I am
Down the road and up the hill
I wait for you still
Wires 'round my fingers
Potentially lovely
Perpetually human
Suspended and open

I am
Through the woods and past the trains
I wait here in vain
Scrubbing out the stains again
Potentially lovely
Perpetually human
Suspended and open

In a night, the snow starts falling
And everybody stares
Through their windows at the streetlights
Too beautiful to see

I am
In a room I've built myself
Four straight walls
One floor
One ceiling
And day after day, I wake up feeling
Day after way feeling, feeling

Potentially lovely
Perpetually human
Suspended and open

Open up
Your eyes
And then

Lyrics submitted by clarkmac, edited by boov

Open Lyrics as written by Regina Spektor

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Open song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about how some people never find their "soul mates" and waste their whole lives waiting for each other. I think this is a girl talking to a soul mate that she knows exists but has never met, and is telling him "open your heart" in the hopes that they meet each other one day.
    runningincircles72on July 26, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My Opinioninstead of talking about the lyrics, can i just start off with the way this song SOUNDS.

    it keeps me on the edge of my seat, as it starts out with that static/wind noise, and i find myself waiting for something, but i have no clue if it will be bad or good. the more regina sings, the louder the echo of her voice gets. the first time she sings "open" it sounds as if she's literally opening a door, but the second time she sings it, it sounds like she's THROWING open a door to a secluded house, letting in the sounds of the outside. when she mentions snow, you can actually hear the sparkle of snow in the background. and then those gasps for air! it's completely unreal. the first time i heard it, i got scared, as if I was the one who needed air, as if I was drowning. and then the song ends with echo regina humming along, as if regina's ghost has taken over or something. i don't think a song has made me feel as uneasy as this one has, and it's honestly the most amazing thing.
    GreatGoodJobFantasticon June 01, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about Anne Frank. She has dedicated another song to Anne Frank as well. The first part of the song is about Anne after she has reached the concentraion camp. If you watch the movie "The Diary of Anne Frank" she stands at the fence with the wires around her fingers. She also is depicted as scrubbing floors. "I wait fo you still" is talking about her boyfriend she was in hiding with. The part about the house is talking about the room she was hiding in. When she is gasping for air is when she dies at the end. I think she dies of pnemononia, but I might be wrong. I would not be surprised if some of the words in the song are actually from the Diary of Anne Frank, but I would have to look it up. What does everyone else think?
    fairy28on July 25, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThe first time time I listened to this song, I automatically thought about a Jewish prisoner in a Holocaust concentration camp. It also kind of makes sense because Regina has a Jewish background.
    Most of the concentration camps could be found outside of the towns (usually in a forest or abandoned locations) "down the road and up the hill"
    Also, many of the were right next to railroad tracks because that was the most common way Nazi Soldiers would transport the prisoners. "Through the woods and past the train"
    There were wire fences surrounding every camp. "wires round my fingers"
    I believe the rest of the song is talking about the mental struggles of waking up everyday surrounded by people telling you that your worth less than dirt and waiting for rescue. I also think the "room I built myself" is a metaphor for the mental state of the prisoners. How they felt totally alone, and trapped (many lost their faith in God during this time).
    csl5141on July 15, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTend to agree with runningincircles here.
    Oh and about the "gasping for breath" part, I don't think it's any disease, I think it's because the room that she built for herself has no windows or doors and she feels like she's suffocating.
    So she lives in this room in a secluded place(through the woods and past the train) but no one can see or hear her and it's becoming more like a prison. "Every day I wake up feeling potentially lovely, perpetually human, suspended and open" No doubt here, she's feeling lonely and unfulfilled. Feeling perpetually human could mean feeling mortal and subject to error(errare humanum est). Not much use being a wonderful person if there's no one to give yourself to. Suspended and open could symbolize loneliness as someone above said.
    My opinion, could very well be wrong. Nonetheless great great song and one that I've been overlooking for some reason.
    savianon November 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI can't believe that this song has no comments on it yet because it's one of my favorite Regina songs. It's absolutely beautiful - the piano and the lyrics and her vocalization.

    My interpretation of this song is that she's waiting for someone to love her, anyone, but she's only potentially lovely. And she's perpetually human in that she lets her loneliness get to her. She does everything for herself (I am in a room I built myself, etc.) because she's lonely and has no one to do things for or with her. Everybody kind of looks past her, as shown in the segment about the snow falling and everybody staring. She's just potentially lovely. She wants someone to open their eyes & heart to her.

    I dunno, it's kind of a lame interpretation but I like the picture it paints. A woman who has never been completely perfect and therefore has always been alone. It goes along with the desolate feel of the song itself.
    somedayxxbwayon December 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWhat a powerful, haunting song! Like all of Regina Spektor's work, it reveals more layers of meaning the more you listen to it. And, as always, it features her brilliant use of onomatopoeia to add another dimension.

