"I and Love and You" as written by and Jay Burnett....
Load the car and write the note.
Grab your bag and grab your coat.
Tell the ones that need to know.
We are headed north.

One foot in and one foot back.
But it don't pay to live like that.
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks.
For never to return.

Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.

When at first I learned to speak.
I used all my words to fight.
With him and her and you and me.
Ah, but it's just a waste of time.
Yeah it's such a waste of time.

That woman she's got eyes that shine.
Like a pair of stolen polished dimes.
She asked to dance I said it's fine.
I'll see you in the morning time.
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.

Three words that became hard to say.
I and love and you.
What you were then I am today.
Look at the things I do.

Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.

Dumbed down and numbed by time and age.
Your dreams that catch the world the cage.
The highway sets the traveler's stage.
All exits look the same.

Three words that became hard to say.
I and love and you.
I and love and you.
I and love and you.


Lyrics submitted by argreen

"I and Love and You" as written by Scott Yancey Avett Robert William Crawford

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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I and Love and You song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentLoad the car and write the note
    Grab your bag and grab your coat
    Tell the ones that need to know
    We are headed north.

    This stanza is obviously to me about saying goodbye. About leaving town and 'heading north' to get away from the pain that has been felt there. Perhaps he is leaving without saying goodbye to the one who has hurt him, hence he would "write the note". "Tell the ones that need to know" - evidently, there are people there who he will miss, but he cannot stay.

    One foot in and one foot back
    But it don't pay to live like that

    The relationship he was in has never been a fully committed one. It seems as if he himself has never been able to give her everything, and he has always been cautious of opening himself up to her. He sees now that this is, tragically, not going to work.

    So I cut the ties and I jump the tracks
    For never to return.

    So he leaves, to stop him from hurting the girl any more. He loves her but knows that he must leave if he cannot stop putting "one foot in and one foot back".

    Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in
    Are you aware the shape I'm in?
    My hands they shake, my head it spins
    Oh Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.

    To the present, and he's driven north and arrived at Brooklyn, where he wants the city to "take me in". He's not at all over the girl, though, and is visibly a shell of the man he used to be. "My hands they shake, my head it spins." He speaks this entire song from this point, standing in the place he has arrived after running away from broken love.

    When at first I learned to speak,
    I used all my words to fight,
    With him and her, and you and me,
    Oh but it's just a waste of time
    (it's such a waste of time)

    I don't think he is literally talking about the first time he learnt to speak. I think he is metaphorically referring to when he first built up the confidence with this girl to be himself and speak/think his mind. But he did those things too much, and decided that things weren't going to work, that they were a "waste of time". Something like that, anyway.

    That woman she's got eyes that shine,
    Like a pair of stolen polished dimes,
    She asked to dance, I said it's fine,
    I'll see you in the morning time.

    He's thinking back to the moment they first met, where he noticed her eyes. They danced, and slept together I assume from the "see you in the morning time" bit. Perhaps even the 'dance' is a metaphor for having sex, who knows.



    (Then the chorus again.)



    Three words that became hard to say
    I and Love and You.
    What you were then, I am today
    Look at the things I do.

    End of the relationship or thing they had. Why could he no longer say "I love you"? Perhaps he didn't mean it anymore, or perhaps he was so afraid of becoming vulnerable that he couldn't let her in by admitting it to himself. It's an ambiguous part of the song which makes it very relatable for anyone who has ever left somebody despite loving them dearly. "What you were then, I am today; look at the things I do" is a beautiful sentence about how love can make you want to change into anything your love wants you to be.



    Chorus again


    Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
    Your dreams they catch the world, the cage
    The highways sets the traveller's stage
    All exits look the same.

    Feeling emotionally numb, he continues driving down the endless roads looking for somewhere he can be happy away from his love having found that Brooklyn just doesn't make him forget. He's finding that nowhere is good enough, and nowhere can shake this love he has left out of his mind.

    Three words that became hard to say,
    I and Love and You.
    I and Love and You.
    I and Love and You.

