Twenty One Pilots – Levitate (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
The third and possibly the final episode of a trilogy of singles from the upcoming album ‘TRENCH’ dropped today. Twenty One Pilots have created themselves a whole world to tell their story to the world. Following the hits “Jumpsuit” and “Nico and The Niners” comes the third single off of the album “Levitate.”
The single was released today (09/08) along with a music video, which does not fall short of the bizarre and creepy videos released for the previous singles. “Levitate” is the shortest single of the trilogy, clocking only a two and half minutes. However, the song adopts the speed of a rap verse.
The music video includes a lot of bizarre imagery including the famed yellow cross that has been appearing in all three videos so far. And to intensify the effect of the campfire they dance around, random vultures appear in the video.
Watch “Levitate” Music Video
Before jumping into decoding “Levitate,” let’s look at what Twenty One Pilots have said so far.
The band created a promotional website titled ‘dmaorg.info‘ which tells a story of one Clancy who is stuck in a city named ‘Dema.’ Notice how the website name can also be pronounced ‘dema.’ The city of Dema is governed by ‘bishops’ who have entrapped the citizens with massive walls all around the city. The only escape from this city i.e. ‘east’ signifying ‘hope’ is ‘up’ as mentioned in “Nico and The Niners.” Interpretation: ‘depression’ can be a killer and can enslave you. You have to find yourself within you and seek help from above or from within yourself (tunnel) to fight depression back.
In ‘Nico and The Niners,” this person Clancy finds a way out of the city. Clancy uses people as a distraction and escapes through a tunnel with the help of ‘banditos’ who are the rebel fighting the system. “Levitate” song and video seem to begin where “Nico and The Niners” stopped.
The start of the “Levitate” video shows Tyler Joseph (vocalist of Twenty One Pilots) coming out of a dark tunnel escorted by the banditos. A question arises if Clancy is a reference to Tyler Joseph and the experience of depression is his own!
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Levitate”
The general tone of “Levitate” seems to be elaborating the freedom of fighting and winning over depression. Use of eagles flying and phrases such as ‘levitating’ signify freedom.
The song starts off with Tyler Joseph elaborating on his ability to levitate. This is metaphorical for the ability to detach oneself from negativity. In “Nico and The Niners,” Clancy says the only way out of Dema is ‘up,’ which would be synonymous for flying.
‘Fire-breathing’ could be a reference to his singing or rapping skills, which he demonstrates in this song.
‘The things that fell’ lyric from the song is an impressive phrasing of words to fit the contents. Twenty One Pilot is talking about depression, which feeds or fuels on putting yourself down. Hence, the resolution of fighting your inner demons to get out of depression. On the other hand, this lyric draws a reference to the vultures flying around, who feed on dead animals-things that have already fallen.
Tyler Joseph also references to getting help to combat depression. ‘Up’ could be a reference to a higher power or a religion. Or it could be through discovering yourself (a tunnel). Either way, depression is something that could be defeated. You don’t have to live in fear. The banditos are here to help you.
‘Come down’ seems to be an invitation for others to help the ones like Clancy. Also, if the help is ‘up’ and a higher power, this is an invitation for them to help the ones in need.
Tyler Joseph talks about ‘cowards’ which could be a reference to the ‘things that fell’ lyric from before. The cowardly thoughts that put you down usually hit you the hardest when it’s late into the night and when there is nobody around you. These thoughts and feelings have more control over you when you are alone. So this is when the others have to come down to their aid.
Tyler Joseph is begging for a ‘curse’ in “Levitate.” This could mean that he finds a curse from above is easier to deal with than the depression.
Tyler tunes in to the only verse in “Levitate.”
Often depression is occurred within ourselves, unable to cope up with the reality of things. It originates from the fabric of our thoughts. Tyler thinks he should probably not share these thoughts, but the song is already rolling…
He says he is close to God in his heart, but in his mind, he has his doubts. Others are getting a whiff of this, and they are circling around him like vultures.
Twenty One Pilots shout out to their breakout hit “Stressed Out” which showed graffiti on a train. The band is attempting to say that their music is evolving and this phase seems to be a little more serious.
Tyler compares the modern culture to a ‘poacher’ who is always up for the next kill or hunt. Everything is overexposed, and he begs not to be exposed for something-maybe his questions on the higher power.
Somebody suffering from depression or sleep paralysis can be very reluctant to sleep in the dark. Dark gives rise to bizarre hallucinations protruded by the mind. Tyler advises them to sleep in well-lit rooms, but not letting the darkness or thoughts causing depression sneak through. Or ‘light’ could be a reference to the higher power, whereas ‘shadows’ reference to misbeliefs.
‘The eight’ could be a reference to 8 of the nine bishops mentioned in “Nico and The Niners” who govern the city of Dema. These eight are to be understood as eight things Tyler is insecure about, that could potentially cause depression. Then he adds ‘habits’ to the eight and the 9 bishops are complete. The singer calls ‘habits’ the worst out of the nine. Because a habit of putting yourself down could be worse than the actual reason why you are putting yourself down. When it becomes a habit, even the positives may look like negatives.
We have decoded “Levitate” to the best of our abilities and knowledge. However, it feels as if there is much to learn about the new album and the message the band is trying to get out. We will hear them and decode them in near future. Until such time, Welcome to the Trench.
Full Lyrics to “Levitate” by Twenty One Pilots