Regina Spektor: Samson Meaning
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met
Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a...
anonymous Mar 22nd, 2007 3:53am report
Thanks to Buffyx at SongMeanings.net
I went and read some about the story of Samson and Delilah, and I think it gave me more insight into this song.
According to the biblical story, Samson was given extraordinary physical strength through God. First he fell in love with a woman named Timnah, a Philistine, and weds her-- at the wedding reception, he promises a group of Philistines that he will provide them with thirty sets of clothes if they can solve a riddle. They are unable to solve it, but they implore Timnah to get the answer from him-- she does, and tells them, and Samson becomes furious because he doesn't have clothing to give to them.
He leaves town and kills thirty other men in a nearby village, steals their clothing, but when he returns, Timnah is now married to a friend of his. Enraged, he ultimately ends up killing a thousand of the Philistines.
When he goes to Gaza, Samson meets and falls in love with Delilah. The Philistines convince her to get him to tell her the source of his power-- he tells her it's his hair (however, it was not *really* in his hair, but because he had already broken two laws of the Nazarite. This was enough for God to take his power away from him).
Delilah cuts off all of Samson's hair, and then he is captured by the Philistines, who gouge out his eyeballs. However, the way he dies is by pulling down the two central pillars in a temple.
This seems to be referred to in the song with the lines "Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down / Yeah, we couldn't destroy a single one."
I think the narrator of this song-- Delilah-- is lamenting about what could have been. Because she secretly did love Samson. All of the stories say that Samson loved Delilah, and make no mention of her returning the feelings. The lyric "I loved you first" seems to imply that not only did she love him back, but she loved him before he even loved her.
As I see it, this song is about how she imagined a different ending for their tragic romance. In this version, after she cuts his hair, he just eats a piece of bread, tells her it's okay, it's all right, nothing has changed. They make love and get a happy ending.
And in her version, the Bible doesn't even mention them because what she did didn't matter-- he didn't change history, and they just loved each other, quietly.
anonymous Jan 23rd, 2008 1:41am report
I don't think this song is directly about Samson and Delilah, I think she just uses elements of their story to describe an ordinary couple and their troubles.
This song to me is about how when you first fall in love everything seems so overwhelming, magical, monumental and amazing and you think it will last forever - but then as time goes by the magic disappears and everything becomes routine, it becomes part of your normal everyday life. I'll break it down in the lines:
"You are my sweetest downfall, I loved you first"
- he was her first love and she will always love him but she will fall apart if she stays (and probably also if she goes)
"I have to go, your hair was long when we first met"
- She has to leave because the magic of the relationship and of him is gone now (reference to Samson "losing his powers" when Delilah cut his hair)
"ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed"
- Their life together has become boringly normal, routine - like an old married couple.
"The history books forgot about us, the Bible didn't mention us"
- there's nothing monumental about their love and it will not be everlasting
"The stars came falling on our hats, but they're just old light"
- again: When they first met it was overwhelming and magical, but what seemed magical back then has now lost its glow and is dying out.
"Samson came to my bed, told med that my hair was red, told me I was beautiful"
- He thinks she's overreacting, that's she's too hot tempered (as redheads often are), he's trying to play things down, doesn't want conflict, he's content with how things are
"I cut his hair myself one night, a pair of dull scissors in the yellow light"
- She tries to talk things over with him, tries to confront him with the situation, tries to get some sort of reaction from him but it doesn't work (the scissors are dull - her words don't seem to affect him)
"He told me that I'd done alright and kissed me till the morning light"
- again: He avoids conflict and just agrees with her, he's still content with their relationship, oblivious to how she feels and what their relationship has become.
That's my interpretation. Not an uncommon situation, I think.
anonymous Feb 16th, 2008 2:27am report
I think it's a love song, pure and simple. It's about Samson's fictional "first" relationship--he's so in love with the narrator that he willingly gives up his power for her. After she cuts his hair, the source of his power, he "told me I'd done alright and kissed me until the morning light." He eats a slice of Wonder Bread and goes back to bed like nothing significant happened. Because he could care less--he's in love.
