I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "Time" by NF mean?

What does "Time" by NF mean?

“Time” Lyrics and Music Video Meaning

NF just released "Time" music video; and we'll jump into it; we've got a lot that's going on in the music video itself; we start to see this couple that seems to be falling apart; the girl is storming out of the house, and she's got her bag; the guy tries to grab her hand saying "wait; let's talk about this"; but she's not having any of it; then she hops in the car, and starts driving. This is the premise; we're starting in the middle of the story, and we basically see that this relationship is falling apart; but the question remains of why is this relationship falling apart?

Well, for the rest of the music video, we see the couple going backwards, through their relationship, through the rough times, back to the good times; and we see the whole thing kind of unravel in reverse; so we see them kind of looking a little bit separate, we see her packing her clothes, we see them in the same bed together just laying there; and things start to get better and better, suggesting that they were at once one point in love; we see them hanging up pictures on the wall; so they obviously have recently moved into this house, because we see them putting things in, bringing boxes and stuff; it's almost like watching people meet each other, who maybe didn't like each other before; but because this is actually in reverse, you know it's really the story of how they fell apart. We also got to see earlier how they went to a restaurant together; and we just see that tension in the relationship; and then we go even further back and at that same restaurant, it looks like we see them actually meeting for the first time. There's some really really interesting story being told here, and if you watch the video in reverse, you would basically get to see this couple who meet each other at a diner, they ostensibly get to know each other, they move in together, they start putting the house together, and then something happens; we don't know what exactly.

I don't think it really matters what happened though; we just know that something happens, and the relationship starts to just fall apart; and that kind of stuff can unfortunately happen if you don't handle it the right way; and it's really sad.

Fun Fact: Did you guys catch the hint that NF had for the music video for “Time” in his other music video that he released 3 weeks ago, “When I grow up”? Go and re-watch the music video, and check out the clip at 1:49. I just appreciate it when artists go the extra mile to have like Easter eggs in their work, you know?

A hint for “Time” in “When I grow up”

A hint for “Time” in “When I grow up”

Now, I was talking with a friend, Arielle, and she asked: "you know, NF is putting out this new album, what do you think is going to be different from Perception?" and I said "I think that this album is going to have a lot less about girlfriends, and a lot more about his wife". I don't think that was a hugely difficult thing to guess; but I was right in this case, because the song is 100% about his wife, and their relationship; so I'm going to go ahead and show you the chorus, and then we'll go through, and pick a few lines from the verses to talk about.


Even if we both break down tonight
And you say you hate me
And we go to bed angry
I know everything will be alright
I'll be here waiting
I promise I'm changing
I just need...

And this is a testament to a really strong relationship; you know, "I know everything will be all right", because you have that faith in "us"; Speaking as a married person, that is 100% a legit thing that you have when you fight, if you trust the person you're marrying; I know that I have, just like with my wife, April; we fight, things go wrong sometimes, we don't feel like we have a great relationship all of the time, but there's never a time where I think to myself like we're bad people, hurting each other; April has even asked me before when we were fighting "do you think I'm out to get you? do you think I'm really trying to hurt you?"; and I just thought about it for a second; and I was like "shoot! no way"; because I know April well; and I know that she is watching out for me; and I know that I need to be watching out for her; and so it's just really cool to have a relationship like that; and that's what NF is talking about here.

Verse One

A little time to show you I'm worth it
I know that I can be a difficult person
I'm a stress case, drive you up the wall when I'm workin'
Actually, I'm probably worse when I'm not
You don't deserve it
Make you nervous 'cause you know I'ma break soon

He's talking about his mental health, and how she's there for him; he's also saying that when he's writing songs, he's going a little bit crazy; because he is probably a little bit of a tortured artist to an extent; and so that's probably a little bit tough on her; and tough on the relationship itself.

Every time I do, I say somethin' that hurts you
Actin' like I'm gone but we both in the same room
I don't like to be wrong, which I know you relate to
And I know I make you feel like you're at the end of your road
That's when I look at you and tell you I'd be better alone

Which is a tough thing to say; like that is a serious fight; and I think that's also kind of a cool testament to how honest Nate is being in this song here; for him to be able to share that?! To say that he said that kind of a thing to his wife?! I mean that's pretty intense.

