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What does "The Hype" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

What does "The Hype" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

“The Hype” Lyrics Meaning

(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)

There's a song on Trench that there's an awful lot of hype about; can you guess which song that is? Yeah, it's “The Hype”… That was a bad joke, I know; but there's a good reason for any hype that there may be around the song, because it is a very interesting song. There's a lot going into it, and we're going to explain all of it.

Today we are talking about “The Hype” by twenty one pilots; it’s the eighth song on the album Trench; and we're going to start with verse one, so here we hear Tyler saying,

Verse One

Sometimes I feel cold, even paralyzed
My interior world needs to sanitize
I've got to step through or I’ll dissipate
I'll record my step through for my basement tapes

it's like he's setting the stage for the rest of the song; basically he's saying that there's something that feels cold or not right inside of him; and he needs to figure it out; and so he's gonna go to his "basement tapes". His basement is where his studio is, so possibly he's going to write a song to try to figure it out; which means that this song could be him trying to figure out what makes him not feel right. I often feel a similar feeling, where I feel overstimulated, where there's just so much music, YouTube videos, shows, emails, or anything really; they're just coming from a lot of different sectors of my life; and I just feel like my mind is almost in a race, and like there's a lot of thoughts, and I just need to be calm and to slow it down; and if you will "polarize", wink wink. And whether you're feeling overstimulated or paralyzed in the case of "The Hype", a lot of times, writing song lyrics, and figuring out how to express yourself that way, or just to organise things mentally by journaling, is a really good way to get things figured out; and based on this verse, we know that Tyler is about to work through something.

So in the chorus we hear,


Nice to know my kind will be on my side
I don't believe the hype
And you know you’re a terrible sight
But you'll be just fine
Just don't believe the hype

so he's using the word "you", so we know he is talking to somebody, and it's interesting here, because I don't know if he's ever done this before; and in an interview with Coup De Main magazine, he explained what "The Hype" is actually about,

Obviously we know that young Tyler has gone through some stuff, some of those experiences seemed to be the inspiration for other songs that we hear on other twenty one pilots albums; and they are certainly a part of that inspiration for the song "Kitchen Sink"; and for the reason that he turns to songwriting and lyrics writing in the first place; but here what he seems to be saying is "nice to know my kind, will be on my side", so that could be him referring to the skeleton clique, and then he says "and you know you're a terrible sight", and so he's saying like "kid, you're messed up; there's not a lot that's going on very well for you right now; there's mistakes that you've made that maybe other people have done that have hurt you"; but he says "but you'll be just fine"; he is saying that this kid is going to figure it out, and it's going to be okay, he's going to make it through. In a sense, this message isn't just for younger Tyler, it's also for Tyler Joseph's younger audience; but the one caution that he gives him is "just don't believe the hype". Now "the hype" could be a lot of things; a standard dictionary definition is "Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion"; and I think that sort of captures it, but when I think of hype, I think of people making way more out of something than it really is; they're making something bad seem really bad, or they're making something good seem really good; and unfortunately it's really easy to get caught up in that, and to kind of get lost in what is not necessarily true. We might think that our bad situations are worse than they are, and we might think that the things we've accomplished and how awesome we are is better than we really are; and so Tyler Joseph is telling young Tyler Joseph "you need to stay true to what's true", so he should not necessarily listen to what other people are telling him is true, when they're just trying to manipulate him into feeling in some way, whether that's trying to make him feel bad or feel really good.

In verse two, we hear something that Tyler Joseph almost never writes lyrics about, I'll explain,

Verse Two

Yeah, they might be talking behind your head
Your exterior world can step off instead
It might take some friends and a warmer shirt
But you don't get thick skin without getting burnt

A lot of times twenty one pilots' lyrics are about the interior fights, they're about our mental struggles, our doubts, our fears, and concerns with the lives that we live in; so all the stuff existential crises; but here he says "your exterior world", and so that's something he mentioned in the Coup De Main magazine interview, like a lot of times it's not just our interior world that influences who we are, and how we feel; but it can also be our exterior world; and that's probably not a huge surprise to any of us, but it's not something that Tyler writes lyrics about very often.

He says "they might be talking behind your head", so it could be other people who have hurt his feelings; but he could cautions us and says "you don't get thick skin without getting burnt". Now it could be nice if we all could live in a world where we don't need thick skin, but unfortunately in a lot of situations it's pretty necessary; so Tyler is telling himself "get some friends, get a warmer shirt to protect you from the cold", that cold which was mentioned maybe in verse one; and he's also telling him "you're going to get burnt; and that's okay; it's just the way things go, but you'll get tougher as time goes on!"

In the bridge, we can here a version of the audio from a clip in "Two - Piece", the first episode of their web series "Regional at Best", where he says: "We’re going to rely pretty heavily on technology and energy, to cover up the fact that we’re only two people; but I think we can do it". That was right after Chris Salih, the drummer, and Nick Thomas, the bassist, left the band in 2011; which resulted in the band having only two members, which was daunting to think about,

I just wonder if we can put enough of a show (pause) with two people!
— Tyler Joseph

After that distorted clip, we then hear him sing,


No, I don't know which way I’m going
But I can hear my way around
No, I don't know which way I'm going
But I can hear my way around
No, I don't know which way I’m going
But I can hear my way around
No, I don't know which way I'm going
But I can hear my way around
But I can hear my way around

it seems as if though younger version of him was like "have you figured things out? do you know where you're going yet?", and older Tyler is saying "no, I don't quite know yet; but I can hear my way around"; so he's saying that he's figuring it out slowly, and through limited input and data, he is slowly marking out a path that has worked so far, and he hopes he will continue to do so. Notice the contrast between stumbling along just by your ability to hear things, and the concept of the hype; hype is too much stimulation and information, and stumbling along with only your ability to hear is very much a lack of information; but even still, only one method seems to actually be connected to the truth for Tyler.

That's my explanation of "The Hype" by twenty one pilots; stay tuned for more Trench explanations; you can check out old posts where I wrote about some older ones that I've already explained from Trench, by clicking on the link below; and I hope that you guys have a great day.

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