They lose their place in history and the Bible didn't mention them because without his power they are unremarkable--they are just a normal couple in love. And they're content and happy that way.
Love story pure and simple.
anonymous Apr 8th, 2013 4:51pm report
Regardless of my own interpretation of the song, I thought I'd mention, as no one yet seems to have noted, that for many years in the '60s and early '70s the advertising slogan for Wonder Bread was "builds strong bodies 12 ways". I don't know if Regina Spektor knows that -- she's a little young to have first hand knowledge of it. But it definitely puts an ironic spin on the line, "Ate a slice of wonder Bread and went right back to bed."
anonymous Nov 20th, 2012 11:25pm report
This song is a play on the bibles Samson obviously not specifically about them though or it wouldn't say "the bible didn't mention us, not even once". But it seemed pretty clear to me that this song is about someone losing their lover to cancer. Also the bit about her cutting his hair herself makes sense because a lot of people going through chemo cut their hair off before or just as it starts falling out as it can be very painful watching it slowly fall out. The part about not being in the bible seems to mean that people with cancer, including the person she is writing about, are just as strong as people in the history books and the bible. I know that this song obviously ties into the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, but I do not believe that this song is specifically about their story. I think Regina used the name "Samson" in an ironic sense because the Samson in the bible was very physically strong, while this Samson was very weak and dying, but he didn't get remembered. Not being able to bring the columns down could be referring to losing the battle to cancer. Also, while she said "Samson went back to bed, not much hair left on his head. He ate a slice of wonderbread, and then went back to bed." Obviously his hair was falling out because of the chemo. But also, Samson was going back to bed a lot because he was weak. And the bit about the wonderbread simply means that thats all he could eat. Chemo makes one very nauseous and it is hard to keep things down. So Samson could only eat one slice of bread before going back to bed. If you think about what people go through when they have cancer while listening to the song you can really see the connections.
anonymous May 13th, 2012 5:27pm report
I saw the song as a story about a man who has cancer but from the point of view of "delilah" a modern and similar adaption of her, and thief journey.
My sweetest down fall- bitter sweet relationship( he could die and leave her heart broken)
I loved you first- he was her first love( he does die in the song, and she will always remember him)
Truth in the sheets of paper- the cancer( that he has it and it will effect her too)
The wonder bread is a representation of a "bite" of normal like before going back to his hospital bed.
The whole star thing is more like he's gone now and it's not the same maybe something that was significant o their relationship.
-the cutting of the hair i Think is the representation of loss of strength(like in the story, but from the treatment and cancer)
The red hair could be her being worried, and him telling her it's ok and soothing her.
And the pillars not being destroyed is the treatment not working Althou in the biblical tale he knocks them down killing everyone and himself.
And the history books and bible I think mean that no mirical happened, nothing of significance, atleast not for them...
Very sad song and Regina is a wonderful person and only she knows the true meaning of the song
anonymous Feb 7th, 2012 2:53pm report
Actually, I feel like the meaning of the song has something to do with all of the above. I personally think that she describe two love stories, the one from samson, and one of a man who died of cancer.
If you pay close attention to the bible, you will notice that it's not delilah who cut his hair, but a servant. I think the servant was in love with him, but nobone knew. ( i loved you first, the bible didn't mention us)
Also, cutting hair is something highly intimate, she was there when he lost his hair, his strength. it's also about the way the servant supported everything he did: when he tried to bring down the pillars ( we couldn't bring the collumns down; i know the real biblical text says he did destroy the columns down, but she has changed it to match the theme of cancer).
Then the other love story, it's about a couple trying to fight cancer. When she met him, he was fine. ( your hair was long when we first met). They went through this together, she cut his hair. ( which had fallen out as a resultnof the treatment). In the end he died, they couldn't win from the Cancer.
anonymous Jan 18th, 2012 1:47pm report
I think it's about samson and delilah. It must be. I can feel it. I mean, you see the lyrics. Read the Bible and you'll know :). Maybe ask Regina, email her, if that's possible.
anonymous Jan 3rd, 2012 1:28pm report
Personally I think it's comparing the biblical Samson to a loved one who had cancer and has died.
