Seth Avett, the co-lead vocalist and guitarist for the folk-rock group, explained the tune to Rolling Stone: "A big part of it is finding some version of love to push you through some kind of conflict. Also, the reality that we're not much different. Anyone: me and my significant other, me and whoever's listening to the song."
During the writing process, the Avett Brothers are more concerned about what's going on in their own heads rather than how fans will perceive their songs. "For us to project these songs upon people is an afterthought," Scott Avett says. "We write them, really, probably looking more inward than we do outward." Seth adds that "Live And Die" is one of their most "internal" songs.
This was featured on the soundtrack to the 2012 Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. In 2017, Apatow co-directed a documentary about the band called May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers, which follows the brothers through the making of their 2016 album, True Sadness.
"Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk" describes a time in Rufus Wainwright's life when he found himself hungover and pounding chocolate milk to feel better. It didn't work, so he smoked a cigarette, which is when he realized his addictive personality could be a problem.
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.