"Bottle Up and Explode" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Bottle up and explode over and over
Keep the troublemaker below
Put it away and check out for the day
And in for a round of overexposure
The thing Mother Nature provides to get up and go

Bottle up and explode, seeing the stars surrounding you
Red, white, and blue

You look at him like you've never known him
But I know for a fact that you have
The last time you cried, who'd you think was inside?
Thinking that you were about to come over
But I'm tired now of waiting for you
You never show

Bottle up and go, if you're going to hide it's up to you
I'm coming through
Bottle up and go, I can make it outside
I'll get through becoming you
Becoming you
Becoming you

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by Jate

Bottle Up and Explode song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commenti remember when i was younger, i felt that because i was very emotional and full of feelings, that a lot of older people considered me to be naive. a lot of times we resort to becoming "numb" just like those we call bitter and jaded in order to protect ourselves and our feelings. it's natural for people to want to hide from their feelings - that's the most literal meaning you can get out of this song. everybody has heard the cliched term "bottling up your feelings," and you can't forever.. so eventually you explode.

    hence the "i'll get though becoming you, becoming you"

    sometimes we find ourselves doing what we used to hate others for doing, esp. if the person you are with, or want to be with, hides from you. in order to move on away from someone who is hiding their feelings from you, you can find yourself hiding your feelings from them.. if that makes sense.

    you can't wear your heart on your sleeve all the time.
    makeartnotmathon February 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAwesome song! Elliot Smith is one of a kind.
    This is my song for freedom on the 4th of July!
    ...bottle up and explode seeing the stars surrounding you
    red white and blue...
    LoveIsARoseon July 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentClose, but ... bottle up and explode is a picture of what happens when someone buries emotional energy in hopes that it will resolve itself. It doesn't, instead it comes out in explosions. Absolutely brilliant picture of this - when I heard it, I literally saw my ex-wife in the song. True! RIP ES
    ZipperHeadon December 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think it is obvious that most people on here gets out of these lyrics what is going on in thier own lives ..and has nothing to do with what the artist intended..thus is art
    jameseckrippieon January 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I was listening to this song on my own, I kept imagining that it was two separate people - ie: the relationship theory that jumps out."The last time you cried, who'd you think was inside thinking that you were about to come over..." I imagined him waiting around for (her), and she's crying because she can't go through with it.
    Reading here, I think it makes more sense that it's about the two sides of himself.

    One oddity that I have to point out: Saab cars make this very specific "BING bong" noise to indicate warning. One will be driving down the road and suddenly hear BING bong and have to look down and find out that, in my case once, the car has turned off. This sound is played in the song! Very quietly in the background during the instrumental break, around 1:52. It gets me every time. However, it also makes me wonder - was it intentional? I doubt it, but how ironic, since the song does seem to be somewhat about warning.
    agurlnamedgooon August 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy interpretation:

    Elliott Smith was a self confessed drug addict and alcoholic. "Bottle up and explode" refers to the tendency for alcoholics to hide their pain/intense emotions with booze. It only works for so long before all the bottled emotions come pouring out, often in inappropriate ways. The "troublemaker" is the demon, or demons we're hiding when we get wasted. "In for a round of overexposure," is a reference to Elliott's personal issues with anxiety. Anxiety is "the thing mother nature provides to get up and go," because that's what it's been useful for historically - to get out of the way of serious threats to the well-being of an organism. I'm not sure what the "stars," or "red, white and blue" stand for.
    "You look at him like you've never known him," refers to the person we're hiding from the world when we get wasted. We have to face them eventually. But just as there's a person we're hiding from the world when drunk, there's also a part of ourselves that we’re suddenly free to expose when we’re under the influence. That's the person Elliott wants to be. The calm, witty, confident, deep, caring human, that's always been overpowered by the other parts, until he uses a drug and is free to release it. He's tired of waiting for that person to show himself, and because it's an impossibility for him, he'll release that person in the only way he knows how. "I'm coming through," means he's getting drunk/wasted and he's done waiting. He's going to demand that person to show up..
    fatalshoreson May 09, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my new favorite Elliot Smith--song!
    GeeMoon September 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about someone fighting with his lover because she cheats, but in the end overcoming rage.
    but probably you can find many different interpretations.
    dorareeveron July 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think dorareever is right in a sense: this song does have something to do with a troubled relationship, but I don't know if it's as blatant as the narrator's lover being a cheat. I think there's some suspicion there, but ultimately it's about two people on opposite ends of a spectrum and the narrator's realization that the only way to make things work with this particular person is to give in to what she expects, for better or for worse (probably worse). "I'll get through becoming you" pretty much spells this out, and "bottle up and explode" means just that -- keeping your frustrations inside until you blow a gasket, kind of like "red, white and blue" fireworks.
    mfluder2676on October 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah this song is clearly about repressed anger and emotions.. it helps me deal with his death cause i understand what its like to take things shitty and bury them in hope that they will go away but really things build up eventually and you explode and it has to happen eventually, nothing can stop it. I think its the most accurate description of elliotts personality.
    lisalynnon January 06, 2005   Link

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