Samson was a warrior who had god-given strength, but only because he made an oath with Yahweh to never cut his hair. When a woman from another tribe seduced him and cut his hair, he lost his strength and his tribe was defeated. There was nothing he could do; he was weak and couldn't save his people.
I think that the importance of the Samson reference was indeed his hair. When someone has cancer and is going through treatment, whether it's radiation or chemo, hair loss is the most glaring side effects. When a cancer patient gets to the stage where they are completely bald or "not much hair left on his head", their bodies are usually very weak and frail. Sometimes, they or a loved one will shave their heads, because hair loss is not always even...which can just add to the appearance of illness and poor health. Shaving the head or saying "I cut his hair myself one night" can both give strength and solace to both parties.
Loss of hair can also be emotionally significant. It's a very physically obvious trait of cancer. It can take away your strength, like Samson in the Bible, who was weak after his hair was cut.
In addition, fatigue can also be a side effect of cancer treatment or the cancer itself, which may be why she's referencing him going to bed - or sleeping - so much. Chemo and radiation can also upset the stomach; cancer patients who are far along or have advanced cases usually have little to no appetite, which may explain her reference of him eating only Wonder bread.
Cancer patients either survive or they don't; there is nothing they can do to stop it or protect their people - their loved ones - from the pain and loss of their passing. You can't fight it, you can't "bring the columns down", you can't "destroy a single one". Not even together, as a whole, as partners. All they can do is "[tell] me that I'd done alright". Basically, all they can do is say we've tried, we've done our best.
"I have to go" expresses the need to move on from that death, and the grief that came with it. However, "I loved you first" reassures the deceased that even though she is leaving and moving on, nothing can or ever will change her deep and genuine love for him.
anonymous Oct 21st, 2011 10:47am report
Well, I think that's the wonders of Regina Spektor's music.. Unlike other artists' songs that after you read or sang the lyrics, that's it! No further meaning whatsoever.. But in Regina's songs (especially this one), you can make different interpretations. According to what are you feeling the moment you heard it, your past experience that resembles it, like that. I'm saying this because while I'm reading your personal interpretations of this song, I was like agreeing each of it.. I ended up realizing that I agreed to all of it.. It's not just a song that after you printed the words to a paper, that's it. You can dig deeper to those words.. It's multidimensional!! Kudos to Regina!! Continue to make real music!! :-D
anonymous Sep 30th, 2011 9:45pm report
oh i love this so much - it was the first regina song i ever heard (apart from the call at the end of the narnia film but i didnt realise that was by her for agaes.) and fell in love with.
its amazing seing everyones interpratations of it but for me i always thought the song was just a reference to how love is forever and unchangeing throughout history. there will always be "sampson and delilah" relationships and they might not always end how you would expect and they are not all documented or even remembered but they were true and special and magical. i also hing some of the references to hair are a slight joke because "your hair was long when we first met." is the sort of thing older people in a long term relationship would say- it doesnt just have to apply to sampson - its to everyone.
anonymous Aug 14th, 2011 8:33pm report
my sister just shared to me her interpretation of the song samson..According to her, the song is about a girl who came from poverty but when she finished her studies and became a career woman, she sets her priority and that is to become very rich and successful to give her family a good chance in life...She met a man named Samson at a point where her career is about to soar high. It's basically about the right love at the wrong time....Let's just go line by line .....
--Your are my sweetest downfall, i love you first, i love you first...
Meaning: when she met Samson, she fell inlove with him. She loved him in her own way, but she has some apprehension and this might caused her downfall.. nevertheless, she is still considering him to be the sweetest of all the downfall that she had in her life.
--Beneath the sheets of paper, lies my truth, i have to go, i have to go.
Meaning: Even from the start, she knows already to herself that Samson will never be her priority...Though, Samson really love her very much and she feels the same way, she knows that she still needs to go because of her career..
--Your hair was long when we first met.
Meaning: When they first met, Samson has a very long hair. We all know that the hair was the source of strength and power of Samson and he is exactly like that in the beginning of their love affair...He has all the love that a man could give to a woman....
--Samson came to my bed, told me that my hair was red, told me that I'm beautiful and came into my bed.
