"Daniel Cowman" as written by and Regina Spektor....
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 © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Daniel Cowman song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentDaneil 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
  • +2
    General CommentNo 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
  • +2
    My Interpretationi 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
  • +2
    Link(s)Here's a new idea.. Maybe it's too literal and not related.. But a year previous to the making of the album Songs, one of Regina's band members (Daniel Cho) died drowned, and according to the websites where I could read about the tragedy, people were still investigating the cause of the accident.. The recue services said he was swimming with a friend in a lake in Montreux around 14:00 when he suddenly went out of sight..

    I don't know how this could relate with the lady at the bar and the orange and red balloons.. or to the other ideas about the meaning of the song..

    Maybe I'm wrong, but there are a few coincidences..
    GoodbyeMishon October 06, 2013   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 InterpretationI don't know about the actual meaning of the song.. but it makes me think of my mothers death. When she stopped existing, the world should have stopped existing too... at least.. I remember looking out the window of the hospital and looking at people and they were just walking across the street doing whatever they had planned and they didn't even know. That seemed so weird to me... that they could just be living their lives when she was on the other side of the wall... dieing...

    I kind of went into a period of time when I wondered if I even existed. After all, I was on that side of the wall too. I was trapped on the other side of the wall. I kind of broke myself into two halves.. to put it into the context of this song.. "heroin boy" and the speaker.. The speaker being myself as I was before everything happened, happy and ignorantly blissful. Heroin boy being myself as I became, depressed and practically drowning in the world as it was (the world where I can happen to you).

    So, I love the line where it's talking about heroin boy screaming like it's the end of the world. Because I can remember feeling just like that. It was the end of the world, and no one knew it. She starts to talk about people with balloons being happy and people at the bar just going on with their lives and I can remember how that used to infuriate me. It was the end of the world. I wanted everyone to just stop and mourn with me, as ridiculous as that sounds.

    The last line is the most powerful, because the heroin boy admits defeat and gets in the water to be depressed.. "take a bath" meaning "just let me die".
    RusalkaAnaon August 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti believe that daniel cowman is currently dead when recounting his death sentence in third person. he is confused that the world did not end when his ended, hence the first sentence. then he goes into telling his restrictions of being dead. i think herion boy is a symbol of the grim reaper or death in general and he tries to explain to daniel that he should be at peace with the way he dies because it is his destiny. the song makes sense that way when rereading it but i have yet figgured out small details like the balloons or bar scene.
    becksterson May 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOk, so I don't know about the actual meaning. But this is what its about in my head. The whole song is about the moment Daniel Cowman overdoses on Heroin. In the first verse, when she talks about the day that Daniel Cowman stops existing, its the day that he becomes addicted to Heroin, and starts to lose himself to his addiction. Daniel is is sober mind, and Heroin Boy is his mind on drugs, or his addiction. As he falls deeper and deeper into his addiction, he looses himself, and becomes Heroin Boy, and Daniel stops existing in his mind because he has changed so much. The second verse, "the premature ejeculation of his death sentence hit Daniel in the face", is the moment he realises that he is dying of overdose. Everything is hazy, but realizing that he is dying sort of wakes him up temporarily, and Daniel's sober mind comes back long enough to realize what is happening. " he stood up and then he sat back down another 2 times in a row" - he was conscious briefly on and off, fading back and forth into his drugged up haze. "Everything got real slow like a gunshot in the movies", he has a moment of actual clarity, and time seems to freeze. "He remembers Heroin boy walking through the door" (his addiction coming in to play) "bouncing off the walls... Getting ready to go in for a swim" (anxious to used, and getting ready to use). Then he starts remembering how he got there - "Heroin boy'd walk through the door and he was screaming... Like it was the end of the world" he was needing to use, and his addiction was screaming at him like the world would end if he didn't use soon. Then Heroin boy starts getting ready to do more "starts taking off his belt/pants/shoes, getting ready to go in for a swim". And his sober mind knows what will happen, he knows he is going to die if he does anymore " I said no, you're gonna drown, and he said no I can't drown". (Drowning being having a pulmonary edema from the overdose, which is much like drowning) but his drugged mind thinks he is invincible because he is destined to hang (he probably began using do to depression, or has thrown himself into depression, and he plans on killing himself to end it all) because, as the first verse says "the world should have ended... When he stopped existing", he doesn't want to live like this, he would rather his world end then live controlled by his addiction. But anyways - his drugged mind, Heroin Boy, insists that he can't die from overdose, because he is destined to kill himself, " now that we've got that straight, can't I just be left alone? I want to take a f**ing bath" - shut up sober mind - I'm going to use, I need to. The chorus is what he's thinking as he's dying. He has accepted his death, and knows that he is dying, so he wonders if this is finally over and he'll be able to do whatever he wants once he's gone.
    Super lengthy, sorry, but that's what I think XD
    emily10154on April 23, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is so... strange.... regina rocks my world...
    bleedingmaskarahon December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis 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

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