"20 Years of Snow" as written by and Regina Spektor....
He's a wounded animal
He lives in a matchbox
He's a wounded animal
And he's been coming around here

He's a dying breed
He's a dying breed

His daughter is twenty years of snow falling
She's twenty years of strangers looking into each other's eyes
She's twenty years of clean
She never truly hated anyone or anything

She's a dying breed
She's a dying breed

She says I'd prefer the moss
I'd prefer the mouth
A baby of the swamps
A baby of the south
I'm twenty years of clean
And I never truly hated anyone or anything
Twenty years of clean
Twenty years of clean

But I got to get me out of here
This place is full of dirty old men
And the navigators with their mappy maps
And moldy heads and pissing on sugar cubes

But I got to get me out of here
This place is full of dirty old men
And the navigators with their mappy maps
And moldy heads and pissing on sugar cubes

While you stare at your boots
And the words float out like holograms
And the words float out like holograms
And the words float out like holograms
They say, feel the waltz, feel the waltz
Come on, baby, baby, now feel the waltz
Feel the waltz, feel the waltz
Come on, baby, baby, now feel the waltz


Lyrics submitted by adamanteve, edited by lovelikearose, choosum

"20 Years of Snow" as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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20 Years of Snow song meanings
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61 Comments

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  • +12
    General Commentironically, i only "got" this song when i turned 20 this year.

    i think it's about how a father's troubled past later shapes his daughter's life. the father was very wounded and having been damaged, he became reserved and stoic, eventually not being very generous with his emotions. i'm not sure why he's a dyign breed though.

    later on, when he has a child, his stoicism affects his daughter's emotional outlook on life. because of the lack of love embraced in the household, she's unfamiliar with the concept and ends up cold, thus the metaphor of "snow falling" for her. all her acquaintances and relationships were nothing more than superficial - hence the "she's twenty years of strangers looking into each other's eyes". and because she was never really immersed in any substantial emotional involvement she never really felt passionate about anything ("never truly hated anyone or anything"). so she lives her life like a blank piece of paper, acummulating nothing, choosing not to hurt herself by not hurting or loving anyone.

    but she longs for the moss, which is to say, she doesn't want to be all clean anymore. she wants to break, to feel, to live and to love. but she ends up looking for it in all the wrong places - since she didn't know where to start and ends up in some dodgy street with lots of dirty old men and weird people.

    so her conquest for some adventure ends up in disappointment and once again she's disillusioned and heads out for the books that are a more secure alternative as she's merely the vicarious observer, and delights in watchin "the words float out like holograms".
    jadedgypsyon May 11, 2006   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI feel like this song is sort of about a girl who grew up with an overprotective father, maybe one who was emotionally hurt and sort of guarded. Hence, "hes a wounded animal" and "he lives in a matchbox". Then you see his daughter who probably hasn't gotten to experience too much. She seems like a lovely girl, as she's "20 years of strangers looking into eachothers eyes" and all. She's 20 years of snow, which is associated with being pure and virgin and all. "She's 20 years of clean" only accentuates the point that maybe she's never done a bad thing in her life, and sort of believes the world is a good place filled with good people. So she sets off to seek her fortunes, and ends up realising that she hates where she is. "and I never truly hated anyone or anything. But I got to get me outta here" kind of makes it seem like she's realised she is in a bad situation and hates it because she's not the same pure, virgin, 20 years of snow she used to be.
    annabellee129647on January 16, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPlease tell me I'm not the only one who thought she was saying, "Staring at your boobs." XD
    lunaloveon July 25, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's simply a girl who is very pure. I don't think she has to be emotionally stunted in some way. She's longing to grow up and actually experience and feel different things, but she's going about it the wrong way with the wrong kind of people. I love near the end when Regina makes those weird noises. Any meaning? Or just noises? Maybe this girl is finally feeling something???
    MidCenturyon December 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's definately books.
    It fits perfectly into the next line. The WORDS float out like halograms. Words come out of books. lol

    I'm not sure but I think the song is about a simple, quiet, pure girl who gets out into the real world and she doesn't fit in.

    I'm not sure what the first stanza is about
    singerc1on May 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfirstly i feel this song is about a character regina has created and not about regina herself.

    i totally agree with the idea of the father affecting the outcome of the daughter. the idea of him being a wounded animal definately suggests a tortured past.
    and the idea of 20 years of snow. well firstly. although this sounds a bit stupid. the idea of snow being cold and icy feels like a reflection of their relationship. and mabey this lack of contact is the cause of her "She's twenty years of strangers looking into each other's eyes" which to me means that she does not have the emotional maturity to understand human relationships and what eye contact with other people can suggest. in addition to this "20 years of clean" to me means that she is a virgin at 20. possible due to her fathers influence or the lack of relationship with her father causeing her to struggle in relationships. also snow is white and covers ugly of dirty scenery which could be a symbol of her innocence and lact of contempt acting as a shield to the insecurities she feels ie the idea of the place being full of dirty old men staring at her. - plus the actual music in this song sounds childish and dizzy which to me suggest a sense of confusion and dissorientation which could mean that she is confused by her surroundings or by the people she encounters.


    sounds like nonsense but thats what i get from the song.
    thinkpeaceon June 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell there are a couple interesting theories but I think it's about a Father who had a hard life and rasied his daughter sort of sheltered as to make sure she didn't go down the same road he did. The 20 years of clean I think is about virginity or maybe just pureness in general. She's been raised sheltered and even though the father is trying to keep her pure she wants to go out and experience life on her own. Just my two cents.
    fullmetalfunkon April 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about a rich girl living in a family with old money. The "he's a wounded animal, he lives in a matchbox" is about a little mouse or small animal she sees and compares her life to a small caged, feelingless, dying animal with the "he's a dying breed" and "she's a dying breed". She is taught to smile and nod and not actually feel anything because it would be improper for her to voice her opinion. She is supposed to sit and look pretty ("twenty years of snow") and she has no real relationships because it's almost as if she is porcelin, untouchable. "I got to get me out of here this place is full of dirty old men...with their moldy heads and pissing on sugar cubes" is about the people she is surrounded by. People who have old money, and no newness in the ideas or character who could care less about the world outside of themselves (pissing on sugarcubes). She is made to read and study like a good rich young lady would and "feel the waltz" is representative of her parents pressing her to be just like them and feel what they tell her to feel.
    ehwigginson June 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correction"while you stare at your books"
    next lyrics are 'the words flow out like holograms"
    they coincide
    Argmikon September 06, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song, but there are a few mistakes in the lyrics above.

    The line 'Are you staring at your boots' should be 'While you stare at your books'.

    the line 'She's a sign from the fire and the moss' is really 'She says, id prefer the moss'

    and finally the lines 'But baby I'm the swan,
    But baby I'm the sigh' should be 'A baby of the swamps, A baby of the south'

    i got those from the booklet included with the CD so they are right.

    I love regina.
    mrreznoron June 16, 2006   Link

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