"Time Flies" as written by and Steven John Wilson....
I was born in '67
The year of Sgt. Pepper
And are you experienced

Into a suburban heaven
Yeah it should've been forever
It all seems to make so much sense

But after a while
You realize time flies
And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you
'Cause time flies

She said luck is what you make it
You just reach out and take it
Now let's dance a while

She said nothing ever happens
If you don't make it happen
And if you can't laugh and smile

But after a while
You realize time flies
And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you
'Cause time flies

And laughing in the summer showers
That's still the way I see you now

How does time break down
With no marker, things slow down.
A conference of the strange
And your family is deranged

I could tell you what I'm thinking
While we sit here drinking
But I'm not sure where to start

You see there's something wrong here
I'm sorry if I'm not clear
Can you stop smoking your cigar

But after a while
You realize time flies
And the best thing that you can do
Is take whatever comes to you
'Cause time flies

And the coat you wore to Alton Towers
Is still the way I see you now


Lyrics submitted by tt86

"Time Flies" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Time Flies song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +5
    Song MeaningChildhood innocence! Steven is telling the younger ones to slow down and live the moment because life will blow you by. Don't push yourself into being and acting like an adult too fast ( ie smoking the cigar) and enjoy the innocence and each moment of discovering love. That first love is the one which opens up our minds to discovery and makes the strongest impact and can leave the deepest wound.
    syntfydon October 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationFrom 4:17 to 4:34 in the video are scenes from an amusement park. Comes right after SW says the last two lines. It's Alton Towers I would imagine, but I can't make out the name of the ride. Looks like the first word is "Pure", but the park doesn't have any rides past or present with that word from what I've found. There's a girl with her back to the camera wearing a black jacket it seems around 4:26. Maybe the coat he references. Just a thought...
    djpyro2112on September 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is important in a lot of ways and the only song that made me cry ever. When I saw it live I literally had to bit my lip and wipe my eyes throughout the piece. I've haven't cried since way before I was in middle school. I'm in my 20's now and I really thought I lost the ability to cry. Life is too short and all the beautiful times in our life go by too fast. Memories fade and things we value, things we wanted to do, people we wanted to become, all just become fragmented and lost in the rush. We need to slow down as a people as a culture Time really does fly after all.
    Wilwarinon November 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThe narrator in verse 1 is referring to his youth and its simplicity, the chorus suggesting he is longing for more, and he'll take anything he can get. verse 2 shows our narrator paraphrasing the words of a woman he is to dance with. Dancing is a very personal moment that occurs often in adolescence; it's usually where we first encounter members of the opposite sex in such an intimate setting. It can also be a moment where time seems to stop or slow down depending on how much we like the other person, and in the case of the narrator, he seems to like this woman very much. The second chorus repeats the first suggesting his haste for the future perhaps, thus breaking the moment, all the while adding a reminiscent if not portentous line about his feelings for her.

    After some "time" and menacing music, the narrator indicates his existential frustration of where he's ended up in life, pointing to his family and career, which leads into the last verse, where he is drinking, despondent, confused and can't stand the smell of cigar smoke. The last repeat of the chorus sums up his sentiments about how time has passed, perhaps this time with a bit more optimism to move on, while further reminiscing on that one moment in life where it all seemed right.

    This is an allegory as to what can change when time flies and you're unaware; the feelings of promise, hope, innocence and familiarity we possess can change to regret, fear, baggage and confusion when we become desperate or impatient ("grab whatever comes to you"), whether it's regarding a relationship, career, or any other life choice. Paradoxically, being upbeat and taking charge can be the best solution in dealing with our problems ("nothing ever happens if you don't make it happen, and if you can't laugh than smile"), but our narrator is finding it difficult to do so.

    If we think of the musical references, they paint an interesting picture. Both Sgt. Pepper and Are You Experienced? were seminal albums that pointed to emergences. Hendrix became a sensation with his playing, changing the role of guitar in pop music, and the Beatles' were in the process of turning a corner stylistically, helping to usher in psychedelic music, all while creating a fictitious band name and mythology (Porcupine Tree?). If the "cigar" is considered a Pink Floyd allusion, "Have a Cigar" was on Wish You Were Here, an album far more cynical in tone with its portrayal of a burnt out, jaded rock star (Syd Barret) whose former band members were still trying to understand the circumstances that had brought about his demise.

    Another artifact to mention in this song is the concept of musical time, which in this song is played with very creatively. The rhythm can be felt as either straight 6/4 (3/4 +3/4) a la a waltz, or a jig-like 12/8 with 4/4 dotted quarter notes
    (3/8 + 3/8 + 3/8 + 3/8). Steven makes mention of dancing as in verse 2, and also asks the question "How does time break down?". While the rhythmic components may be more attributed to Gavin and Colin, it nonetheless indicates just how insightful and multi-layered Porcupine Tree actually is.

    A very dense and beautiful piece of music, one that was written by an articulate and insightful group of musicians whose sense of musical history is inspiring. If only more music was as dynamic, modern and revelatory as this, we'd all be better for it.
    elcapitan1017on January 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the "cigar" lyric is another allusion to Pink Floyd ("Have a Cigar"). SW has admitted this song was heavily influenced by the PF "Animals" album, but the song reminds me of music from other Pink Floyd albums as well (the guitar solo in the middle sounds more like it would fit in "The Wall" than Animals to me).
    BigRed97on September 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSteven definitely needs to have some childreen. He would look at life so differently through "their" eyes. I feel my middle aged life would be quite sad without my children.

    Oh, and yes, Time definitely Flies.
    DTFANIAMon December 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow. cant believe this is already up...pretty self-explanatory. i dont get the cigar line though
    sonoflifeon August 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI may have gotten a couple words wrong here. Tried my best though.

    Also, I left out the second last line. Right before "that's still the way I see you now" Couldn't quite make it out. If someone knows, by all means, please contribute.

    I assume this will be released as a single as it's only around 5 minutes long and the full version is over 11 minutes. I'm guessing the song takes quite a different direction musically after the end of this edited version. I'm eager to hear it in the full.
    tt86on August 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationtt86, I think its suburban heaven not summer of heaven
    zkkyon August 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt sounds to me like the first part of that last line is "And the coat you wore", but I'm not sure.
    CoyoteLongshoton August 06, 2009   Link

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