Twenty One Pilots are not new to creating songs about topics that their fans can relate to. Their hit single “Stressed Out” from 2015 is a good example of this. Working towards releasing their upcoming 2021 album, Twenty One Pilots released a brand new single of this album, titled “Choker.”
“Choker” is the second single off of Twenty One Pilot’s sixth studio album ‘Scaled And Icy’ to be released on May 21, 2021. The first promotional single was titled “Shy Away” and released in early April 2021.
The “Choker” track is all about anxiety. ‘Choking’ is the act of failing to rise to up an occasion, one that demands some additional effort. This is not being lazy. This is more or less the inability to overcome internal struggles to deliver on-demand.
The music video for “Choker,” is a work of art of its own. And it might give you anxiety too. The video was shot at the Big Fun Columbus toy store. The art directors worked a mere 8 days to transform the store to what it is in the music video–overflowing with a thousand hidden messages. Some hidden references are the album cover for ‘TOPxMM,’ ‘Vialism‘ pamphlet, ‘Scaled And Icy’ album cover, ‘Dema’ mug, and whole bunch of merch from Twenty One Pilot’s official store. See if you can find more.
Watch “Choker” Music Video by Twenty One Pilots
“Choker” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the first verse of the song, Tyler Joseph sings about his traits that we can also relate to. He sings how he keeps to himself and doesn’t bother to bother anyone. He knows how to live his life within his personal boundaries and be content with it. But this same trait plays against him when a certain situation demands him to step up. Then, he is nervous.
Chokin’ on the circumstance
Only smokin’ secondhand
Secondhand smoking is when you inhale the cigarette smoke exhaled by someone who smokes. One might consider ‘smoking’ to be ‘cool.’ In that sense, it can be inferred that Tyler is considering himself to be ‘uncool’ which piles onto his ‘quirky’ personal traits.
Next, the singer gets surgical and asks us to decapitate his kind and study them. However, most likely, this is a reference for their songs–decipher them and understand what’s hidden in plain sight.
In the chorus of the song, Tyler sings how he feels lost and no one is coming to save him. This lines up with the frequent themes of depression and anxiety in their albums. This could be a reference to the fictitious lore of Dema, Twenty One Pilots created in their previous album ‘Trench.’
In the second verse of the song, Tyler Joseph piles up on his ‘insignificant’ personal traits. The latest addition to the list is ‘self-sabotage.’ This is when you prevent yourself from pushing hard towards greater things. You know you can achieve more. But the thought of ‘more’ cripples you inside. So, you just sit in your comfort zone.
The singer also talks about his tolerance for change. He knows that this makes him who he is as a person. But he okay with himself being who he is right now, in his perfectly monotonous cycle of life.
The lyric “pain is just a middleman” is simply amazing. A middleman is someone who connects two other parties to get something done. Pain is a sensation of hurting. It literally is a chemical released in your body so that your brain can recognize that there is something wrong in your body. So, pain is not the actual problem. Pain is the messenger. So, taking pills to numb the pain is not a solution. It is merely a workaround for a deeper problem.
It is a desperate feeling to have no one to believe you. This happens specifically with mental issues which might not be apparent to others.
This song is yet another creative piece of work by Twenty One Pilots. We have all been chokers at some point in our lives. Let us hear what you think about the song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.