Album: Begin To Hope (2006)
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  • This song is all about love and told through the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, found in Judges 16. Samson had tremendous strength, but he lost it when Delilah had his head shaved. In the song, Spektor makes uses this comparison to show how she feels, how even after she did something so horrible to her loved one, he kissed her til the morning light and told her that she'd done alright. It shows the unconditional forgiveness you have for someone you love.
  • The lyrics, "The history books forgot about us and The Bible didn't mention us" is the idea that they are nothing special: love can strike anyone at any time and the fact that they aren't miraculous people doesn't diminish their value or their feelings, as love is for everyone. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    alex - p-town, NJ, for above 2
  • This also appears on Spektor's debut album, Songs, with a slower arrangement. Spektor recorded several versions of the song before she found the perfect one to include on this album - after she already sent a different one to her record label. She told the A.V. Club: "I kept saying, "Please, just one more day. I know this is crazy. You have deadlines. But this is my record, and if it's not going to be how I want it, then it's not going to be on the record.' And they were like, 'Okay, you can try one more time.' And then I got it how I wanted it. It's exactly how I wanted it. And some people wouldn't even hear the difference. Or some people will like the other one better. But I have it how I want it."
  • This was featured on CSI: NY in the 2006 episode "All Access."

Comments: 20

  • Bobbo from EarthI think it's a story about the first guy she fell in love with. There is a lot of symbolism in the song but I also think some of the details may be rooted in truth.

    When they first met they were smitten with each other. His long hair symbolizing how he impressed her (the guy could've also had long hair that she liked). "Beneath the stars, come falling on our heads" equates to young love everything is magical and exciting. The whole song is beautiful but the 2nd verse is my favorite. It starts with him telling her that her hair is red and that he loves her. For whatever reason there's a stigma amongst some people about red hair. My brother in law has light red/orange hair but he insists on calling it blonde because he doesn't want to think of himself as a redhead. I interpret this first part of the second verse as the guy telling Regina not to pretend her hair isn't red and that she's beautiful because of it. She loves him for his long hair and he loves her for her red hair.

    But in that same second verse out come the scissors. The honeymoon phase of their new relationship wears off. Cutting his hair off is her realizing that they might not be a great match and that she isn't really in love with him. The loss of hair really plays well on multiple levels, because a lot of men start losing their hair as they get older. Whereas early in their relationship he had long hair and impressed her physically and emotionally, now that she has started to lose interest she notices an aging guy losing his hair who gets up in the middle of the night to snack on the most generic food. He no longer lights that spark in her. The stars that were falling on their heads are now just old light.

    Though she is changing how she feels about him, it's clear that he still loves her or is oblivious to her feelings. He shuffles back to bed after his midnight snack, tells her that he loves her and kisses her the same night that she starts first doubting their relationship, all passive stuff. At the end she breaks it off - tells him that she has to go. For as powerful as they both felt during the early relationship they didn't knock down any columns (columns could mean getting over challenges in the relationship, or could be milestones in a relationship). Now that she's looking back at past relationships this one doesn't even come to mind right away: the history books and bible representing her memories.

    For the chorus - "sweetest downfall" - I take the word "sweetest" pretty literally. Throughout the song he is someone who makes her feel loved, tells her to love her hair and that she's beautiful. When she can't sleep he kisses her until the morning light. "Downfall" I'm not quite as sure, but my best guess is that it's kind of a "it's not you it's me" thing and that she's using downfall to describe the collapse of their relationship. The cancer analogies seem a bit too on the nose for me, and don't really play well with the whole "i have to go" aspect of the song that sounds like she is leaving him. I highly doubt this is a song about her breaking up with a cancer patient.
  • Clint from TempeThis song is beautiful
    While it references the story of Samson and delish, it is not actually talking about them it's using the names and the representative hair , to instead tell a modern story.
    The actual Samson in this song is a man dying of cancer , he is going through chemo (wonder bread) and losing his hair . Having his wife cut it off for him . He is comforting her through out. Telling her she did a good job and kissing her until the morning light.
    Regina does a brilliant and beautiful job of tying these two stories together.
  • Owlman Smith from Philippines"The Bible didn't mention us" only means that her love for Samson wasn't written in the book.
  • Owlman Smith from PhilippinesThis song is about Delilah's love for Samson, she was pushed to betray him because of money but regretted it later because she realized she loved him first.
  • John from Manila, PhilippinesThe song is definitely about Samson's first love ("i loved you first, i loved you first") and it is not about Delilah. Maybe Regina is conceptualizing that she is the first love of Samson and tells the whole story behind but "the bible didn't mention us".... meaning that their love affair was never taught or spoken in the bible. It reflects forgiveness (and he told me that i've done alright and kiss me till the morning light) and love and all the pain that comes with it (love).
  • Emily from Brisbane, AustraliaThis 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". I don't know if it is about a friend or lover of hers but it seems clear it is about cancer. Also the bit about her specifically 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 (or whoever she is speaking about specifically) are just as strong as Samson in the bible (even without hair) or that they lose alot of strength during chemo (resulting in losing hair.) Yet they get lost in history.Not being able to bring the columns down could be referring to losing the battle to cancer and wonderbread could be referring to chemo or the drugs cancer patients take or it could even mean a food a patient is able to keep down after chemo. If you think about what people go through when they have cancer while listening to the song you can really see the connections... But it is also very sad and when I first realised it I was nearly crying :( I think she is very smart with the lyrics but the song is so sad and touching when you think of it like this.
  • Alina from Dallas, TxI think that maybe this could be an unnamed person who fell in live with "Samson" and had to leave for some reason. I think that maybe the line about cutting his hair has to do with intimacy. I don't think it is about samson and delilah because it mentions how samson had allowed her to cut it. he told her she had "done alright".
  • Tamara from Sydney, AustraliaThis song is about two stories of love, told in parallel, to tell each other's tale.

