"Beth/Rest" as written by and Justin Vernon....
Errant heat to the star
And the rain let in
The hawser rolls, the vessel's whole and Christ, it's thin

Well I'd know that you'd offer
Would reveal it, though it's soft and flat
Won't repeat it, cull and coffers that
For the soffit, hang this homeward
Pry it open with your love
Sending lost and alone standing offers

It is steep, it is stone
Such recovery
From the daily press, the deepest nest, in keeper's keep

All the news at the door
Such a revelry
Well, it's hocked inside of everything you said to me

It was found what we orphaned
Didn't mention it would serve us picked
Said your love is known
I'm standing up on it

Aren't we married?!
I ain't living in the dark no more
It's not a promise, I?m just gonna call it

Heavy mitted love

Our love is a star
Sure some hazardry
For the light before and after most indefinitely

Danger has been stole away

Lyrics submitted by iquitmyscene, edited by aneroid

"Beth/Rest" as written by Justin Vernon

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Beth/Rest song meanings
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  • +12
    General CommentOkay, so this is my analysis of this song after smoking weed to this album for a good two month's worth of summer nights and seeing this performed live at the Ryman. Justin Vernon is a god among men, and his music collectives will remain unforgettable.

    "errant heat to the star
    and then the rain let in"
    *Something has gone awry, some new foreign emotion has presented itself to the relationship. "and then the rain let in"- The problems began to manifest themselves, the rain is washing away the superficial facets of the relationship.

    "the hawser rolls, the vessel's whole and Christ, it's thin"
    *a hawser is a thick rope for towing boats, but I think here it's just used for a rope, and hawser sounds good. He talks in interviews about saying words because they feel gooood. So the hawser rolls, a new part of the relationship is brought to light, or "excavated", as he likes to say. The vessel, or relationship, is still whole. But it's thin. It's breaking.

    "well I'd know that you'd offer
    would reveal it though it's soft and flat"
    *He's using "I'd" now, as if he's looking into the past, seeing what could've happened. She'd offer some sort of new gimmick to keep the relationship, and she'd show it but it's still soft, not hard (think hard evidence), and flat. Not well rounded. Not true.

    "won't repeat it, cull and coffers that
    for the soffit, hang this homeward"
    *He won't do this again. He won't pick out from a group the coffer that he wants for the soffit. He's looking up at the roof. At what they've done together. A coffer is an indent in the ceiling, a coffer is the interior of the roof. "Hang this homeward" It's hitting home. He means it.

    "pry it open with your love
    sending lost and alone standing offers"
    *Try to open up the relationship again with the love she still has. She's sending futile offers for the love again.

    So to recap, girl did something wrong. He's looking over the relationship, and it's thin and breaking. He knows that she'd try to fix it, but it would be a soft and flat effort. He won't go back into the whole living together, picking a home thing. She'll try to open their love again, but her efforts aren't good enough.

    "it is steep, it is stone
    such recovery
    from the daily press, the deepest nest, the keeper's keep"
    *The breakup is obviously hard, as he is saying that it's hard ("stone") to keep from the daily reminders, the deep emotion, and the most coveted thing-love.

    "all the news at the door
    such a revelry
    well, it's hocked inside with everything you said to me"
    *She keeps reminding him of this bad time, in a manner that is very noisy. He just shrugs it off ("hock" is a midwest term for throwing something aside, like hocking trash) with all the other false love statements.

    So again to recap, it's hard for him to have the constant reminders of the breakup. She keeps coming up to him, but he shrugs it off as a defensive measure, deep inside.

    "it was found what we orphaned
    didn't mention it would serve us picked
    said your love was known
    I'm standing up on it"
    *He sees what he left behind. He realizes that when she brought whatever emotion to light, she wasn't leaving behind everything, and his defensive measures were an overreaction. She says he knew she loved him. He's now "standing up on it", putting it all on the line one more time for her.

    "aren't we married?!"
    *This brings light to the depth of the relationship. They were married. They had a house. He's realizing he can't just leave everything behind.

    Recap: He found the love again. He says she didn't show the love enough. She says she did. Now he says he's putting it out on the line one more time for him. They're married.


    "I ain't living in the dark no more
    it's not a promise, I'm just gonna call it."
    *He says he's not going to stand idly by anymore. He can't guarantee it, but he's calling it. This is important because he's saying in love, there are no guarantees. This may happen again.
    WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT: This part says a lot about Justin Vernon himself. This theme carries over from For Emma, which is described by him to be an album about getting all the bad stuff excavated. All the broken relationships, about getting over your first love. This album was musically getting out of the dark. He made the album EXACTLY how he wanted to. His emotions are now all out there, they're not hidden away. I see the beginning of Bon Iver, Bon Iver as a kind of reminder of the first album, with the slow melody from the Les Paul, but then when he says "still alive, who you love", it opens up so you see what's really going on.

    "heavy mitted love"
    *They see their love as so dramatic, it's heavy, they think they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders because of this turbulent relationship. Is it worth it? The next line answers that.

    "our love is a star
    sure some hazardry
    for the light before and after most indefinitely"
    *He answers the question with "YES". The love is a star. Sure there were some problems "errant heat to the star/ then the rain let in", but it's worth it. "sure some hazardry" is like saying, "Yeah, there's some bullshit involved, but it's all good, because it's all
    "for the light before and after most indefinitely". This love is going from negative infinity to positive infinity, to use Calculus terms (the limit does not exist). The love was burning bright before, and it will forever.