    So he ends the song on the tragic reminder that he still loves her, but couldn't admit it for whatever reason. It's a truly sad song about situations that can force you to leave the love of your life, and it is also about those situations where you love somebody but either can't, or aren't allowed to, tell them how you feel. So, you leave.
    poshboyon October 30, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationPoshboy almost has it, but I see a couple very important different ways to interpret the lyrics.

    I relate very much to this song, given a recent breakup with (who i thought was) the love of my life. When I met her I was struck by how brilliant, beautiful, and talented she was... but as we aged through our relationship and I grew to love her and her to love me, it became increasingly obvious that something was off..I knew when we met that she was recovering from a 3 year relationship (her first attempt at love) that ended abruptly when her boyfriend left her.

    It took me months to open her up--a process that owes itself entirely to my patience, energy, and belief in the woman she could be--but when I finally did, I realized that she was determined to maintain the distance that guaranteed her own emotional safety. Despite my best efforts to assure her that our relationship didnt have to end like her past--that WE controlled our own fate!--she eventually broke up with me because she just couldnt bring herself to let her guard down and believe in me the way she had romantically been swept away when she was young and naive and first attempting this thing we call love. What she didnt realize was that she was doing to me exactly what had happened to her. She had been broken by her first experience with love, and continues to allow that negative experience to disrupt any chance at a second attempt. And now, I look at myself and realize she, in turn, has left me broken.

    While Poshboy is very close, this is how I would interpret the song:

    First two stanzas, rightly interpreted, are about leaving his past behind and traveling to someplace new. He writes the notes to those who he feels would worry about his disappearance, but is too (ashamed, cowardly, or just plain broken?) to talk to them personally.

    "Brooklyn brooklyn take me in..."

    He's praying with all his might that the new city to which he travels will allow him to escape his past and rescue him from his current state of being.

    "When at first I learned to speak.
    I used all my words to fight.
    With him and her and you and me.
    Ah, but it's just a waste of time.
    Yeah it's such a waste of time."

    This is a nostalgic moment in which he ruefully remembers a time before his experience with love, back when he was young and carefree, living in absolutes and believing that life was about drawing the boundaries between human distinctions--perhaps a time when, like many of us, he believed humanity to be separate and immune to one anothers decisions and choices. But he recognizes that this line of thinking is a waste of time, and that something else is of much more importance and value to a fufilling life...

    "That woman she's got eyes that shine.
    Like a pair of stolen polished dimes.
    She asked to dance I said it's fine.
    I'll see you in the morning time."

    Music picks up, and the abrupt transition in subject tells you that THIS is what the song is all about. He's remembering the woman thats made him all that he is today. He remembers her as a elegant being with sparkling eyes, who one day in that all-to-distant past asked him to dance and from then on changed his life forever. He may at some moment even have had expected to see her in the morning like he used to, only now thats clearly not the truth... Brooklyn instead is here to comfort his woes...


    And FINALLY: this song's chorus speaks so eloquently the words that remain the refrain to my love life. No matter where I travel to escape my past, I'm left with the feeling of emptiness from the loss of perhaps the greatest woman I've ever known. The words "I love you" are now words that I find almost painful to be spoken. Im like her. Unwilling... or unable... to allow myself to open to another.

    "What you were then, I am today. Look at the things I do."
    vogelgayon July 23, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have to say I don't think "relationship" when I hear this song. To me this is the quintessential "small town band heading out to make it big" song. It's a song about ambition.

    Load the car and write the note
    Grab your bag and grab your coat
    Tell the ones that need to know
    We are headed north

    One foot in and one foot back
    But it don't pay to live like that
    So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
    For never to return

    This is leaving, for good. Breaking ties with home and the past to go wholeheartedly into the future.

    When at first I learned to speak
    I used all my words to fight
    With him and her and you and me
    Oh but it's just a waste of time
    Yeah, it's such a waste of time

    The singer summarizes the life and relationships he's known in his youth, when his words were only instruments of useless frustration and anger - unlike now, when he can string them together to ensure his success (with his music).

    That woman shes got eyes that shine
    Like a pair of stolen polished dimes
    She asked to dance, I said it's fine
    I'll see you (Brooklyn) in the morning time

    This woman that he's encountered somewhere along the way, she may keep him for a time, but she's not enough to deter him from his ultimate goal (of reaching Brooklyn and achieving his dream).

