I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

Three Twenty One Pilots songs that changed the way I thought

Three Twenty One Pilots songs that changed the way I thought


Twenty One Pilots is my favorite band. Period.

They are fun and exciting and catchy; their music is on a par I rarely encounter, and part of the reason for this is their incredible lyrics.

Three of their songs have been so powerful that they've directly influenced my ideas and the way that I think.

1. Car Radio

This was my introduction to Twenty One Pilot and is still my favorite song of all time. In the song, writer Tyler Joseph sings about trying to drown out questions about life and suicide with his car radio (or entertainment and the concerns of everyday life). When someone steals his car radio, he must "just sit in silence." He concludes, "There's faith and there's sleep / We need to pick one please because / Faith is to be awake / And to be awake is for us to think / And for us to think is to be alive / And I will try with every rhyme / To come across like I am dying / To let you know you need to try to think."

2. Holding on to You

"Holding on to You" is from their album Vessel and is about taking control of our own minds to hold onto God amidst life's struggles. Tyler wants to fight empty ideas and entertainment that contains no true meaning. He sings, "Lean with it, rock with it, / When we gonna stop with it, / Lyrics that mean nothing, we were gifted with thought, / Is it time to move our feet to an introspective beat, / It ain't the speakers that bump hearts, / It's our hearts that make the beat." He wants his listeners to take their minds back from a lifestyle that promotes dancing to someone else's beat.

3. Stressed Out

"Stressed Out" is from Twenty One Pilots' new album Blurryface. The song is about having to grow up and not liking it very much. Tyler hates being insecure and caring "about what people think." Society and life dictate that he get a job and make money when all he really wants is to stay in his childhood. I like most his willingness to admit that adulthood isn't as easy as he had thought it would be; "Stressed Out" helps me to prepare for an adulthood that likewise may be different than I expect.

What're some Twenty One Pilots songs that have influenced you? 

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