"Human of the Year" as written by and Regina Spektor....
Hello? hello?
Calling a Karl Projektorinski
To the front of the cathedral
You have won, dear sir
May I congratulate you first?
Oh, what an honor

Human! human of the year! you won!
Human! human of the year! you won!

Why are you so scared?
You stand there shaking by your pew
The icons are whispering to you
They're just old men
Like on the benches in the park
Except their balding spots
Are glistening with gold

Human! human of the year! you won!
Human! human of the year! you won!

You have won!
hallelujah
hallelujah
hallelujah
hallelujah

Outside the cars are beeping
Out a song just in your honor
And though they do not know it
All mankind are now your brothers
And thus the cathedral had spoken
Wishing well to all us sinners
And with a psalm drew silent
Till next year's big human winner

Outside the cars are beeping
Out a song just in your honor
And thought they do not know it
All mankind are now your brothers
All mankind are now your brothers

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hello? hello?
Calling a Karl Projektorinski
To the front of the cathedral
You have won


Lyrics submitted by Tobold, edited by drmstx94

"Human of the Year" as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Human of the Year song meanings
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76 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentSacred, holy, honest, eerie, haunting, solemn, bewitching, beautiful.

    When she revs it up for "Outside, the cars..." I get shivers all up and down my arms.

    Regina Spektor is an angel of music.
    porcupinegloveson April 13, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI don't think Regina is being bitter in this song. The actual melody is upbeat towards the end --- the lyrics can't be taken without actually listening to how she sings it. I think she is trying to tell a story about an average man being honored for just being human, the type that don't get awards in Time Magazine. He has had a lonely life (the verses are melancholy) but now he has his moment of fame.

    As for criticism of religion, I notice these comments alway say any song with religious references (although than outright Christian rock) is criticizing religion and it's gotten really old with me really fast. The cathedral and mention of "hallelujah" is just to show the award ceremony is a grand celebration, I think. Among the old men whose "bald spots are glistening with gold" could be classical composers whom our society admires. J.S. Bach, a very famous composer, played the organ for church services. Beethoven wrote a Hallelujah piece. Imagine a hall filled with people dressed like they're attending a performance of a grand symphony.

    Overall I think this song is a critique of the people society honors, as incoherentlove put it.
    sheela_lon June 19, 2009   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationIn an interview with Regina she said that the way people congratulate themselves for having faith was silly, "It's like being saying you're a woman, good job".
    I think that based on that comment this song is a jab at the idea of faith making a person better than the average atheist. You shouldn't need to win a prize for mankind to be your brothers, The cars would beep whether you won or not.
    Ironically this song seems to be very much about pride, Carl presumably was very humble but this prize would give him the seeds of pride. "You stand there shaking in your pew, the icons are whispering to you, they're just old men, like on the benches in the park" sounds like he is struggling between the natural pride that anyone would feel and his religiosity. Being recognized as a religious person is making him almost cave into idolatry as he wonders whether he could become an icon of faith.
    My opinion is that this song is about the differences between believers and nonbelievers and the divide could be the undoing of true belief.
    Zenatyraon January 08, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI noticed that you can rearrange the letters in Prejektorinski to spell rejinki spektor. I just thought it was humorous......btw, I saw her perform this last night in Phoenix, it was a very nice song.
    PrichardDJamson November 05, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think Regina is being sarcastic in this song. "Human of the Year" would seem like a compliment, as if someone were the kindest and purest human on earth... But I think by being the most "human" she means that they are the most flawed, like she's celebrating human imperfection.

    "And although they do not know it,
    all mankind are now your brothers."

    Here she means that no one is perfect and even though this Carl fellow is being awarded, everyone shares it with him, because all humans are flawed, and there can never be a Perfect Human.

    "And thus the cathedral had spoken, wishing well to all the sinners."

    All the people who have gathered at the ceremony for this "award" are sinners. Carl Prejektorinski is the most imperfect human this year. The name "Carl" sounding like an Average Joe, and "Projektorinski", as Troiaj said, sounds like "projector". This character's flaws are a projection or representation of the flaws of all of humankind.

    This song makes me think of a huge group of people all dressed up in graduation gowns, shaking hands and congratulating each other for being ignorant, arrogant, obnoxious, etc.
    HulyeMajomon June 23, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song reminds me of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson.
    hystericredcoaton June 24, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPlease forgive me before I even state this (it may rise some anger from some people) but I feel this song could be about the Pope. The Pope is just a man just like anybody else. The pope has fears. The Pope is not above other human beings, even if we say he is. All mankind are his brothers.
    GabrielDeRoseon July 03, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretationhmmm interesting reading the different opinions on this song..
    I agree with some people who said that this song involves sarcasm and irony..but not about religion itself. When I first heard her mention the name "Karl Projektorinski", Karl Marx automatically sprung to mind. I think this song is about him or rather his teachings and his followers the so-called marxists & neo-marxists (hence "Projektorinski"). Marx's view of humanity basically is that everyone deserves equal chances. But at the same time Marxism rejects any religious beliefs.
    Moreover, Regina Spektor is of jewish belief who was born in communist Russia, and at the time communist Russia suppressed religion and support atheism. So I think what she is basically saying is that it is hypocritical that people say they are pro humanity and that everyone should be treated equally, yet they are not allowed to practice religion or that people who have religious beliefs are ridiculed for believing in the "illusive" God.
    LalaLandroidon May 11, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis reminds me of The Hunger Games, I don't know why.
    liljojo204on April 30, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentVery nice, I agree and finally signed up on this site just to reply to your comment, sheela_l.

    One definitely can't interpret the lyrics without having heard the song. Many tracks by the Beatles would seem quite dark and ironic if you would look just at the lyrics, without having heard the tracks.

    I too think that she's trying to tell a story about an average man, she does that quite often in fact. I always imagine that she must have shy men in mind who can do great things but just lack the confidence to even accept their honours like Mr. Prejektorinski here.

    Also, I absolutely agree with you on the critique of religion. I just got her new album and looked all the lyrics up, it comes up again and again. If there's only a hint of religion everyone automatically assumes it's a critique of religion. I think it's a little offensive to think that a great lyricist like Regina would occupy herself so much with only one subject like that, when her mind is clearly filled with much more fantastic ideas than only concern for an obvious problem.

    In general though, I agree it's probably critique of idolisation of arbitrary figures like incoherentlove said.
    dieAntagonistaon June 20, 2009   Link

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