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My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together. Feel free to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Hometown" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

What does "Hometown" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

"Hometown" Lyrics Meaning

Twenty One Pilots released its album Blurryface a little early. They told everyone they planned to let it out on the 19th, but the Skeleton Clique woke up to Blurryfacefor sale this morning. The album had already been leaked last week, so some fans had it, but now everyone's purchasing and listening to it like mad. And for good reason. Blurryface is a strong album with an underlying theme threading its way through the entire thing, connecting song to song, developing conflicts and resolutions. One of the notable resolution songs is "Hometown."

"Hometown" is a synthy, Coldplay and M83-esque song about salvation and redemption. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the two members of Twenty One Pilots, seem to really be fitting into a semi-electronic indie alternative groove with some of the songs on Blurryface, and "Hometown" may be the most explicit. This song, really, is an excellent example, also, of why they fit so well on a Fueled by Ramen record (which also works with Paramore, Fun., Panic! At the Disco, and Young the Giant). However, while "Hometown" may suggest Twenty One Pilots settling into a "hard and fast" genre, the rest of the songs on Blurryface are so diverse that we can still have reasonable expectations that they'll continue to defy boundaries.

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The Meaning of "Hometown"

"Hometown" refers to where Josh and Tyler come from, the dark, depressive, and even sinful world they used to live in. This song is about how they want to switch towns and to move to another, a new place that's better.

In this old hometown of theirs, "A shadow tilts its head at me / Spirits in the dark are waiting." In that town, it's normal to be social with dark spirits with malicious intent. It's just everyday life to deal with depression and darkness and evil. [Edited:] But Tyler sings, "I will let the wind go quietly." He's going to try to be unobtrusive, perhaps from a lack of confidence.

Tyler then sings to someone, probably God, asking Him to "Be the one . . . To take my soul and make it undone." Usually people ask God to make them whole again or to complete them, but Tyler doesn't like the way his soul is and wants God to start from scratch. He also wants God to take him to God's "home" and to "show me the sun." If God lives in Heaven, which is usually depicted as being in the "sky" or "heavens," then it also makes sense that one could see the sun from there.

Tyler shows his faith in God's ability to do all of this by singing "I know . . . You can bring the fire. I can bring the bones." In Acts 2:3, the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus' disciples to show that He has come to live within them. In Ezekiel 37:1-14, God breathes life into dead bones. Combining these two images, Tyler identifies with those bones and asks God to "make the fire in my bones, and make it grow." He wants to live a good life and to be filled with God's spirit.

This kind of life would be very different from what Tyler's used to. He sings, "Where we're from, there's no sun / Our hometown's in the dark." He wants light and the life that it gives; he also wants to be someone and to find that identity in Christ: "Where we're from, we're no one." Coming to life in Christ will help Tyler to really become all he can be.

Tyler begins to explain to his audience how they too can find this new light and life. He sings, "Put away, put away / All the gods your father served today," which is likely a reference to verses like Joshua 24:14, where Joshua tells the people, "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord." Tyler wants his listeners to think beyond themselves and their earthly world, to raise their minds to God.

He also wants them to "[p]ut away / Your traditions . . ." Whatever they've been relying on won't help them. They need something new, and they need to forget what they've been believing. Tyler sings, "[B]elieve me when I say / We don't know . . . How to put back the power in our soul," and "We don't know . . . Where to find what once was in our bones." Humans used to be powerful. They used to be close to God, but something happened, and now they're unable to fix it themselves. They need help from God.

Overall, Twenty One Pilots' "Hometown" is about forsaking one hometown to go to another. The driving, ringing synth gives a sense of hope and drives the listener to look forward to this new discovery of light and life along with the band. The song is an energetic and fitting way to end an album that's been focused so heavily on the darker "hometown" over the home-to-be.

What do you think "Hometown" is about? Did you like it and what song would you like to have explained next?

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