My Skinny Love – Dissecting the meaning of the Song “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver

“When You’re happy, you enjoy the music. When you’re sad, you understand the meaning”

For Parch who wrote this interpretation, Thanks!

Disclaimer : This is not my interpretation, I am merely publishing what I saw in the internet while I was searching for the meaning of the song “Skinny Love”, I came a cross to this interpretation at songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858674644/  Parch, the one who wrote his thoughts about this song, thanks I believe your interpretation is far more close than to those I read on the same site.

I gotta say, I’ve listened to most of the versions of this song, and I have to say that Birdy’s version is technically fine, but it just sounds like a sad girl singing a song. The version of this that Bon Iver sings on Jools is by far the best. He’s not just sad, but he captures the essence of a failing relationship. You can just feel the anger, depression and desperation in his voice when he sings it. With that said, this is my interpretation.

First, I believe skinny love to just mean a relationship where the love has faded and the relationship is weak. But I believe the proper term should be “anorexic love”, because he is trying to inject all the love he can into the relationship, but it seems as if she keeps rejecting it, and letting the love waste away.

Come on skinny love just last the year

**He may be talking to the figurative relationship, or he may be actually talking to his girl, but I think he’s just begging for the relationship to last a little longer. He knows it won’t work out because she can’t nurture the love, so he’s just begging that it last long enough so that he can prepare himself for the inevitable breakup.

Pour a little salt we were never here
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

**They must have just had a big fight and he’s just asking to pretend it never happened. Just pour salt to help the wound heal, and pretend they were never they’re fighting. Then he starts surveying that damage done in the relationship. Its like if you’ve been punched in the mouth, you run to the sink to wash up and you’re spitting out blood and teeth into the sink. The interesting thing is veneer is what you use for fake teeth, but it’s also a term to describe polishing something to make it look better than it really is.

So “crushed veneer” is also another was to say that his view of how good and awesome he may have thought the relationship was, has just been crushed.

I tell my love to wreck it all, Cut out all the ropes and let me fall

****He knows the break is going to happen so he’s trying tell himself to cut off his emotions and fall out of love so it won’t hurt as bad.

Right in this moment this order’s tall

***A tall order is another way of saying you are asking too much out of something. As much as he want’s to cut his emotions, he know’s it’s not a feat he can carry out. He loved her too much and knows he can’t just fall out of love right on the spot.

And I told you to be patient, And told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced, And I told you to be kind

***These are the things he’s been asking his love to do, and if she would just do them, the relationship would’ve lived and been perfect. Notice in this instance, kind means her just being nice to him, but then. . .

In the morning I’ll be with you, But it will be a different “kind”

****He knows when he wakes up the next morning with her, everything will be different. He’ll be with her, but it will be a different “kind” of being with her. In other words, he’ll be physically next to her, but not as a couple. Also it means that she will be kind to him, but not in a loving way, but more of a kindness that comes out of pity, because she is trying to let him down easy.

I’ll be holding all the tickets, And you’ll be owning all the fines

***As someone else said, basically he’s holding all the memories and punishments for the relationship, while she makes out like a bandit with the fine money so to speak. In other words, he left feeling shitty about what has happened, while she wont care as much and sees the break as getting her freedom back.

Come on skinny love what happened here, Suckle on the hope in lite brassiere

***This one’s kinda tough. I think he’s just pleading with his love to feed off whatever little hope there is left in the relationship. Babies suckle, but if it’s a light brassiere then that means there’s not much in that bra to suck on. Basically, he’s pleading with his love to just stay with him a little longer and just hope she will love him more.

Sullen load is full; so slow on the split

**Sullen means kinda like beat up and moving slow. So I think that’s the skinny, malnourished love they had. They aren’t breaking up in some passionate way, it’s just that the love is dying slowly, hence, slow on the split (up).

And now all your love is wasted? And then who the hell was I?

****He’s saying that if the breakup happens, any love she managed to have for him is wasted. He feels like her love was all that ever mattered, and that anything good he felt about himself was because of that great feeling being loved gives you, so he defined himself through her love and the relationship. As a result, if her love was just a big waste, what does that make him?

And now I’m breaking at the britches

***Him breaking at the britches just means he’s falling apart now.

And at the end of all your lines

***Just imagine her as a metropolitan bus line and now he’s at the end of any line that bus could take him. He can’t even transfer to another bus because there are no more buses that will take him any further.

Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?

***Now he’s just wondering who will love her and fight for her as hard as he was willing to, and he believes that most of the men she will date will just fall behind in deserving her love.

Anyways, this song is very personal to me because I went through pretty much the same emotions as he did about a year ago. Love sucks sometimes.

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12 thoughts on “My Skinny Love – Dissecting the meaning of the Song “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver”

  1. I rarely leave comments on anything. But your interpretation of this song hit close to home, as I am going through a similar,difficult situation. Love does suck.

    Liked by 1 person

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