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Signs (Paranormal City song)

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File:Signs cover1.png
International CD cover
Single by Paranormal City
from the album He For She
Released23 July 2015 (2015-07-23)
FormatCD single, digital download
GenreDream pop
Songwriter(s)Mark Ryan (Paranormal City)
Producer(s)Paranormal City
Paranormal City singles chronology
Alternative cover
Music video
"Signs" on YouTube

Listen to the song Signs (Paranormal City song) or Buy it on amazon "Signs" is the debut single by Irish singer-songwriter Paranormal City (Mark Kelvin Ryan), released in 2015 from his album, He For She. It was written and produced by Ryan himself. The single reached number one in Ireland (for first week sales), and entered the top 10 in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Mexico (for four weeks), number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 7 in the United States. Based on its chart performance, the song is Ryans second most successful single (only behind his 2016 single "Two") and was one of the most successful releases of an Irish artist in 2015. "Signs" was nominated for two Metro Choice Awards, Best Pop Solo Track for Pure M magazine, Best Breakout Song of the Year for NME Radar.

Background and release[edit]

After being on Fair City television show for another season appearance, moving out of his parents home in late 2014, Ryan moved to Dublin with the assistance of his management. There, he began finalizing the work on the He For She album, in city studios, for recorded vocals mix, mixing and mastering was done by Ryan already. Ryan's fan base was expecting acoustic sounding work next to his previous releases of the Without Me EP and the Acoustic Doohickeys EP. However, the collective failed to click "with a boy who'd just discovered piano arrangements and a whole new sound of pro tool synths". In less than a few months of releasing the Acoustic Doohickeys EP, Ryan dropped the He For She album. His management pitched him songs written by other songwriters, with a more traditional, singer-songwriter folk style, but he declined, insisting he wanted to write songs himself. Ryan began appearing on radio and TV Shows to promote the He For She album with some tracks before its release, favouritely promoting Signs as the lead single. It also started his travel of the album campaign in Ireland and the United Kingdom, before an international overseas tour to the United States. The Synth Dream-Pop piano ballad was the album's first success single due to the promotion of lyric videos Ryan uploaded on his YouTube Channel as well as having an official music video for the track Signs in the summer of 2015. He For She was released on 23 July 2015, debuting at number one on the Irish iTunes chart.

Ryan's manager at the time Niall Bishop agreed that Signs would be a strong first single, as its coherent Emo-pop Singer-Songwriter style infused "with a more Owl City and Passion Pit production would be a more mature development for the musical artist" as earlier works of Ryan's music had a contained a "Jack Johnson meets Avril Lavigne vibe" that Signs still contained.

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"Signs" is a song how in relationships people can be in a dream like a daze with who they're with, feeling the world is on their side, they feel confident enough with their significant other to confess their dreams and go after their ambitions, but ultimately it's a struggle to stay with another and stay true to yourself. "What about midnight conversations? Hopes build to dreams, to manifestations" Ryan sings in the chorus.

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by Arnold Solarzach, starts with a countdown sequence into a road animation cut in with Ryan singing the opening lyrics on a bed. Rolling around on the bed quite provocatively, it cuts back to the animation of a trippy, low quality over exposed footage of a car following directions and signs on the road, which is fittingly shown as Ryan sings the line "All these signs are telling us to move on".

This is intercut with footage of Ryan performing the song in a studio background white cyclorama while lying on bed sheets. As the line "I counted the chances in my head, we've as much as the stars. Go in the midnight sky, let's leave for somewhere far" is sung, Ryans head shot cuts to a starry sky with a car driving fast over the horizon.

The video was shot at Solarzach's Studio, Dublin, in 1 day.


The song received generally positive reviews from critics. It ranked at #197 in PlugIn magazine's "The 500 Greatest Songs Of 2015". Pure M Magazine ranked it at No. 13 of the 'Top 100 Singles of the Irish music 2015'. In an AOL Radio listener's poll, "Signs" was voted as Ryans third best song.

