Fidelity, the opening song on Regina Spektor’s 2006 album Begin to Hope was written by the singer whilst watching the film High Fidelity (2000), which was in turn adapted from the novel of the same name by Nick Hornby (1995). The film tells the story of record shop owner, Rob Gordon (played by John Cusack), his love life and break ups through his love of music. Fidelity explores the apprehension of falling in love and worrying about the inevitable heartbreak that could arise from yielding feelings to another person.
Regina Spektor takes High Fidelity’s theme of pondering life, love and relationships through music, with lines in Fidelity such as: “I got lost in the sounds, I hear in my mind, All of these words, I hear in my mind, All this music, And it breaks my heart …” Spektor is living life through the music that she makes, much like the way in which in High Fidelity, Rob Gordon lives his life through the music he listens to.
In the second verse of the song, she sings “Suppose I never ever met you, Suppose we never fell in love, Suppose I never ever let you, Kiss me so sweet and so soft, Suppose I never ever saw you, Suppose you never ever called, Suppose I kept on singing on love songs”. Here, Spektor is contemplating what her life would have been like if she had not met the male figure she is talking about and kept on living life through the love songs she sang rather than experiencing real love, much like the way in which in High Fidelity, Rob Gordon contemplates the effect music has on him:
“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
Fidelity became one of Regina Spektor’s most popular songs. In 2006, she told Entertainment Weekly that she wasn’t surprised at the song’s international popularity:
“When we were recording, it just felt nice, like in my body. I thought, ‘This is delicious’. So much of listening to music is physical. It starts in the stomach and it needs to travel up to the lungs in this specific way. When that doesn’t happen, you just feel it, you know when it’s not right. It’s very much a body experience. To me, Fidelity felt really good in my body when we were finished. I guess people’s bodies are the same in those kinds of ways. Sometimes songs just feel nice”.