On the day that Daniel Cowman stopped existing
The world should've ended right then and there
At precisely four-fifteen when he stopped existing
The world should've ended--how could it go on?
How could it go on when I don't exist? I don't exist...

and now that we got that straight, doesn't mean that I can fly
Doesn't mean that I can go do whatever I want
Now that we got that clear, and you know that I'm not here
Doesn't mean that I can go do whatever I please

the premature ejaculation of his death sentence
Hit Daniel in the face like a big round spitball
And everything got hazy in the courtroom
And then he stood up and then he sat back down
Another two times in a row
And everything got real slow like a gunshot in the movies
And he remembered heroin boy walking through the door
Bouncing off the walls and the floor
Taking off his belt, taking off his pants
Filling up the bathtub, getting ready to go in for a swim
Singing, I don't exist...

and he start remembering...
The heroin boy'd walk through the door
And he was screaming and everybody was, like,
What're you screaming as if it's the end of the world?
And he was, like, well it is
And I was sitting in the corner with my pants down
And I was sure someone next door was blowing up balloons
And they was red and orange
And there was this one lady at the bar and she was trying to buy gin
And this other lady at the bar and she was trying to sell gin
And it worked out good for the boths of them
And heroin boy started taking off his belt
Started taking off his pants, started taking off his shoes
Filling up the bathtub, getting ready to go in for a swim
I says, no--you're gonna drown
And he says, no--I can't drown
Simply because...shhhh...
A man destined to hang can never drown
A man destined to drown can never burn
A man destined to fry can never, ever, ever
Die in any other way
Frying--lucky that I'm dying by hanging and not drowning

so now that we got that straight, can't I just be left alone?
I want to take a fucking bath



Lyrics submitted by SoakedinMercury

"Daniel Cowman" as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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Daniel Cowman song meanings
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60 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment:Daneil Cowman is a shout out to Modest Mouse's Cowboy Dan. If you don't interpret Cowman as a last name, then they essentially have the same name. In MM's song Cowboy Dan is alive, but a part of that song links thematically with this one:

    He drove the desert, fired his rifle in the sky
    And says, "God if I have to die you will have to die"

    Regina matches this with:

    On the day that Daniel Cowman stopped existing
    the world should've ended right then and there

    So Regina is referecing Dan/Daneil's wish that the world end along with him. Given that Dan is a stereotypical name for a cowboy, it could all be a coincidence but its a cool idea anyhow.
    so_ein_pechon July 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:No no no, I've got this!
    At least, I think I do.
    The beginning is someone mourning DC's death. Then it goes on in Daniel's voice when it goes into, "How could it go on when I don't exist, I don't exist..." DC has 'stopped existing', how could the world continue without him?
    The next part - that in death, he is not liberated - - or in the knowledge of impending death. It doesn't mean he's free.
    The second verse is pretty clear, in my opinion. DC in the courtroom, hearing the sentence, etc, etc. Heroin boy - I agree, someone also on death row. He remembers heroin boy taking a bath --
    And here, I think, it jumps back to HB receiving his OWN sentence, and screaming about it, as one does when they are curtly informed they are going to die.
    And then he goes back to HB taking a bath - clearly this is rather important - & he's anxious that HB might drown but is reassured - HB is due to hang, not drown.
    Here is where it gets a little hazy, in my opinion. Or, subjective, or what.
    Whether HB drowns or not, I'm not sure.
    I do think it's about suicide. You know, suicide instead of dying on death row? Taking your own way out - controlling your way of death? I think that HB did drown himself, and now that DC is in the same situation all he wants to do is "take a fucking bath".

    I like teekay11's take on it though. But literal is so much more fun. ^^
    everworld2662on April 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:"A man destined to hang can never drown" is a reference to Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" where they that exact thing about one of the shipworkers who is driving everyone mad during a storm where they are all trying to survive. It's comforting thing for them, because if he's destined to hang (because he's a bad guy) then the people on the ship must make it.

    So Daniel Cowman thinks he knows how he's going to die because he believes he's destined to hang. But he does drown, and he doesn't expect it.

    Now, to me. The person tenses and stuff change so much in this song that I assumed Heroin boy and Daniel Cowman were the same person. If Heroin is mixed with quinine(which, if it isn't pure it often is), someone who accidentally overdoses can suffer from pulmonary edema which is filling of the lungs. like drowning.

    I think it's about a guy who thinks he's invincible as far as his drug use goes and thinks his destiny is to die because of all the wrongs he's done to people which makes him destined to die. Not that he feels guilty, he just knows that he's kind of an a-hole.

    And all the ranting about "I don't exist, can I go do whatever I want know?" I think that's part of his drug enduced frenzy and stuff. Maybe it was a sort of enlightenment gone awry because he realized the oneness of the world and life around him, so he concluded he could do whatever he wanted and it didn't matter.

    the bath was probably getting his fix, and he didn't think he'd drown (cause he can't) but the person telling the story of Daniel Cowman thought he might. And he did.
    hanseletta.barbosaon January 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:i think this song is from daniel cowman's point of view. i agree that the beginning is about when he was in the courtroom and was sentenced to death. he started thinking about when he died, what would happen. how he couldn't imagine a world, because he wouldn't be in it.

    the next verse i think is about how even though he is still alive but dead to the press, he can't do whatever he wants & therefore can't take a bath.

    i think the part about heroin boy taking a bath is that he is taking a bath to cleanse himself of the sins he committed on earth, because he too is destined to die, and is maybe fearful of hell, i think this because in the part that says

    "and I was sure someone next door was blowing up balloons
    and they was red and orange" red and orange like fire, and hell.

    then also

    "a man destined to hang can never drown
    a man destined to drown can never burn
    a man destined to fry can never, ever, ever
    die in any other way
    frying--lucky that I'm dying by hanging and not drowning" he says frying because he is talking about frying in hell & if he drowned he wouldn't have time to, idk purify himself before death, and would still end up in hell, even though he knows he is destined to. and now daniel wants to take a bath to rid his sins, but he can't because he is still a prisoner even though he is already dead to the world.

    i don't know if that made any sense, but thats what i think of when i listen to the song.
    easyluckyfreex3on July 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is so... strange.... regina rocks my world...
    bleedingmaskarahon December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:this is such a great song, i cant exactly come together with what t means but the way it is sang...........is lovely
    belly laughson January 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:it's about a man who has been sentenced to death and his longing to take a final bath. that's the jist of it... haven't quite got to grips with specifics.
    roostifiedon February 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Roostified is correct.

    Its about a man sentenced to die by hanging, who is remembering a specific scence from his life wherein a heroin addict gave him some good advice about death and destiny.
    lecky333on March 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:You're totally WRONG!!!!

    You forgot the most important line in the whole song, which is also the most attention grabbing line and the line she stresses the most.

    "I don't exist" "I don't exist" "I don't exist"

    The speaker clearly doesn't exist, and we can't ignore that. Therefore this is what I think it means.

    Daniel Cowman was executed at 4:15 and now he is a ghost. He expected the world to end and everything to stop for him but it didn't "How could it go on?"

    So now he is a buried ghost who just remembers things about his life all the time and feels gross and dirty because he is covered with so much dirt that he just wants to "take a fucking bath."
    lecky333on March 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I love the theory on that last one but it sounds like such a stretch haha, has Regina ever mentioned that?
    Still a really cool connection.
    And no matter what this song is about, I love it. It's beautiful. I love all the different piano parts. And I love at the part where it starts "he started remembering and remembering..." etc, I love how dreamlike the piano becomes.
    adamanteveon October 04, 2006   Link

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