Jason Isbell - Yvette Lyrics

I can barely make out a little light from the house on the cul-de-sac
A bedroom upstairs, it's a family affair

I've watched you in class, your eyes are cut glass and you stay covered up
Head to your toes, so nobody will notice you

I might not be a man yet, but that bastard will never be
So I'm cleaning my Weatherby
I sight in my scope, and I hope against hope, I hope against hope

Your mother seems nice, I don't understand why she won't say anything
As if she can't see who he turned out to be

I might not be a man yet, but your father will never be
So I load up my Weatherby
I let out my breath, and I couple with death, I couple with death

Saw your father last night, in the window the light made a silhouette
Saw him hold you that way, he won't hold you that way anymore, Yvette

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Jason Isbell Yvette Comments
  1. Yvette Mason

    I may not be a man yet...he won't hold you that way anymore, Yvette.
    Very very powerful lyrics.
    Not about me, but it's really about anyone - girl or boy- sexually abused by a family member. Horrible.
    Well written and performed. Very very powerful. Good ending,
    He won't hold you that way anymore, Yvette."


  2. patsh321

    I had to look up weatherby...I was confused until I saw what it was lol

  3. Brandon sever

    This song is a perfect example of how you don't need heavy rock chords or an emotional beat to feel something from a song. Songs like this carry all of their 'substance' in the storytelling.

  4. Tony Zeller

    Can’t wait. A few more months this guy is a beast. Awesome writer and awesome guitarist and vocals as well

  5. nadou84

    Damn...I wish I'd recorded my reaction to this song...first it was "wowwww another amazing Jason's song" then it was tears running down my chicks, then it was simply closing my eyes and listening deeply to the lyrics. Is there a song Jason wrote which is not perfect? I can't find a single one that doesn't move me to tears. I wish I could see him live but I guess he'll never perform in France :'(

    Rachael Hawkey

    you never know!

  6. Brad Pontecore

    No one is killed. The story is from the perspective of a boy trying to psych himself to kill Yvette's father for being a pedophile. In the second to last stanza he gets close enough that he has him in his scopes, yet in the last stanza he says he won't let it happen again, meaning he didn't pull the trigger before. Still trying to get the guts. The final line could mean he eventually shoots him, or it could just be another, 'he won't do that again'.

    This is such a great story. I lived on the col-de-sac in a small midwest town. I can see this all in my mind eye.

  7. Tandy Aldridge

    I let out my breath is when he pulled the trigger

  8. Frhickin' Redhead

    This song sound 10x better with a good pair of Bose headphones.

  9. beany rich


  10. Yvette Alvarran

    My name is yvette whoa

    Yvette Jocelyn

    Mine too

  11. kevin miller

    A beautiful song, about the uncomfortable topic; abuse. Very tastefully done sir.

  12. Not Abot

    "I've watched you in class/ your eyes are cut glass/ and you stay covered up/ head to your toes/ so nobody will notice you" is where i got chills. Was a girl just like this I went to school with. Turned out the same thing was happening. Nobody "noticed" until it was too late. Makes you wonder/fear how much this goes on.

  13. Rusty Lavender

    As a survivor of sexual violence, a friend and a relative of survivors of sexual violence, this is extremely cathartic. Most of will never get to shoot down our abusers. But damn if we don't deserve the fantasy. The world has no justice.

  14. john capone

    I'm cleaning my Weatherby . . .

  15. Rick Sanchez

    At the end he's talking to Yvette about what happened the night before...letting her know he took care of the situation...that's it end of story...He knew what he was doing, knew how to shoot, sighted in, took the breath etc...Had it down with intent...even cleaned his gun first, his Weatherby great gun btw. Nah he shot who he was shooting at and let her at the end that he was the dude that did it...

  16. Rick Sanchez

    No, he's talking to Yvette as if she is living. Did I miss something?

  17. Eric Brandenburg

    Add Cody Jinks to a lineup with Jason and you'd have one hellova concert.

  18. Hayden Baker

    Just heard this song recently for the first time. Great song, Jason. Makes me wonder, since he "couples with death" twice, who is the last person living? Killing father for his sins makes sense, killing mother for letting it happen also makes sense, killing Yvette so she doesn't suffer anymore is also arguable. Leaving father to suffer alone in the house, leaving his shadow on the window last night, not able to hold Yvette again. Such a deep song that has me thinking and arguing with myself.

    Rick Sanchez

    He talks to Yvette at the end.