    Three words that became hard to say:
    I and love and you
    What you were then I am today
    Look at the things I do

    Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
    Are you aware the shape I'm in?
    My hands, they shake, my head, it spins
    Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in (x2)

    I believe the singer is addressing Brooklyn directly here. He's saying "look at me (Brooklyn), I'm young and brash and ambitious, just like you were in your early days".

    Dumbed down and numbed my time and age
    Your dreams, the catch, this world, the cage
    The highway sets the travelers' stage
    All exits look the same

    This, to me, is a statement - he has to move now, before he gets too old to remember what his dreams were or where he were trying to go and why it was important (this is my favorite stanza in the whole song).

    It's because of this overriding hunger that he finds it harder and harder to really to care about much else in his life:

    Three words that became hard to say:
    I and love and you
    I and love and you
    I and love and you
    42 stepson June 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPosh Boy nails it!
    timmyb2002on January 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's important to note that not every song is written as an allegory-- that is, not every word or detail is representative of a particular meaning.

    That being said, this song I believe is about the desire for escape. It is about running away from your problems, and the consequences of such. We have all come to the point in our lives where we just want to leave, to go somewhere-- anywhere, rather than face the messes which we've created.

    In this case I think it's about a guy who is spontaneously deciding to leave rather than face commitment with a girl. He is not fully giving himself to someone who loves him, so rather than jumping in head first he decides to leave without warning. The fact of the matter is that he is scared. His hands shake and his head spins.

    Like most people, instead of admitting their fear, they mask it with anger. That is why he laments over his excessive fighting in the past. This, coupled with the fact that he chooses not to dance with this girl, is symbolic of the fact that he is unwilling to fully give himself to this girl.

    That is why saying "I love you" is so difficult.

    However, at the end of it all, he realizes tragically that escape never solves anything. He learns that leaving and backing out rather than facing the scary things in life leave him at a dead end. At the end of the day, all exits (escapes) look the same: hopeless.
    stanglisson August 02, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is the first time I have ever thought everyone but me has missed the forest for the trees. This song is clearly a biographical song about the fate of the father of Americana music Woody Guthrie. Woody's hands shook from his disease and he entered Brooklyn State Hospital never to come out again. He was a hero to Bob Dylan, I am sure Jay Burnett, and every folkie on the planet. Bob Dylan's song/poem Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie tells a lot of it, as does his book Chronicles volume one.

    Yes, it is a general song of regret and family failure and sickness and despair, but it is specific to Woody Guthrie's story... "Brooklyn (state hospital) let me in..."
    markmase1on March 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have always felt this song was about a couple who were in love, but something happened and now the singer is having doubts. Referring to Brooklyn as a girl, the singer is asking her to do something that will reassure him of their love for each other because he doesn't like his feelings of doubt. "Are you aware the shape i'm in?" he's asking if she knows his doubts and such. Falling out of love, he can't say those three words.."I and Love and You"

    Funny, i wrote a song very similar to this earlier this year before i ever head of the Avett Brothers....
    StrangeBrewwon August 14, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about love and how we pray to love to saves us from our lives , like saying " oh love , love take me in... are you aware the shape I'm in? , my fears shake my soul and my world is a mess , now I've found a girl but I'm not sure if this is what I've been looking my whole life , she is amazing but I'm afraid to fuck up again so oh love , love take me in are you aware the shape I'm in? My fears shake my soul and my world is a mess, three words that became hard to say I and love and you...
    jefferson49on April 05, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"... the song was inspired by a gig at Brooklyn's Galapagos. "It was the coolest place we'd ever been, and the furthest from home we'd ever been in every sense," Scott Avett tells Spinner. "So the Brooklyn chorus kind of embodies the rest of the lyrics."

    spinner.com/2009/06/24/the-avett-brothers-i-and-love-and-you-song-premiere/
    ONaCarouselon June 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's definitely "...but it don't pay to live like that," not "...but it's okay to live like that." Big, meaning-changing difference.
    kellyelephanton June 29, 2009   Link

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