"You Don't Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor)" as written by and Benjamin Scott Folds....
I wanna ask you
Do you ever sit and wonder,
It's so strange
That we could be together for
So long, and never know, never care
What goes on in the other one's head?

Things I've felt but I've never said
You said things that I never said
So I'll say something that I should have said long ago:

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

You could have just propped me up on the table like a mannequin
Or a cardboard stand-up and paint me (paint me)
Any face that you wanted me
To be seen.
We're
Damned by the existential moment where
We saw the couple in the coma and
It was we were the cliche,
But we carried on anyway.

So, sure, I could just close my eyes.
Yeah, sure, trace and memorize,
But can you go back once you know

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

If I'm the person that you think I am
Clueless chump you seem to think I am
So easily led astray,
An errant dog who occasionally escapes and needs a shorter leash, then
Why the fuck would you want me back?!

Maybe it's because

(You don't know me at all)

(You don't know me,
you don't know me.)

So, what I'm trying to say is
What (What?)
I'm trying to tell you
It's not gonna come out like I wanna say it cause I know you'll only change it.
(Say it.)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all
(You don't know me)
You don't know me at all (at all)

What?


Lyrics submitted by smileforthecamera, edited by MingMing01, RevAndroid

"You Don't Know Me" as written by Ben Folds

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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You Don't Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor) song meanings
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46 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentI have a happier meaning for the song which comes from the idea that the line "you don't know me" has a different consequences depending on who says it.

    When the guy says it, he thinks it's the reason that the girl hasn't rejected him. He's afraid that if she gets to know the real person, she'd leave him.

    But, notice when the girl says the line. She says it right after "But can you go back once you know?" and "Why the fuck would you want me back? Maybe it's because...". She says "you don't know me" as a response to his questions. Whatever he's hiding, she's the kind of person who will stick with him despite his flaws. She isn't the judgemental person that he's afraid she is.

    A followup this is whether the girl is a good judge of character or not. Is the guy wrong for looking down on himself too much? The answer is yes. Throughout the song, being to complete his sentences shows that she knows exactly what he's thinking and feeling. You could say that the mirroring of his lines shows that she's as clueless as him, but it's too much of a coincidence for them to think of exactly the same cardboard standup metaphor (when both of them say "paint me anything").

    It looks like there's hope for the insecure guy after all. While he's hidden his true self behind a cliche, the girl was perceptive enough to see through it and get to know him even if he was too blind to know her. But it won't continue this way. Close to the end of the song, some lines are spoken rather than sung. At this point, the guy's opening up and, to his surprise, she's willing to listen despite his hesitation (which would really annoy most people). Unfortunately, the song doesn't tell us how it went, but the cheerful humming as it ends suggests a happy ending.
    ORYLYon September 22, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentYeah, but they don't mind that they didn't know each other, because maybe they were too afraid to have someone know them that well.

    I love the bit when Regina sings that paint me anything bit, it sounds really good. She has such an incredible voice, yeah?
    Sweet_Amityon August 14, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentYou don't know me at all
    (Ahhhh, ahh...)

    Hearing this part today made me think of the way it's sung. It's almost as if the female in this story flips the point of view around to the guy. Where he's dismissing her for not knowing him, she turns it around and says "You don't know me so well either." The male doesn't realize the reason he is dismissing the female also applies to him, and the female is willing to forgive him for it.

    For the first time the male is flustered and has trouble getting a sentence out; "So what I'm trying to say is - What I'm trying to tell you.." He trips on his own thoughts. He isn't sure how it's best to say "I love you" to this person, maybe "You don't know me" is their way of saying "I love you."
    jriveton July 18, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is literally about existentialism. Sartre (the father of existentialism) talks about how relationships are futile because the person you’re with is always “other” and you can’t possibly know them like you know yourself. You’re always objectifying the person by imposing an image of what you believe they are onto them. Sartre says this makes one person more sadistic by doing the objectifying and the other masochistic by letting themselves be objectified. The line: “we're damned by the existential moment,” makes the influence pretty clear. I love the idea of Ben and Regina talking about Sartre and existentialism and being like “Hey lets write a song about it.” It’s a really great embodiment of the theory and it kind of cracks me up.
    EmilieVirginiaon November 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have become completely addicted to this song...the sound created through the upbeat sound mixed with their voices is amazing. Anyway, I think this is something that happens to alot of couples who become too comfortable...you can spend such a huge amount of time with someone and realize later that what you had was company, not love.
    alluringtoxinon September 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment1. I think the line is probably "errant dog" instead of "arid dog", as there is a song called "errant dog" on the album. And I'm wondering if it's an oblique reference to "Dog" on one of the EPs?

    2. I'm thinking this song takes the more negative approach, unfortunately, given the state of Ben's love life and the lines about her thinking he's a clueless chump. I bet this one's about the third wife. I hope the fourth marriage goes better.
    colum1225on October 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always had an ear for Ben Folds, but none of his songs have really resonated with me like this one has. It's not because of the lyrics, particularly, their fairly simple and straightforward; it's the duet pairing with Spektor, who I would snatch up in a heartbeat. The duet writing is positively stunning, the way the song accommodates both artists' strengths, namely Ben's more down to Earth, less ornate vocals with Regina's very precise, absolutely gorgeous flourishes. It still retains the kind of boyish angst you get from Ben Folds songs, but adds something new that I really enjoy.

    And for the record, I believe Regina sings "paint me any face".
    SecondDegreeFreshon November 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The couple in the coma" is the narrator and his girlfriend. They have reached the epiphany that they do not even really know who each other are after all this time, rendering them both emotionally paralyzed.
    JohnnyLurgon March 14, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is really good. I love that Ben Folds and Regina Spektor decided to do a song together. I think the meaning is pretty clear - about a couple that realizes that (either while in a couple or after the relationship is over) they never really knew/understood each other completely.
    fivergirlon August 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn (sort of) addition the the previous comments. I think that it is about a couple who split up. (Hence the line: "Why the fuck would you want me back?") After they split the girl realized that she wanted the boy back, but the boy wouldn't have it because he'd realized that the girl that he had fallen in love with was the girl that he had made her up to be, but that is exactly why she wants him, because of the persona that he gave her. This is suggested by Regina's tone of voice. It sounds as though she is happy that he doesn't know the real her, and perhaps she likes HIS version of her better than she likes who she really is.
    OhNo789on August 20, 2008   Link

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