  19. jw moberly

    Time to get an isbell t shirt

  20. Sportsy

    Similar ending to live oak (another of his songs, best in my opinion). He doesn't end it clearly, leaving us guessing. This guy is on another level

  21. zollnec1

    amazing song to hear live in a small theater. personally it was my favorite just so much feeling behind it

  22. Edward Parker

    "I hope against hope" what does this mean?

    Daniel Kittrell

    It means he's hoping something miraculous will happen that will keep him from having to do what he feels he has to do, i.e., kill her dad.

  23. 72scatpack

    Well said .

  24. John McAleer

    Six Florida Georgia Line fans watched this video.

    Sterling Hogan

    it's 12 now. lol! wish I could see who disliked it

    jw moberly

    who isFlorida Georgia line?Who dey?

    Tyler Weger

    If I was either one of those two states I’d sue that band and have my name removed

  25. TheKraut59

    Great Song! thank you for the upload

  26. sandra sword

    I couple with death is a Southern thing..

  27. sandra sword

    Just awesome Jason

  28. torre0714

    A Masterpiece of song writing...

    R J

    torre0714 He is the master!

    Monetising Dissent

    Another one.

    Chad Garrie

    Wholeheartedly agree.

  29. Craig Kozlowski

    Jason kind of sounds like Glenn Frey

    Tony Zeller

    Craig Kozlowski I’m a big eagles fan. I would’ve to say no way Jason got his own sound. I haven’t heard anything like this guy

  30. MusicConnectionChico

    He clearly shoots her dad.  You "let out (your) breath" before you squeeze the trigger.  Helps accuracy.  Plus, "He won't hold (her) that way anymore".

    Andrew Kling

    Wow. That's a turn I don't get from that song at all

    J Berg

    @Andrew Kling fair enough, It's just my take, as valid as yours. Although I'm not so sure either way. Nevertheless, he won't hold her that way again.

    V. Dembsey

    +J Berg Depending on the culture he would shoot her intentionally. A muslim would kill her for dishonoring her family or some sick crap like that.

    GlimmerTwins Rock

    But a good ole southern boy like Jason would kill the dad; southern justice at it's core from a gal born and raised in Bama.

    daniel morris

    V. Dembsey Not just a Muslim. Many European Christians are known for doing the same thing. It was a big thing in Italy, Spain, Portugal and many more countries. Killing a family member because they offend your sense of honor.. Ridiculous and backward.

  31. Christopher Currie

    "I couple with death" in this lyric simply means he's decided to kill him for abusing his daughter. To become one with the reaper so to speak...


    +Christopher Currie No, it means he becomes one with death, via the deliverance of it. It's a kid in school noticing his schoolmate is not well, and he watches and sees why. Then does something about it.

    Rick Sanchez

    Currie said exactly that what the hell.

  32. mike63v8

    Wish I understood exactly what "I couple with death" means.

    Anthony Favaro

    It means he kills the father.....or the daughter if you read some other posts on this thread.

    Lee Branch

    +mike63v8 It means he walks hand in hand with death...or more figuratively the grim reaper as he considers taking a life...

    Andy Kraft

    To me it means that he accepts the choice that he is making to take another life. He realizes the graveness of the situation and also realizes that death will forever be a part of his life.

  33. John Murphy

    It strikes me that he (the protagonist) is just on the verge of committing the deed. Whatever, one of the songs & albums of the year. Superior songwriting. Bravo, sir!

  34. Anthony Favaro

    A real genius can use so few words to tell such a deep story. Brilliant.

  35. Jack Ketterer

    i agree with Mike Ellingston... I think it is quite clear that he kills the father who is abusing his daughter... the mom wont say anything about the abuse.... he sees the silouhette of the dad holding Yvette, shoots the dad, which is why he wont "hold her that way" anymore...

  36. Rocket

    Actually got the lyrics right, that's awesome, unbelievable song

  37. Rieve Stanford

    In response to the (dated) debate regarding the outcome of this story--because neither are correct.  From a narrative perspective its quite interesting, but the simple outcome is that the father is killed--not Yvette--and he is killed in the context of the story--rather than implied as a future event or cliffhanger.

    Explanation:  There are two distinct timelines that alternate through the narrative.  The odd numbered stanzas describe what I'll call the "Murder" while the even-numbered stanzas are the "Confession."  The "Murder" is written in present tense while the "Confession" is written in present perfect tense.

    Murder Uninterrupted:  The scene is set a distance from the house in question.  He "can barely make out a little light"  but knows what is going on.  He prepares his rifle, cleaning, sighting, and loading, while contemplating his justification.  Finally, he takes the shot--using proper, measured technique (letting out his breath) as not to miss and "coupling with death" a solemn and beautiful lyric that joins the act of pulling the trigger with the decision to kill.