    "danger has been stole away"
    *The crisis was averted. Their love is still going strong.

    There was a stray problem that caused a chasm in the relationship. The rain let in. He sees the relationship in new light, and it's thin. She'll offer some solution, but it's not hard and strong. He won't repeat the whole pick a house, play house thing. She'll try to pry it open with her love, but her offers are lost in his iron defense. The recovery is hard because he's constantly reminded of what happened. She's sending signals to him, but they're obnoxious, a revelry. He just stores it deep inside. The song lifts, and he says they found what they orphaned, their love. He says she didn't show the love, she says she did. He tells her he's putting himself over the edge now for her. They're married. He's not living in the dark no more. He can't promise it, but he'll try to stick by it. He notices that their love is so dramatic, but it's worth it, sure there are problems but they're insignificant. The love went on before and it will continue to. Danger has been stole away.


    "this is axiom"
    *It means self-evident. In math, it's a widely accepted statement with no proof. This song stands by the math definition, and the whole fucking album stands by the first. This album is self evident. It's him. There are pieces of dialogue between him and friends, accounts of time with family. This is a very, very deep look into the psyche of emotions of a genius who managed to put them into song. Get deep into this album. Shit. Good music.

    This is just my two cents. Everyone has their opinion, this is mine. Happy listening.

    listener420on September 06, 2011   Link
  • +8
    General Commentthis song is one of my favorites. "I ainʼt living in the dark no more
    it's not a promise, Iʼm just gonna call it" is a really incredible line.
    thuglifeforevson June 16, 2011   Link
  • +6
    General CommentPeople get over yourselves with this 80's critisism. Incredibly beautiful music and lyric. This song is a "creation" much in the same vain that "the lure would prove too much" by Greg Dulli with the Twilight Singers. Songs like these are created like paintings - true creations - layered and through different pieces they come together into one masterful piece. This one puts Bon Iver in the musical genius category.
    tsma120on May 16, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHave to agree with jewdiful on this one... people are really getting hung up on the 80's styles used on Beth/Rest. TRUE, the 80's were a really schmaltzy musical period, especially when this sound was coloring most music coming out of that era, and most anything you were exposed to had to go through the filter of the corporate music machine. BUT- I'm sometimes surprised when I hear a track come on the radio by, say, Bruce Hornsby, at how much raw talent lay below all those overproduced layers of musical polish. To Quote the band Metric here, I think what Bon Iver is doing here is in a way playing this song "campfire style" to see if it holds up without the perfect musical backdrop. Most do that by just playing a song unplugged- Bon Iver is doing the opposite by covering it in those schmaltzy 80's sounds that still obviously make most of us cringe, and seeing if the sheer beauty and strength of the song shines through. I personally think it does. It's a powerhouse.
    tinodeaon June 28, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Commentoh i have to add this too, from an interview with Jess Ginter:
    "And it's a lady's name, too. Rest, it's this ongoing thing. "Beth/Rest" the song, it just sounds like forever. It's kind of like timeless, and you can be lofted up into these very high places during that song. And that's what it sounds like to me. And I don't blame people for having their opinions, like, "It sounds like Steve Winwood." But I think for me, it's kind of silly to judge something based on some production facility. It's like my favorite song. It's the last thing I want you to go away with. It's like innocent. And I don't want it to be some '80s throwback song. I want it to be a current, I-get-lost-in-this song, and I love everything about it. And it has nothing to do any sort of collective social reason."

    jjordennon July 01, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is what Justin Vernon said in an interview about this song:
    "Perth" is this awakening or this birth. And to relate it to some of the conversation we've been having, it's sort of that moment when you have decided to wake up and take control. And "Beth/Rest" is the death, but it's a good death. It's good winter. But it's a rest; it's not this final thing. "Beth" seems like this really cool name for a place you just go to be in paradise forever."

    octoberrains091on September 06, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionThis song is amazing. I've heard it compared to Phil Collins, Kenny G, piano rock - but really, if Justin Vernon's able to make such an awesome song blending classic instruments with modern auto-tune/vocodor vocal effects... true testament to his talents. This song has a very progressive style if you think about it.
    jewdifulon June 11, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My Opinionmy first impression of this song was, what the heck is this. the synth and sax were a bit much in the beginning, but after listening for a while i've realized everything about it is genius. he's testing what he can do, and experimenting with new sounds that are, these days, unpopular. but he "redefines" this style and makes it modern, and it's so wonderful. my favorite song on the album at the moment.
    jjordennon June 30, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAlot of "Bon Iver" fans claim to hate this song because they think Justin is straying from what made him who he is today. I think that is complete garbage. This song only proves that Bon Iver can do no wrong. Justin takes musical elements from the past two decades, layers them all together, and makes a beautiful song. Critics can compare this to Phil Collins, Bruce Hornsby, or whoever. Bon Iver's lyrics have always been complex but these are beyond understanding. It's funny how someone can dumb down music but still make it something that you will never understand, all within 5:17.
    killoranusmcon July 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning"Heavy mitted love"

    One of the best lines in the song. You use a mitt to touch or hold something without getting burned. At first I thought maybe this was about a love that had grown safe. But then I wondered, perhaps real love is so precious that we need to handle it carefully in order to make it last. I suppose reality, as always, is somewhere in between.
    polgfredon September 23, 2011   Link

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