Meaning: Samson is now very much inlove to her...And they did have an affair....
--Oh I cut his hair myself one night, a pair of dull scissors and a yellow light...
Meaning: SInce the woman in the story never really intend to stay in their relationship ffor so long, she broke up with him through some petty quarrels, thus " a pair of dull scissors"...A yellow light means somehow Samson is aware with what's going in their relationship...yellow light means some kind of awareness....Samson also know that he will never be her priority and she cannot love him in the deepest way that he loves her.....
--And he told me that I've done alright, and kissed me till the morning light, the morning light..and he kissed me till the morning light...
Meaning: Despite every thing that happened, despite the things that the woman did to him, he said that she did nothing wrong and he still loves her very much, with all her flaws and shortcomings...
--Samson went back to bed, not much hair left on his head, he ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed..
Meaning: Affter their break up, samson went back to his normal life. He tries to move on and forget all the pains that the woman bring to him....
--Oh he couldn't bring the columns down, oh he couldn't destroy a single on.
Meaning: The powerful man that Samson used to be is now all gone....When he lost her, he couldn't move on with his feeling towards her. His life will never be the same again.....
--And the history books forget about us, and the bible didn't mention us not even once.
Meaning: This story is not similar with the one that we know in the Bible....This is a very different story because it was not mention in the Bible that Delilah tries to reciprocate the feelings of Samson....But in this song, it says that:
---You are my sweetest downfall, i loved you first, I loved you first.....
Meaning: Even though things didn't turn out the way it should be, the woman in the story also suffers, she was also deeply hurt when samson and she broke up....that's why she is saying that it is her moment spent with him was her sweetest downfall... She also love Samson, in ways that she knows...
anonymous Aug 5th, 2011 8:37am report
I think it's talking about a couple other than the biblical couple and it's talking about how all the same things happened to this other couple but "the bible didn't mention us" and "the history books forgot about us"
anonymous May 31st, 2011 5:29pm report
Miss. Spektor wrote this song for her friend whom died of cancer. She says how the history books and the Bible didn't mention them. By that she means that for all they went through in his fight against cancer, they deserved to be honored. Instead they weren't even mentioned, they werent't even recognized. When it says that he ate a slice of wonderbread she means that her friend was so week that all he could eat was bread. This song also is a twist of the story of Samson and Delilah, which is what she suggests when she "cut his hair herself one night."
Revana Gould May 29th, 2011 5:32pm report
i don't think it was about the story of Samson and Delilah i think its about someone with cancer. She says "your hair was long when we first met" as in something made it shorter like chemo from the cancer. If it was about Samson and Delilah then she woulden't be singing so nicely about him because Delilah didn't like him. Also she says" he ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed" as in he didn't really have any appetite for anything else but bread because of the chemo once again. She also says "I loved you first. I loved you first." probably referring to her falling in love with him before the cancer. Another line is "oh i cut his hair myself one night" because his hair was all uneven from dropping out cause of chemo. And the number 1 line that gives away that she is reffering to cancer is "yeah we couldn't bring the columns down yeah we couldnlt destroy a single "one as in they couldn't destroy the cells of the cancer enough to beat it so he died.
Hope you find this helpful
anonymous May 12th, 2011 5:57pm report
What if the song is about a conflict between love and personal dreams of success? Although she loves him, "between the sheets of paper" lies the truth that since she has been with him, she cannot write songs. Likewise, her Samson was also strong and dynamic when she first met him, but through their relationship, she has unintentionally cut his hair, reducing him to an average "wonder-bread" eater. Though their love was sweet, it has made them complacent, turning their 'reaching for the stars' into the stars "falling on [their] heads". Together, their individual dreams have collapsed, and they are powerless to bring down the "columns" of normal challenges. In the end, she has to go, and after she leaves him, the history books and the Bible forget about their beautiful, but transitory romance.
anonymous Feb 27th, 2011 2:06am report
I heard in an interview with regina spektor she actually said this song was about her friend who was dying of cancer and could only eat wonder bread bc he was so sick. she was also the one who cut his hair when he went through radiation
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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