Seasons of Love is the most celebrated song from the Broadway musical RENT. The song begins with the famous line, "Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes", which is the number of minutes in a common year. (This is the number arrived at by multiplying 60 minutes times 24 hours to arrive at a 1440-minute day, and then multiplying that by a 365-day year.)
The song is also performed often by various groups without the rest of the musical.
Both in the musical and in the 2005 film, the song is performed by the entire cast. The main question asked is, "How do you measure a year?" Various answers are suggested, from units of measure ("inches", "miles"), to everyday events ("cups of coffee") to abstract concepts ("laughter", "strife"). In the chorus, the song reaches the conclusion that love is the only proper measure of a year in a human life.
In Collins' solo in the first half of the song, reference is made to various characters and parts of the story.
- "The truths that she learned" could refer to April learning that she is HIV-positive or Mimi discovering the same about Roger.
- "The times that he cried" could refer to Roger's tears at the end of the musical or Collins' at Angel's death.
- "The bridges he burned" could refer to Roger burning his bridges with Mimi by moving to Santa Fe, or Benny burning his bridges with his former roommates (Mark, Collins, and Maureen).
- "The way that she died" could refer to April, who died by suicide before the storyline began, but more likely refers to Angel's death since it is Angel's lover who is singing and Angel's death is foreshadowed elsewhere in the song (see below).
The second half of the song modifies the question to, "How do you figure a last year on earth?" This question foreshadows Angel's death from AIDS; the plot of Rent encompasses the last year of his life. It also highlights the uncertainty of life in general, emphasizing Rent's carpe diem philosophy of living as though there were "no day but today".
In the musical, "Seasons of Love" is performed in two parts, the first at the beginning of Act II with the reprise following a few numbers later, while in the film, the first part is the opening song. The second part follows "La Vie Boheme B," as in the musical. Selections from "Seasons of Love" were also used in several of the film's trailers and other promotional material.
In the movie version, "Seasons of Love" is still performed in two parts, but starts in the beginning of the movie. It is the first song played. In the second part, the actors are not seen.