Song of the Day #2,605: ‘Hey There Delilah (Live)’ – Plain White T’s

plain_white_tsLike yesterday, today I want to write about a song that I featured on the blog ages ago. In this case I’m going even farther back, more than seven years ago, to Song of the Day #38, Plain White T’s’ ‘Hey There Delilah.’

This song came up randomly in my car the other day and for the first time it struck me as deeply sad. Though I don’t think the text of the song implies it, I suddenly felt very strongly that the singer believes he and Delilah will never be together.

I’ve always thought of this song as a very sweet and earnest take on a long-distance relationship that was destined to beat the odds. But now, I don’t know.

Maybe it was the dreary weather, or the melancholy mood of the song that preceded it, who knows… but the vocal delivery and the overall tone of the song suddenly felt hopeless.

There’s no way they’ll reunite in two years, and despite everything he’s saying, he knows it.

[Verse 1]
Hey there Delilah
What’s it like in New York City?
I’m a thousand miles away
But girl, tonight you look so pretty
Yes, you do
Times Square can’t shine as bright as you
I swear it’s true
Hey there Delilah
Don’t you worry about the distance
I’m right there if you get lonely
Give this song another listen
Close your eyes
Listen to my voice, it’s my disguise
I’m by your side

Oh, it’s what you do to me
Oh, it’s what you do to me
Oh, it’s what you do to me
Oh, it’s what you do to me
What you do to me

[Verse 2]
Hey there Delilah
I know times are getting hard
But just believe me, girl
Someday I’ll pay the bills with this guitar
We’ll have it good
We’ll have the life we knew we would
My word is good
Hey there Delilah
I’ve got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away
I’d write it all
Even more in love with me you’d fall
We’d have it all


A thousand miles seems pretty far
But they’ve got planes and trains and cars
I’d walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
And we’ll just laugh along because we know
That none of them have felt this way
Delilah I can promise you
That by the time we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you’re to blame

[Verse 3]
Hey there Delilah
You be good and don’t you miss me
Two more years and you’ll be done with school
And I’ll be making history like I do
You’ll know it’s all because of you
We can do whatever we want to
Hey there Delilah here’s to you
This one’s for you


6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,605: ‘Hey There Delilah (Live)’ – Plain White T’s

  1. Dana says:

    I think it was the rain…I hear this as a sweet, hopeful, albeit arguably naive, love song, though the singer is clearly defensive and keenly aware of the cynicism coming from others that the relationship won’t last. I suspect you are interpreting it as hopeless because you are infusing your belief (which is historically well-supported) that, despite the best of intentions of innocent young love, long distance relationships don’t work out 99% of the time, and are probably more likely to fail the more guileless the couple is.

    I, for one, hope these kids made it, but wouldn’t bet big money that they did.๐Ÿ˜„

  2. Clay says:

    I posed this question to my wife and she put it very well. She said “I think the character in the song believes the relationship will work, but the singer knows it won’t.”

    • Dana says:

      I think if the singer were older or someone like Randy Newman, maybe. I don’t see that depth or cynicism coming from the likes of the Plain White T’s.

  3. Peg says:

    As someone who started out in a long-distance relationship at a very young age, and who is about to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary with that same person soon; I think the relationship may work ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope so anyway

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