    On the one hand, we have Samson and Delilah's servant. Delilah didn't cut his hair- she made her servant do it. This tale is from the perspective of the servant, who, in the song, is in love with Samson, though she's a 'nobody,' and forgotten.
    "The history books forgot about us, and the Bible didn't mention us- not even once." Delilah's servant is not mentioned by name in the Bible, even though they were the instrument of his doom.
    "Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth" In between the stories, in the airy spaces between the pages of the Bible, between the words, in the unspoken and unwritten elements of the story, is the servant who had to watch her love Samson become weak and powerless, feeling nothing but love- none of Delilah's malice.

    The second tale, in parallel, is a modern story, of a person with aggressive cancer, told from the voice of the person that loves him.
    "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." This is a person with cancer, likely undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The intense reaction to the therapy makes it hard to keep anything down- white bread may be all they can stomach. More importantly, and more indicative, is the fact that there is a preservative ingredient specifically in Wonder Bread which is 5,000 times more effective than anything else tested to date, in treating radiation sickness, in studies. When their hair is going to fall out anyway, and it will itch and hurt their sensitive skin while they're sick from chemo, she has to cut his hair, which she's obviously attached to- his long hair that he had when they first met.

    Each tale is an allegory for the other- each woman is unnamed and not famous. Each has to watch their love weaken. Each is powerless to time and fate ("Oh we couldn't bring the columns down, we couldn't destroy a single one"). Each has a doomed love, and yet that love endures still.
    "You are my sweetest downfall- I loved you first."
  • André from Gnarp, SwedenI have a theory about this, "you are my sweetest downfall, I loved you first, I loved you first". Couldn't it be that Regina sings about a former lover of Samson's which she made up for the song, singing to Delilah that Regina's character loved him first but she had to leave him for some reason "I have to go." but it wasn't as simple as a break-up since she clearly still loves him but she just had to let him go. A woman who Samson trusted enough to let her cut his hair, even though it was his only weakness. And also "the bible didn't mention US, not even once" The bible mentioned Samson and Delilah but not this lover Regina sings about and most likely Samson's true love.
  • Ikaika from Honolulu, HiI think this song is very smart. it does have that kind of church piano progression. i think it may refer to the story of samson and delilah. at the same time i think there is a bit of personal influence in it as well. it's one of those songs that is great because it tickles our intellect and opinions.
  • Vanessa from Oxford, OhWhile the song is based in the Biblical story of Samson, I think it means to offer us an entirely different perspective of Delilah. The Bible story blames her for seducing Samson and then cutting his hair, knowing that would cause him to lose his superhuman strength. In Regina Spektor's song, however, it seems like the Delilah character has no idea the implications of this haircut. Right off we are told that she is vulnerable to him: "You are my sweetest downfall/I loved you first," which lets us know her feelings for him are true. Spektor's Samson allows Delilah to cut his hair whereas in the Bible story, she does it while he is sleeping. Then, "WE couldn't bring the columns down, WE couldn't destroy a single one". Delilah's on his side in this story, trying with him to bring down the columns of convention, love, relationships (whatever, chose your metaphor). To wrap things up, this song offers us a de-criminalized Delilah who really did love Samson.
  • Menard from Manila, PhilippinesI am not sure, but Regina has said to have an ailing boyfriend.Her lover was inflicted by cancer (although im not sure of this)

    i think that's why it has its phrase 'he ate a slice of wonder bread' referring to medicine. The description of the hair being cut is also an allegory of a chemo effect.

    the Samson and Delilah story from the bible is only a shadow of a more 'personal' song composition.

    but what's great about this song is that it gives us many possibilities, therefore respecting our intellect...
  • Erica from Roanoke, VaThis isn't my favorite song. This isn't even my favorite Regina Spektor song. But I think this song is the very definition of true love. My opinions seem to be very differen than everyone else's, so I could be wrong. (I apologize in advance for making this so long.)

    I'm thinking that Regina's (or a character that she made up for the song's story) first true love was this guy, who the song is calling Samson in reference to the Bible story of Samson and Delilah. This man was strong and the haircut symbolizes them being vulnerable to each other. This is something anyone who has ever been in love can relate to. To open yourself up to that kind of love, you become really vulnerable. You share things and moments with each other, and a side of yourself, that other people in your life will never see. The night of the haircut, the wonderbread, the kissing all night... these are things that they share with each other. Why the wonderbread? We, as the listener, don't know the answer to that because we weren't in that relationship.