    I didn't know what this song was about until I came here and read the remarks of csl5141 and fairy28 and made the connection: "Open" is about a prisoner. We can sense this prison in the fence she stands behind ("Wires round my fingers"), in her forced labor ("Scrubbing out the stains again"), and in her claustrophobic cell with its "four straight walls, one floor, one ceiling." This may be a prison of the mind, but it's also a physical prison, and its location "down the road and up the hill," "through those woods and past the trains," certainly suggests a Nazi concentration camp. Whether the singer is Anne Frank or an unnamed Holocaust victim isn't that important, although the reference to snow might point to Frank–she died of typhus in the winter of 1945, along with 30,000 others in Bergen-Belsen. Historical images of their bodies piled high in the snow are not uncommon.

    What's amazing about this song is how RS uses it to celebrate the human spirit. Even in the face of such cruel atrocities, the singer remains hopeful. Though she is physically confined, in the room she's created within her own mind she is "suspended and open," always aware that no matter how inhumanly she is treated, she is "perpetually human" and "potentially lovely." She may feel dirtied and degraded by the abuse, but she keeps "scrubbing out the stains again." As she waits, "suspended," for her freedom, the refrain "open" becomes her fondest wish, her command to the gates to part and let her out.

    Tragically, this is not to be: "In a night the snow starts falling, / And everybody stares / Through the windows at the streetlights / Too beautiful to see." What's going on here? Well, in a literal sense, one can imagine the prisoners staring out of the barracks as the snow falls. But what does this mean metaphorically? My thought is that the streetlights are a beacon in the night. They represent hope, guidance, maybe even divine intervention. But anyone who's seen streetlights at night knows they're so bright, it's hard to look at them. And in a blizzard, they quickly become covered in snow. Either way, the prisoners can't see them, and RS implies that the beautiful things they symbolize–hope, guidance, a miracle–are out of their reach.

    In the next verse, things get very desperate for the singer. She gasps for air as she refers to a room closing in on her, perhaps built by the forced labor of her own hands, and one immediately thinks of the gas chambers or maybe of the barracks, where so many died of disease. RS emphasizes the torturous slowness of this death when she repeats that every day, "day after day," she's compelled to "wake up feeling, feeling," suffering and suffering.

    And yet, the human spirit still triumphs, this time by making the transition into the next life, into that beautiful light that was out of reach on earth. When the singer opens her eyes, with a little gasp (listen for the "Oh!" after "Open up your eyes, / And then…"), this time what opens is the door to another world, one where her lovely potential will finally be fulfilled. If you listen, you can hear her spirit sing as it floats off into paradise...So sad but so beautiful!
    LyricallyInclinedon October 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel such a sense of...yearning. From this song. I wish this would be put on a CD.
    adamanteveon February 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is about humanness, feeling lonely and vulnerable, but also hopeful and anxious.
    satirecafeon February 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, although I don't think many people have heard it. The lyrics are amazing and suggest one of two ideas to me:

    *This song is from the point of view from the piano Regina had to leave behind in Moscow in a child...(crazy I know but I'll come back to this later)

    *Or it's about the black plague that swept England in the 1300's

    If you notice "suspended and open" are both types of chords. These chords sound incomplete and unfinished, which could symbolise the loneliness of the piano as its player had to abandon it. The part: "
    Down the road
    And up the hill
    I wait for you still"
    symbolises the piano awaiting for the return of Regina or someone who will play it, and the "one floor, one ceiling", conveys how lonely and isolated the piano feels (if a piano can feel anything at all- but lets use our imaginations :) ) The part at the end when is says "open up your eyes, come in", it's almost beckoning Regina to open up her eyes, to come back and find the piano she played when she was a young child.

    The piano theory may be a bit crazy but I think is a more logical idea to the song- if it can be called that, since the only person who knows the true meaning of the song is Regina :)
    During the black plague in England, sometimes people who were infected were put in a corner of a room and a wall was built around them in order to stop the disease being spread, which would explain:
    I (uh)
    Am (uh)
    In a room, I've built myself (uh)
    For (uh)
    Straight walls (uh)
    One floor (uh)
    One ceiling
    Day after day I wake up feeling
    Day after day I wake up feeling

    This song could be the plea of someone who has been confined to be let out in order to feel "potentially lovely, perpetually human". The part where it says "scrubbing out the stains again" symbolises the people of the towns where the plague is continually washing and scrubbing their clothes to prevent the spread of disease.
    The verse that starts "in the night the snow starts falling.." represents the many people who are staying in doors looking through their windows- they are frightened to leave the house incase they become infected. They are appreciating the falling of the snow which appears so beautiful to them, for so long they have been used to seeing people suffering, their bodies becoming "ugly" from the plague.

    What does everyone else think?
    Lozelion July 24, 2007   Link

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