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!

What does "Cut My Lip" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

What does "Cut My Lip" by Twenty One Pilots mean?

“Cut My Lip” Lyrics Meaning

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

The is nothing that makes a Pop Song Professor feel like an idiot more so when he listens to an entire song, say it's one of the most confusing songs on the album, and his wife figures it out for him in about 15 seconds; I'll explain what I'm talking about when we get to the bridge; but for now, let's start explaining "Cut My Lip".

"Cut My Lip" is the tenth song on the album Trench by twenty one pilots; I have explained every song before this one in here, so you might want to check them out; but now, let's start with the first verse,

Verse One

I'll keep on tryin’, might as well
If you decide all is well
I'll keep on tryin', might as well (Might as well)
If you decide all is well (All is well)

Now my overall theory for this is that Tyler is saying that the songwriting process and the music industry can be difficult in general; songwriting and life are intertwined for him, as we have said before; so when he says that he'll keep on trying, he means "I'll keep fighting my personal demons, as well as fight writer's block; because (if YOU decide all is well), I'll keep on trying"; so he is saying "as long as you like it, let's do this". Then we get into the pre-chorus, and we here him sing,


Though I am bruised, face of contusions
Know I’ll keep movin'
Though I am bruised, face of contusions
Know I'll keep movin', know I'll keep movin'

The bruising could mean that he is falling down, like what happened in "Jumpsuit" music video; it could also be about fighting, like what happened in "My Blood"; it could be a lot of different things, but it is difficult; he's picking up some bruises and some scars as a result; but he is going to keep on going anyway. Then we jump into the chorus, where he describes the cup that he drinks from.


Rust around the rim, drink it anyway
I cut my lip
Isn't what I want, blood is on my tongue
I cut my lip

And it just seems to be more description and explanation of how confusing and difficult life can be at time; he knows that this cup has rust around its rim, and he does cut his lip, but he is going to keep drinking anyway.

I think there are interesting similarities here to Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane, where he says that he's going to drink the cup that the father has given; which essentially means being crucified and dying for the sins of the world; I don' think that Tyler is necessarily connecting himself to Jesus, but this part feels like an illusion, like he's kind of using this imagery I guess, "Drinking the cup that has been given to you, even if it hurts"... Oh gosh! I am going to get sacrilegious here really quickly here, aren't I?! It just seems like he's borrowing this metaphor, this drinking from a cup that's basically a hard pill to swallow, no pun intended.

Verse Two

I keep on goin' back
Even though it’s me I abuse
I’ll keep on goin' back

And that seems to be about the songwriting process perhaps; he keeps going back to the studio; where he spent a whole year and a half basically where he was like "I have got to write me some songs, and create an album"; I can imagine that some days waking up, and going down the stairs felt like going back to swallowing that bitter pill or something, of writing songs and thinking about things that are heavy; that must have been really challenging for him sometimes.

Here is the part where I felt stupidly confused, and April figured it out, just like that *fingers' snap*


I don't mind at all
Lean on my pride
Lean on my pride
I'm a lion

and I was thinking to myself "leans on his pride? so maybe he's proud of his songwriting ability; or maybe he's proud of his family; or maybe he's proud of the band and what he's accomplished. What about the lion part? is being a lion a bad thing? maybe it's a reference to “Migraine”. What the heck is going on here?"; April just said: "Oh! like a pride of lions"; and I was like...

I have spent so much thinking about this; and I've told April that this might be the most confusing song in all of the album; but she told me that she listened it and thought it's kind of obvious; and I just lost it, I felt like such an idiot, and I was like "Pop song professor, pull it together".

So basically, Tyler is saying that he doesn't mind doing this difficult thing; he does not mind writing and "cutting his lips", as long as he has his pride of lions; lions are fighters, they're majestic beasts, the kings of the jungle, the female lions work together to go down and hunt for their families, while the dudes just hang out, and I'm going off the rails here; anyway, he has his pride, the banditos, his family, friends, and fans; the skeleton clique who support him and Josh; so he's a lion that is a part of a group; and there is something special, right?

That's the basic explanation of "Cut My Lip"; the tenth song in the album Trench by twenty one pilots. It is a sincere song, it's a direct song, and it seems to be addressed at the skeleton clique, letting them know that he's going to keep writing songs. Also, this is a proof that Trench is NOT that last album, like some people have been saying for a while; so he'll keep going, if that was even a question in the first place. 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.

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