    The stars falling on their heads were hindrances in the relationship. These "old stars" could be other people in each of their lives, or their separate pasts, or some other factors. Or the old stars could be people who have been where they are and are trying to give them advice that they don't want to take.

    The unbreakable columns (which are also a reference to the Samson and Delilah Bible story) were what ended the relationship. If you hear this portion in the context of the music, you may agree that this is where they broke up. Also, the way she sings the very last "you are my sweetest downfall / I loved you first," sounds bittersweet and nostaligic, as if the relationship is something of the past. Plus, if you want to use the Bible story of Samson and Delilah, their relationship ended as well.

    The history books and bibles didn't mention them because there was nothing significant to the world about their relationship and/or break up, but the relationship's significance in their lives was of Biblical proportions. This, again, is something anyone who has ever been in love can relate to. You know about all the things that are going on in the world. You probably have a job and/or go to school and have to focus on these sorts of things. But that love in your life tends to take center stage. If you're going through a time of stars falling on your head or running up against columns, the rest of the world suddenly doesn't matter anymore. As a side note, I think it's brilliant that she references a Bible story then sings about her relationship not being mentioned in a bible or history book.

    The line I focus on, because it struck a chord in me, was "you are my sweetest downfall." This is the part I have multiple opinions on.

    One opinion is that this line relates to the line "the history books forgot about us and a bible didn't mention us." If you're in a relationship, think about what your life would be like if you weren't in that, or any, relationship. What if you were able to focus on something that influences the world? You would be mentioned in history books and possibly bibles all because you didn't have that person in your life taking your attention away from making a huge impact on the world. You, Samson, are my sweetest downfall because our love is sweet and makes me so happy I forget about everything else, but because I've been focusing on you so much I haven't been able to accomplish everything I have the potential to accomplish.

    My other opinion on "you are my sweetest downfall" isn't quite as intense. It could simply mean that you had an emotional wall built up and considered yourself to be a strong person, but "Samson" was able to break down that wall and bring you out of your comfort zone into a place you haven't been before and changed who you are as a person.

    The reason I think this song defines true love is because when you hear the song you understand that there are always old stars looking down on you and columns to break through, but if you can work through them then your love is really true. Regardless of which interpretation of "you are my sweetest downfall" you choose, both can be true to life. The song can make you think, in a more simplified way, about your own personal relationship, or even past relationships, or maybe both. And that's why I think Regina Spektor is a song writing genius.
  • Michelle from Anaheim, CaI think this song is about a woman who did something bad to her lover, but he still forgave her. In the Bible story, Delilah finds out Samson's secret of his strength, which is his hair. After he tells her that if his hair was shaved, he would lose his strength, Delilah went to the lords of the Philistines and told them. They paid her money, and they came to shave his head. Regina alludes to this. When she says "I have to go, your hair was long when we first met," she's saying that she has to leave [obviously] and that when they first met, he was still innocent in the sense that she hadn't done anything to him. "I cut his hair myself one night...and he told me that I'd done alright, and kissed me till the morning light..." She's saying that she did something wrong to him, like Delilah did by cutting his hair. But he forgave her. But it seems that in the song, she can't stay with him, even though he forgives her. It's also ironic that she says the Bible didn't mention them, because the story of Samson & Delilah is in the Bible. My favorite line is "your hair was long, when we first met."
  • Kate from Burnaby, CanadaThis song is so hauntingly beautiful
  • Megan from Newport, NcWhen I heard this song I saw it more as an allegory. You know when you're with someone and you break up and you think did it mean anything? Will the history books remember us? Will anyone mention it? And I think she used Samson because his love made him give up something very great and she is saying "Hey, he did it for me, too. He loved me, too. He gave up his strength for me." We all know what its like to see someone you love be with someone else and feel like we meant nothing.
  • David from Manila, Othernick, i agree with you in that it's not about samson and delilah, but i'm certain one of them's delilah, because she mentions cutting his hair herself. the contextual analysis of setting (bible etc), situation (indirect, vague professions of love) are incredibly misleading
  • David from Manila, Otherit's about love, yes, but i'm not 100% certain it's about samson AND delilah. there are too many vague pronoun references to two different people. she sings: samson went back to bed, HE told me i was beatuiful in a second voice, but refers to someone in a third voice: i love YOU first. i'm inclined to think that this is about delilah and a former lover, someone she loved first. it couldn't have been about samson, because the bible DID mention THEM. it's about samson but it's not about him at the same time - it's about how people misconstrued this entire relationship - about how people out there not knowing who she really loves.
  • Nick from Okemos, Mii think this song is about samsons first wife. IF you read the part in Judges where samson is mentioned, he is actually married before he meets delilah, but the bible only mentions them in passing. it is a song of resentment and sorrow. and love.
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