoiding emotion during periods of grief and hardship.

The song starts out with the lines:

Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times
Welcome to the final show
Hope you're wearing your best clothes
You can't bribe the door on your way to the sky
You look pretty good down here
But you ain't really good

The "final show" represents facing the harsh realities of death. He also says "hope you're wearing your best clothes" to signal an upcoming funeral where the dead are buried in their best outfits. The line "You can't bribe the door on your way to the sky" suggests that this person cannot go through the gates of Heaven. Your life has to speak for itself and be "good" even if "you look pretty good down here." I think that this is a comment on how people focus on their appearance and how they look to other people, rather than whether or not they are "really good." People should be morally good and happy with their lives rather than bottling up all of their emotions just to appear good. 

He continues the song with: 

We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?
We never learn, we been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets? The bullets?

I think that the "bullets" represent people's inner pain and emotion that they aren't willing to share with anyone. He expresses a feeling of being stuck because "we are always...running from" our emotional trauma. If we don't deal with our pain, we will be stuck in the pain and will never get over it. He says that we can never outrun our pain if we don't learn that we should take the time to deal with it, even if it means that our appearance to other people will be ruined by an image of unhappiness. 

I think that "a sign of the times" represents how people repress their feelings in public, only to actually feel their bottled up emotions alone. People care more about their appearances than their actual emotions that they have bottled up. People can go through their entire lives without sharing any of their real feelings, for fear of rejection from society. 

It's a "sign of the times" we live in, that people feel like they have to sustain their happy, beautiful appearance rather than feel their honest emotions and dealing with their pain. 

This song has a deeper meaning that many people don't recognize. Although it is criticized for being sung by a former member of One Direction, I think that it contains an important depth often seen in poetry. It tells a story about a mother who is dying, and what she decides to tell her newborn child about society and how to live. This song shares deep, vulnerable emotions surrounding death and criticizes how society lives. It induces emotions within the listener and shares an intimate experience of love and death, which I think is something that poetry is often accredited for. 


  1. I've never heard this point of view of Sign of the Times and I really appreciate you diving deeper into this song. I agree that people can dismiss certain artists because of their past collaborations, and it's important to listen to the lyrics of a song.

  2. After reading your analysis and personal take on the text, I think this song is proven poetry! It successfully broadened an experience that most of us haven't had and made us feel more familiar with the feeling.