"Acetate" as written by Justin Deyarmond Edison Vernon, Christopher Michael Rosenau, Jonathan Edmund Mueller, Daniel Thomas Spack, Thomas John Wincek and Matthew David Skemp....
I will hobble you around
I may drive you down
There are promises I'll make
There are promises that I'll take away

But I won't beg for you on acetate
I won't crawl on you to validate
Tear those numbers down
I won't be having them around, for now

You found me on the beach
I was resting there for weeks
I will never tolerize/I will never tow the lines
I will never fortify

It's one way or the other
It's shudders up under covers
I've tumbled up under fronters now
Wonder if I've recovered now

I won't beg for you on acetate
I won't crawl on you to validate
Tear those numbers down
I won't be having them around, for now
Eh

Shout it, shout it golden loud
The apple's on the archer's ground
No longer feeling tepid now
Shout it, say it louder now


Lyrics submitted by menano, edited by nannulars, TFTS, hollowsuns, mikec, deck, Method Acting

"Acetate" as written by Daniel Thomas Spack Christopher Michael Rosenau

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Acetate song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe lyrics are ambiguous enough, but I think it's essentially about moving on and up, letting go and growing from those things that tore you done once. Repaving, if you will.

    In any case, incredible song and album.
    iricandescenton September 07, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhy acetate? My interpretation coming from a science background:

    1) The human body turns alcohol into acetate as part of alcohol metabolism (breakdown). Acetate is an acid, and is thought to contribute to the symptoms of a hangover. Vernon could be using acetate as a metaphor for being drunk on a relationship and now feeling pain recovering from it (like a hangover) now that the relationship is over. He could also literally mean this song is about him drinking alcohol and then being hungover.

    2) Outside of biology, in general chemistry, an acetate is a negatively charged molecule (anion) that can bind to a positively charged particle (cation, often a metal), forming a salt. Vernon could be speaking of acetate as a negative person being attracted to a positive person, and both end up being salty. This is less likely, and I mostly typed this paragraph for puns and funs.

    With science out of the way, I guess I'll try my hand at interpreting the rest.

    | I will harbor you around
    --> I will keep the memory of you with me like a ship at harbor. But all ships must sail again...
    | I may drag you down
    --> I may drown the memory of you (goes along with water/harbor theme), possibly hurting you in the process.
    | There are promises I'll make
    | There are promises that I'll take away
    --> I'm not sure what I want. I will try to make you happy with my words, but in the end I will do what's best for myself.
    | But I won't beg for you an acetate
    | I won't crawl on you to validate
    --> I won't beg for you to come back to me, I am already feeling pain like a hangover (acetate, see above) from this relationship. I will seek self validation and fulfillment from people and things besides you, because that is not your role anymore. We're over.
    | Tear those numbers down
    | I won't be having them around, for now
    --> Don't make me think of the number of months/years we were together, or the number of things we've done for each other. To get over this, I can't think about that. Right now, anyway (again with the uncertainty).
    | I'll be in the ocean
    | I'll be out there for weeks
    --> Again with the water/sea theme (harbor, drown). He'll be isolating himself from this person he has cut ties with. It will take him awhile, but he will come back eventually.
    | I will never tolerize
    | I will never fortify
    --> Tolerize may refer to building a tolerance (again with biology theme) for this person the song is about or for stress in general. He won't ever be able to deal with it. But he will also never fortify, or protect himself from the stressful situation. Just because a relationship ended badly does not mean he will fortify or close himself off to something new. He could very well get hurt again. But he doesn't seem afraid.
    | I'll be on the beach
    | It's where I have to be for peace
    Again with water theme. He'll be close to the water, the unknown, the adventure. But stepping to the side for now to recover, like a vacation, finding peace of mind again.
    | Shout, say it louder now
    | The apple's on the oranges ground
    --> Being assertive about his feelings. Reassuring himself and the one he's addressing that this is the right thing. They are apples and oranges, an expression meaning they are not the same and don't belong together.
    | No longer feeling tepid now
    | Shout, say it louder now
    --> Tepid means lukewarm, especially in a liquid (water theme again). He's not tepid anymore. He's not dulled anymore. Possibly referring to alcohol/a toxic relationship dulling him and now acetate/hangover/recovery making him aware of his true self, passion, and needs.

    Overall, I think this is about ending a toxic relationship, feeling the pain afterward, but asserting that it's the best thing.

    That's my interpretation! Of course JV is a genius and this may not be his intention at all with the song. His lyrical style is vague though, and I feel he intends for many interpretations. Thanks for reading!
    thelategreatson February 05, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed. In terms of his personal life, I'm imagining this has something to do with the end of his relationship with Kathleen Edwards. They were presumably close during the 'fallout' of Bon Iver, Bon Iver and this could be a new project, new perspective track. It's pretty ambiguous but narrative seems to describe some line that's been crossed in his morals or principles etc. but wtf knows
    10203040on February 14, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother way of looking at the Vernon side of things, is the aftermath of his reaction to the Grammys.
    "I won't crawl on you to validate.." especially rings true with a lot of artists who feel shunned by corregorate award ceremonies like that.

    Maybe its explanatory and quite fitting considering Volcano Choirs stance on the market. i.e.. an unconventional, earthy rock band; not something the Grammys would digest.
    10203040on February 17, 2014   Link

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