    It is assumed (by me, with good reason) that the remaining stanzas occur while he sits in class, longing to comfort Yvette and explain why her father is dead.  The final stanza reveals "Confession" to be taking place the next day.  The verb tense here is important, because they reveal him to be presently in the classroom watching/thinking about Yvette, something he's done before--*if this were intended to be his thoughts during "Murder" scene the verbs would be past tense; "I watched" and "You stayed."*   And so, he wonders why her mother hasn't said anything and remains silent on current developments.  Finally, he reveals what he had seen the night before, the father's silhouette abusing Yvette--through the lens of the scope (if you'll remember, he could only "barely make out a light" before).  The father can no longer abuse Yvette, he is dead.

    One could make a more radical interpretation that Yvette was the one killed and that the protagonist is directing his thoughts to her memory rather than her actual presence in the classroom--but that would be taking alot of liberty with the subtleties of the prose.  He describes a calm, measured shot by a protagonist fully aware of the moral and ethical implications of his actions.  Furthermore, the father's inability to abuse Yvette is tied to his appearance in the boy's crosshairs rather than Yvette's (though you could assume she was visible through the window as well).


    +Rieve Stanford Great piece of writing. English major for sure. ;-)

    Reed White

    We of course have no way of knowing for certain what the artist envisioned while drafting the lyrics, but here are my two cents. For starters, the narrator caps Yvette's father. I'm actually surprised that others think Yvette was the victim, as that thought never would have crossed my mind. Stanza 1...the narrator is in the moment, narrating his actions as he prepares to to act. Stanza 2...the narrator is still in the moment, but now he's providing background about Yvette and how her father's abuse has traumatized her. As you correctly note, Isbell's use of present perfect tense is important, as such verb tense is used to describe (i) an action or situation that started in the past and continues in the present, or (ii) an action performed during a period that has not yet finished. Either way, the narrator feels that the abuse will continue. Chorus...Yvette's father is a weasel and soon will have his life taken from him. Stanza 3...the narrator voices frustration about why he feels it necessary to act, as Yvette's mother refuses to step in. Chorus...narrator's mind hasn't changed; Yvette's father must die. Stanza 4...the narrator, while still preparing the pull the trigger, recalls seeing the abuse the night before. His mind is made up. In a few short seconds, Yvette will be free.

    Mark McCleary

    Is this Christopher Nolan?

  38. Nila Atkins

    this song, is so powerful, You can hear so much pain and heartbreak in those lyrics.
    Such a moving song. To a deceased loved one. 

  39. Amber Serra

    obsessed. hate the meaning but love intensity.

  40. az2ak89

    Incredible lyrics tell a tragic story.

  41. Fleagle

    He never sees Yvette again after coupling with death. He sings to her. He talks to her in his head (as he does throughout the song), but there is nothing in the lyrics confirming that he sees her at the end. He can't see her because she's dead. In the final verse he's not SEEing him hold her that way. He's explaining to her (in his mind) that he "[S]AW him hold you that way," and because what I tried to do went very wrong "he won't hold you that way anymore." It was a "hope against hope" shot.

    Tony Zeller

    Absolutely what I gather

  42. Evan Kolze

    Why does this song not have at least 200,000 views?

  43. Fleagle

    But not in the song. He's still eyeballing Yvette's dad at the end of the song. And yet the protagonist has already coupled with death. Either he is talking shit and not doing anything throughout the song or Yvette takes the bullet and that's the reason dad won't hold her that way anymore. Accidentally killing Yvette is the tragic, Southern Gothic result Isbell foreshadows in the first four words of the song. Or maybe I'm giving him way too much credit for poetic subtlety. Maybe, but I doubt it.

  44. Cortez

    Can't stop listening to this tune.

  45. Mike Ellingson

    I believe he killed the dirt bag father.

  46. Fleagle

    I stand corrected. Your command of ad hominem and use of conclusory statements has left me humbled yet intellectually enriched. I do hope fred likes you back. Otherwise I fear for his bunny.

  47. Fleagle

    The tragedy of this song is that the hero ends up killing the object of his affections, coupling with death (instead of Yvette). I believe he's talking to a dead Yvette in the final verse. I think Isbell deliberately obscures the truth of it and leaves it to the listener to discover It. That's what poets do.

    Skip Lewis

    Fleagle ....he clearly kills the father for abusing the daughter.

  48. Julian Carter

    this song has the best and most suspensful ending of any song out there stellar