"Oedipus" as written by and Regina Spektor....
I'm the king's thirty second son
Born to him in thirty second's time
Born to him the night still young
Born to him with two eyebrows on
And that's all I was wearing
When I woke up staring at the world

My mom had been around the graves of queens
But not at all a sex machine
She liked to keep her body clean, clean
Thought the world to be quite obscene
But she retired to her chamber
And we remain quite strangers

And to see me made her awful sad
And to touch me made her awful sad
And to see me made her awful
And to touch me made her awful

I'm the king's thirty second son
And all it took was thirty second's time
But a spoiled little prince I was not
Had a chamber maid and a chamber pot
And there's thirty one others just like me
There's thirty one others I can be

Someimtes I'd stand by the royal wall
The sky'd be so big that it broke my soul
And I stood on my toes to catch a glimpse
Of my mother's eyes and my mother's skin
And she retired to her chamber
And we remain quite strangers

And to see me made her awful sad
And to touch me made her awful sad
And to see me made her awful
And to touch me made her awful


And one morning I woke up
And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus
Then one morning I woke up and I thought Rex, Rex, Rex
Then one morning I woke up
And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus
Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two's still counts
Gonna make it count
Gonna make it count
Gonna oh oh

Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two still counts
Gonna make it count
Gonna make it count
Gonna oh oh

Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the

I'm the king's thirty second son
There's thirty one others just like me
There's thirty one others on the way
There's thirty one others after that

Sometimes I stand by the royal gate
People screaming love and hate
And they scream
And they scream
And they scream
And they scream
Long live the king,
Long live the queen

And to see me made her awful sad
And to touch me made her awful sad
And to see me made her awful
And to touch me made her awful

And one morning I woke up
And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus
Then one morning I woke up and I thought Rex, Rex, Rex
Then one morning I woke up
And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus
Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two's still counts
Gonna make it count
Gonna make it count
Gonna oh oh

Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two's still a goddamn number
Thirty two's still a goddamn number

Thirty two
Thirty two
Thirty two
Thirty two
Thirty two
Thirty two
Thirty two

Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king
Long live the king


Lyrics submitted by medicine, edited by mosthuman

"Oedipus" as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Oedipus song meanings
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79 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment"Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two still counts
    Gonna make it count
    Gonna make it count
    Gonna oh oh

    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the"

    if you count the "long live the king" words, they add up to be 31. and this is why she droped the last "king" because he is not a king yet.this is what he want to make it count.

    then :

    Gonna make it count
    Gonna make it count
    Gonna oh oh

    Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two's still a goddamn number

    Thirty two
    Thirty two
    Thirty two
    Thirty two
    Thirty two
    Thirty two
    Thirty two

    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king
    Long live the king .

    he killed them all and he's now the king :] because she finished the sentence and now he made it count and they add up to be 32. just him and his mother.

    Purple.on November 05, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm the king's thirty second son...

    Keep in mind that 'second' has two meanings within this song. Not only is he the 32nd, but he represents thirty seconds of investment on his father's part.

    To me (as to others), much of this song has a rank-and-file dystopia kind of sound to it, making me wonder if it's about patriotism. The main character of the song would be a soldier or beaurecrat. The mother reference is a mixed metaphor -- representing love and kindness, but distant and unknown, and someone/something that rejects the speaker (and to see me made her awful/and to touch me made her awful).

    The Oedipus complex is heavily built into the story... the implication is strong that the main character is going to depose the 'king' and assume rulership (Rex is the latin word for King -- "then one morning I woke up, and I thought Rex, Rex, Rex, Rex."), and that the main reason is to find this mother element he's lacking.
    Arafelison February 28, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commentso most of what i think about this song is already posted here but ill add one more thing.


    most people have discussed the 32nd sons issue. but after listening to the song for about the 100th time something else occured to me. and this has already been mentioned briefly by someone else.

    "I'm the king's thirty second son
    Born to him in thirty second's time

    and

    "Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two still counts"

    could be reffering to the actual number or the time. Liaus and Jocasta sent oedipus away almost immediatly after his birth where he was raised by labdacus and his wife until his return to thebes, making him a thirty second son, as in he was only their son for a very short period of time.

    also "thirty two is still a god damn number, thirty two still counts" could be interpertated as "thirty too is still a goddamn number thirty too still counts" even though he was only their son for thirty seconds it should still count he deserves their attention

    i dont know its just another way to look at it

    gotta love regina and her loaded language!
    kdeb08on September 10, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with commenters mentioning the oedipal complex theme. However, I feel like the mechanical/mathematical aspects of this song are often overlooked. She may have chosen "thirty-second" as the narrator's number because of the pun, but it's also an important number in binary -- you'd write it as 10000. For some reason, this always jumps to my mind when the song plays... but I don't have anything more concrete than just a vibe and a few loose straws.

    Oedipus' comments make his birth sound almost artificial. He makes it sound like he wasn't just conceived, but also born in a single night, part of a batch. Is this poetic licence? Quite possibly... still, it adds to the sound. And his mother hardly sounds human; she could be, of course, but the way the song commodifies and objectifies her makes it sound as though she could just as easily be something else.

    I don't think this is (or at least is just) some sci-fi story about a cloned vat-boy, but if I were making a music video, that would probably be the video I made to it. I think that's another layer of metaphor... under that, assuming that is even accurate to the intention with which the song was made, I could imagine a story about power and industry.

    But I can't really say. I think of all Ms. Spektor's songs, this is the one I'd most like to ask what story she was telling when she wrote it.
    Arafelison August 23, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the line is "my mom had been a rather crazy queen" instead of "my mom had been around the graves of queens." and.. "born to him with my ears still on" instead of "Born to him the night still young."
    marchingdrummeron November 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song has fairly little to do witht he actual play oedipus rex. the song is of an alienated person lost in a crowd believing hoping that someday they will mean something too. the oedipus redferences are there in order to show the extents that some imagination can go to in fantasizing of the realization of that dream. i am not sure what tha persistent positive representations of the people who brought them into the world means; maybe it is there to show that they still love them, although they blame them for their suffering. any other input would be awesome.

    Thirty two's still a goddamn number
    Thirty two's still counts

    amazing lines
    onelegedgirlon October 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think it's directly about the Oedipus story.

    I think the character in this song feels ignored by his mother because he's the 32nd child.
    When he wakes up thinking Oedipus... I think it's anger at his father and his mother for ignoring him ("32s still a goddamn number").

    I'm sure the "long live the king" is sarcastic.
    Sam-Vimeson June 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUmmm... postpartum depression that lasts a lifetime?

    Orphans?

    Children who were conceived through rape?

    Attention-starved child developing some kind of complex/plan?

    The abandoned 32nd flavor of Baskin-Robbins ice cream?

    So many interpretations!
    phunkometryon April 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, it's possible that this song is connected to the original story, but only if Regina didn't know much of the original story. I'd like to think she's smarter than that. For starters in the original story Oedipus wasn't the 32nd son of either his birth parents or his adoptive parents, and that's just for starters.

    Who says that when the character in the song wakes up and thinks "Oedipus", that he's thinking of himself?

    After thinking that, the character decides he's gonna make himself count. Then... "Long live the king"... isn't that what people say at the coronation of a new king?

    I actually think the implications are pretty disturbing... basically sounds to me like the character was inspired by the story of Oedipus Rex, to kill his father, then become king, by marrying his mother. I wonder if it could have been based on a historical event... some of the details seem fairly specific, but I don't know of any such story.
    sibilationon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:)
    mrs-mojo-risinon April 09, 2005   Link

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