That's just the pride talkin', isn't it?
'Cause both of us know
I'm the definition of "wreck" if you look into my soul
Comes out the most when I feel I'm in a vulnerable place
Made a lot of mistakes I wish I knew how to erase
When I'm afraid, might get distant and I push you away
But no matter the case, I'ma do whatever it takes
Even if—

NF is talking about the strength of relationship; he's talking about the strength of his dedication to her; and I think it's really cool and neat what's going on here. There was this one thing in there, and I wanted to highlight it, "When I'm afraid, might get distant and I push you away; But no matter the case, I'ma do whatever it takes"; so I think she can know that he is equally dedicated to the relationship; just in the way that he was saying that she was, which is pretty cool.


Even if we both break down tonight
And you say you hate me
And we go to bed angry
I know everything will be alright
I'll be here waiting
I promise I'm changing
I just need…

Man, if you were NF's wife; and if you were waiting for a sweet soft happy love song when you married him; nope; you'd be so disappointed. Because it looks like his love songs are about how messed up he is, and how they'll make the relationship work anyway; which in all fairness is actually kind of better; but still, probably not what most people are hoping for.


Time (Oh)
I-I need time (Oh, oh)
I just need time (Oh)
I-I need time (Oh)
Time (Oh), time (Oh)

The post-chorus talks about needing some time; and as someone who's gotten in fights with his wife before; most of which are my fault honestly; I know that a little bit of time does make a lot difference, and it helps me if I can kind of step back, and if I can get out of the emotional portion of that moment; you know? That really helps me to be a better person.

Verse Two

Yeah, way before I bought you the ring
We were fighting back and forth like you were wearin' the thing

Because people aren't supposed to fight when they're engaged, right? They're supposed to be all "we're so in love; it's so great; blah blah blah"; but for them they were already fighting; so they were getting it out there.

Two passionate people not afraid to say what they think
Lead to passionate conversation when it's hard to agree
You know me well

And I like that; because he's not just saying like "man! I'm a loser, this is all my fault", which if you get into a relationship with somebody who's just saying that they're a loser and a failure all the time; well, it's not a healthy relationship either; so I think it's good that he's saying "two passionate people", both of them are not afraid to say what they think.

Sittin' on the edge of my seat
Lookin' at life, overanalyzin' everything
Always depressed, tryna find a better version of me
Searching for somethin' I know's prolly right in front of my feet
Stubborn as me? Maybe not, but you're close to it

Again, he is back with the idea of "both of us"; he is saying that he is stubborn and sometimes hard to be around; but also is she; maybe she's not quite as stubborn, but she still is.

Got a lot of issues, I'm tryna work through 'em
Going to therapy for you's somethin' that's worth doin'

Now, that is cool; so basically he is saying "I'd kind of make your life a little bit more miserable if I wasn't taming the demons". So he is actually going to therapy, not only for himself; but maybe in his case for her, because he loves her and he wants to be a better person around her and for her, you know?

When I know you been there for me through all of my worst moments
And I know it hurts knowing that I carry this weight on my chest
Making it difficult for me to open up and connect
A lot of regrets, I apologize for all of the stress
That's not what I meant to do
You know I love you to death
Even if—

The overall point of this song is very straightforward; we can break it down as him talking to his wife saying "hey, you know we have our rough times, but the cool thing is that we know that the other person is going to be there at the end of the day, no matter what we say"; and there's a lot in the verses particularly about him admitting that he has made some mistakes, and he has had some issues; and he will continue to have issues; but he is also promising that he will be working through things; which I don't think made any of us are really surprised based on his lyrics and songs. And in that second verse especially, he says to his wife that he appreciates her being there for him; which is always nice, you know, being appreciated even when you fight; actually, especially when you fight a lot; because he doesn't mean harm, and he knows that she doesn't want to harm him as well; he just needs time to work on himself, and to take a step back to re-evaluate the situation.

Now there's something you guys have got to watch out for; if you're younger, and you are getting in a relationship with somebody who is struggling through some stuff; there's a time and a place to be in that deeper relationship with them; but I don't think that just because NF is talking about this here, that he's saying that "if somebody is unstable, and is in need of professional help, you should get in a romantic relationship with them, and get to be the thing that saves them"; as I said, I am pretty sure that's not what he means, like at all. I think that NF is "stable" enough, you know? Like, his demons are there for sure, but he's taming them, right? He's actually working in that direction, and he's doing a pretty good job at it. I think that this stands to be said, especially with so many of us looking up to NF.

So, this was "Time" by NF; the basic gist of the song is him talking to his wife, and thanking her for being there with him through thick and thin, especially when he is part of that problem. So, it's a really personal and a good song; and you guys should definitely go and check out the music video, because it's actually cool and well-made; and you can check it out by clicking on the link down below.

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