John Creedon of RTÉ gave the song a B+ and said: "Ryan's crooning baby-faced vocals mixed with a siren blast of range on the infectious chorus, makes for a triumphant lead in the album campaign release". Catherine Murphy of Ireland Weekly described 'Signs' as "a gem of a dream pop/punk tune with a killer chorus" and noted similarities between it and the Owl City song "Vanilla Twilight". Murphy highlighted the song as a "track pick" in a review of the album, He For She.

"Signs" and many other songs from He For She, such as "Summerskies" and "Best Friend," got frequent radio play across the radio stations in Ireland and the United Kingdom. "Signs" as the lead single was picked up by MTV UK, BBC NI,[1] RTE 2 fm and RTÉ Radio 1,[2] with many other stations for air time. Ryan after the release of He For She went on a small radio and media tour for the further promotion of the album during the summer of its release. In August 2015, Ryan made his television debut on RTE's Swipe TV Live where he performed both "Signs" and "SummerSkies". Independent radio stations in the United States also picked up the track and had it on heavy rotation for the first month of its release.

On a more negative note, Richard Bugarri of Slasher magazine described 'Signs' as more "raw baby-voiced teen sex appeal than any charming cute vocals which are required in a Dream-pop track".[3] In a review of Ryan's album, Samsara, Kim Lenaghan[4] of BBC Radio noted that "Signs felt like a strung together set of The Script and Metro Station songs".

Commercial performance[edit]

As of September 2016 "Signs" has sold 700,000 thousand digital copies worldwide.

The North American single of "Signs" has shipped over 100,000 copies in Canada, where the song has been awarded a gold single certification by the CRIA for, respectively, shipments of at least 50,000 and 100,000 singles shipped.The single was certified 1x Gold in Australia.

Credits and Personnel[edit]

  • Vocals – Mark Ryan
  • Synths – Mark Ryan
  • Piano – Mark Ryan
  • Bass – Mark Ryan
  • Mixing and mastering – Mark Ryan

Awards and nominations[edit]

Ryan won a spot in second on the Best New Artist Showcase at the 2015 MTV UK Crashes for "Signs" and the overall success of He For She. "Signs" was BBC Radio NI's Track of the week, it featured in RTÉ FM's Top 15 Playlist the month[5] of its release and won Ireland Weekly's Track of the Month. It was also nominated for Pure M Music Magazine's Best Pop Solo Track 2015. In 2016 the Irish Music Awards association nominated it for Single of the Year, it was also nominated by NME Radar for Best Breakout Song of the Year and a Choice Music Prize Award for Best Male Song of the Year.

Year Awards ceremony Award Results
2015 Pure M Music Magazine Best Pop Solo Track Nominated
2016 Metro Choice Awards Best Male Pop EDM Performance Nominated
Song of the Year Nominated
Irish Music Awards Single of the Year Nominated
Irish Youth Music Awards Best Male EDM Song Nominated

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Mark Ryan.

Australia CD single
3."Best Friends"5:08
4."Without Me"3:58
Canada, Mexico, and United Kingdom CD single
3."Best Friends"5:08
4."Without Me"3:58
5."Signs" (Music Video)5:31
Japan, France, and Netherlands CD single
3."Best Friends"5:08
4."Without Me"3:58
5."Signs" (Rocket Scene Station remix)3:13
United States CD single
3."Best Friends"5:08
4."Without Me"3:58


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA) Gold 130,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria) 15,000*
Belgium (BEA) 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil) Gold 100,000*
Japan (RIAJ) Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ) 10,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway) 10,000*
Sweden (GLF) 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland) 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) Gold 200,000
United States (RIAA) Gold 400,000
*sales figures based on certification alone

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. "BBC Radio Ulster". YouTube. Retrieved 1 April 2017.[not in citation given]
  2. "RTERadio1". YouTube. Retrieved 1 April 2017.[not in citation given]
  3. "Dream Pop Music Genre Overview | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 April 2017.[not in citation given]
  4. "BBC – Radio Ulster – Home". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2017.[not in citation given]
  5. majorlazer (21 July 2016), Major Lazer – Cold Water (feat. Justin Bieber & MØ) (Official Lyric Video), retrieved 1 April 2017[not in citation given]

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