Amanda, I'm so glad you're back! I know it's open to interpretation, so that's why I am asking you, how do you interpret Sign Of The Times?
Okay well let me just say this is merely an opinion and I don’t really care to debate it because I’m not going to tell anyone what they should think the song means.
I think it’s a summary of pain. And trying to escape that pain. I personally don’t think it’s about one event, but about a bundle of different events that have been painful and the song is Harry trying to work through some of those things.
To me, he jumps around a bit and is a little too vague to be referencing a specific time or trauma, but is instead viewing the things that have hurt him over the years and trying to process them.
I do think death is one of those things. Harry has lost some people who were very near and dear to his heart, so I do think some of the lyrics reference his feelings on that. “You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky” is an incredibly poignant lyric in regards to how we’re perceived after we die, in my opinion.
Probably the most intense lyric for me is “Just stop your crying, have the time of your life.” Because Harry is a super star, right? And superstars aren’t supposed to have problems. But his life has been tinged with bittersweet moments, because he’s a human being who has had painful life experiences in the midst of living a life most of us only dream of. He’s expressing that here.
Lastly of course, there’s the use of “we” that permeates the song and has been constant in his promo so far as well. He’s not experiencing these trials alone. It’s not “I’ve got to get away,” it’s not “I never learn, I’ve been here before,” it’s “we.” That is so hugely important. Who is “we?” Is it metaphorical or a symbolic, empty pronoun? I don’t think so, myself. Who is the person who has been by his side through all of his toughest moments? Who has told him that they know it’ll be alright? I have an obvious opinion on that!
Really though, the whole song is a masterpiece. It’s a lyrical explanation of dealing with the things that hurt you, of hoping for escape from pain and triumph over it. It’s amazing.