"The Calculation" as written by and Regina Spektor....
You went into the kitchen cupboard
Got yourself another hour and gave
Half of it to me
We sat their looking at the faces
Of the strangers in the pages
Until we knew them mathematically

They were in our minds
Until forever
But we didn't mind
We didn't know better

So we made our own computer
Out of macaroni pieces
And it did our thinking
While we lived our lives
It counted up our feelings
And divided them up even
And it called our calculation
Perfect love

Didn't even know
That love was bigger
Didn't even know
Didn't even know that love was so, so
Hey hey hey hey

Hey this fire, hey this fire
I'm burning us up
Hey this fire, hey this fire
I'm burning us
Oh, oo oo oo, oo oo oo oo

So we made the hard decision
And we each made an incision
Past our muscles and our bones
Our hearts were little stones

Pulled 'em out they weren't beating
And we weren't even bleeding
As we lay them on our granite counter top

We beat 'em up against each other
We beat 'em up against each other
We struck 'em hard against each other
We struck 'em so hard, so hard til they sparked

Hey this fire, hey this fire
I'm burning us up
Hey this fire, hey this fire
I'm burning us up
Hey this fire, hey this fire
I'm burning us
Oh, oo oo oo, oo oo oo oo
Oo oo oo oo oo oo


Lyrics submitted by incurable_humanist, edited by Sefumax

"The Calculation" as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Calculation song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentLove is not a calculation, where what you give you demand back, where everything is half-half (counting up your "feelings and divided them up even") where you're constantly watching your partner to make sure everything's fair (each hour you get, you give "half of it to me").

    Such love is as good as dead, according to Regina, your hearts may as well have turned to "little stones."

    "Love" is when you rip up the rules, the calculations, the monitoring of your partner, and you metaphorically "beat" your little stone heart until you get the "spark" back, and realise that love is indefinable, it's "hey hey hey," it's not a cold calculation, but an uncontainable fire "burning us up!"
    yhtrownuon June 22, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love this song so much. When I first heard I was a little disappointed, thinking it was kind of mindless, but once I read the lyrics I fell in love. I think it's about a long term relationship that has kinda turned monotonous and loveless. The live through the telephone or a computer but there's not much intimacy. The beating their hearts up against each other could be an argument, that in a weird way, made them realize they do love each other, and it made their hearts "spark" again.
    HaverchuckTheStudon June 17, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOkay, so my interpretation is this...
    The protagonists of this story are two people in 'love.' Outwardly they do all the things that appear to be love, and they are, for all intents and purposes, functioning within this. It is, however, formulaic -- a calculation. The song is about the decision that people make to open up (make an incision) and delve into a deeper, riskier place in hope of a greater experience of love. These characters find that inside, their hearts had withered from lack of use -- the macaroni computer has made them redundant-- so they resuscitate their emotional lives by physically creating sparks like with flint and steel.
    saabninefiveon June 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song! The funniest part is the first time I heard it I was like "eh" and the second time I was like "I CAN'T STOP LISTENING!" haha. Does anyone else feel like a few songs on this album are reminiscent of Bjork? (this one and Machine remind me of her the most) Just curious. :D
    britcheson June 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAwwwwwl, only one comment DD:
    This interpretation is way different from the only other one that's here...but here goes.


    I actually think this song is about two people who are, in a way, trying to force love.
    Like the part that goes, "as we lay them on the granite countertop, we beat them up" gives me this image of two people trying to desperately to feel something, in this case, represented by the spark [we struck them so hard, so hard, until they sparked].

    Because in the beginning of the song, it's like.
    They shared their feelings, their time. Everything was even. Everything was equal.
    And love is just a calculation, a forumla, and they followed it.
    And so they're in love, right?

    But then they realize they're not.

    So they make this decision to cut themselves open and take whatever they had and tried to make it work together. But they see that their hearts are made of stone, and they can't just put them together?

    I don't know. That prolly sounds stupid. >.< And it's a stretch.
    But that's the image//plot i got from the song.
    Hey, I'm weird.
    SOUPerpowerson June 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationMy interpretation:
    I think this song is about two people who try to follow a formula for love because this is what they think love is. Then, they realize that love is so much bigger then what they originally thought. The fire, or love, consumes them. So they take out their hearts, which are nothing but "little stones" and try to make them produce what they are feeling. They strike and strike until finally the hearts produce sparks, or love. By doing this, they are breaking free from the formula and proving that there is no true way to make love happen or work.
    musicgal121on July 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti didn't realize how great this song was until these lines:
    "We struck 'em so hard
    So hard
    Until they sparked"

    it made me beam so much! <3

    love thissss!
    couldn't expect any less from amazing regina.
    thecosmoson July 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmusicgal121, you stole the words from my mouth... well, fingers. :P
    I also think it's about the envy of seeing tabloid couples and seeing their "perfect love". They learn the strangers in the pages mathematically until they can make their own calculation of perfect love. The first part about not knowing love is bigger refers to them doing things via computer, using science and reasoning to try and understand love. However, when they make an incision and go past the physical and logical side of things they find the true meaning inside. And by striking their hearts together they enrich each other and the spark is made. This song could be saying that forcing love by trying too hard and trying to come up with methods isn't the way to go. Love is such an unpredictable and natural (or maybe supernatural) thing that it cannot be calculated or fathomed, it'll happen or it won't, you can't force it.
    Raininbowson August 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this is a song about internet dating.

    "So we made our own computer
    Out of macaroni pieces
    And it did our thinking while we lived our lives
    It counted up our feelings
    And divided them up even
    And it called that calculation perfect love."

    this is almost how you put all of your information into an iternet dating site, it finds compatible people and calls it "perfect love". so this song basically says how two people are 'matched up', but possibly find out that they aren't really right for each other, but they keep trying to make it work.

    "We sat there looking at the faces
    Of these stranges in the pages
    'Til we knew 'em mathematically"

    i think this basically is saying that someone was looking at the 'matches' until they knew every single detail about them 'mathimaticlly'
    idk, just some thoughts
    lvharmonypeace26on November 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    To me it sounds like two people who still have that child-like sense of wonder (like: let's try that and see what that does) and they're looking at the 'strangers in the pages' thinking "well, they're in love. Is it that easy for us?" so they each pull out their hearts and try to get a spark, and they do, and that's the fire that's burning them up, because they found that love was so much bigger than what they thought. The language seems a bit, not simplistic, but simple, and I get that child-like feeling from 'computer out of macaroni pieces'.
    But no one has the same interpretation as me at all, so perhaps I'm hearing things... :)
    OHunderstandingon January 13, 2010   Link

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