How would a music critic analyze the lyrics to “Borrowed Time” by John Lennon?    

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In order to start to answer the question, let’s take a look at how a music critic typically organizes his or her analysis. Looking at Rolling Stone’s online music reviews, they all seem to follow a pretty simple formula:

  1. Thesis that follows a “Who” + “Did What” + “When” + “How Well” formula
  2. Context for thesis through tonal analysis 
  3. Context for thesis through thematic analysis

Applying this formula to Lennon’s “Borrowed Time,” we can start to outline a critical analysis like so:

  1. Given the fact that John Lennon’s pop single “Borrowed Time” was released following the beloved musician’s tragic assassination in 1984, the song’s simple lyrics evolve into an effective emotional reminder about how to appreciate the brevity of life.
  2. The hopeful tone indicates an appreciation of life, acknowledging that “the future is brighter and now is the hour.” Lennon’s death underscores the truth in the chorus’s repetition that we’re all “living on borrowed time.”
  3. The main theme of living in the moment gains deeper meaning given the song’s historical context. His message about seizing the day before it’s over proves to be eerily prophetic.
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