Twenty One Pilots – Choker | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review


Twenty One Pilots are not new to creating songs about topics their fans can relate to. Their 2015 single “Stressed Out” is a good example. Working towards releasing their upcoming 2021 album, Twenty One Pilots have released a brand new single from this album, titled “Choker”.

“Choker” is the second single from Twenty One Pilot’s sixth studio album “Scaled And Icy” which will be released on May 21, 2021. The first promotional single was titled “Shy Away” and released in early April 2021.

The track “Choker” is about anxiety. “Smothering” is the act of failing to rise to an occasion, which requires extra effort. It’s not being lazy. It’s more or less the inability to overcome internal struggles to deliver on demand.

The music video for “Choker” is a work of art in itself. And it could also give you anxiety. The video was shot at the Big Fun Columbus toy store. The art directors worked just 8 days to transform the store into what it is in the music video – brimming with a thousand hidden messages. Some hidden references are the “TOPxMM” album cover, the “Vialism” brochure, the “Scaled And Icy” album cover, the “Dema” mug, and a whole bunch of merchandise from the official Twenty One store Pilot. See if you can find more.

Watch Twenty One Pilots’ “Choker” Music Video

Meaning of the lyrics of “Choker” and examination of the song

Verse 1

In the first verse of the song, Tyler Joseph sings about his traits that we can also relate to. He sings like he stays alone and doesn’t bother anyone. He knows how to live his life within his personal limits and be content with them. But this same trait works against him when a certain situation forces him to intervene. Then he is nervous.

Chokin’ on the circumstance
I only smoke secondhand

Passive smoking involves inhaling the cigarette smoke exhaled by someone who smokes. One could consider that “smoking” is “cool”. In that sense, it can be inferred that Tyler considers himself “uncool”, which adds to his “quirky” personal traits.

Then the singer has surgery and asks us to decapitate his own and study them. However, this is most likely a benchmark for their songs – decipher them and figure out what’s hidden in plain sight.


In the song’s chorus, Tyler sings about how he feels lost and no one is coming to save him. This ties in with the frequent themes of depression and anxiety in their albums. This could be a reference to the fictional lore of Dema, Twenty One Pilots created in their previous album “Trench”.

Verse 2

In the second verse of the song, Tyler Joseph dwells on his “insignificant” personal traits. The latest addition to the list is “self-sabotage”. This is when you hold yourself back from pushing hard towards bigger things. You know you can do more. But the thought of “more” paralyzes you inside. So you just sit in your comfort zone.

The singer also talks about his tolerance for change. He knows that makes him who he is as a person. But he accepts being who he is right now, in his perfectly monotonous life cycle.

The lyric “pain is only an intermediary” is simply amazing. An intermediary is someone who connects two other parties to do something. Pain is a feeling of hurt. It is literally a chemical released into your body so that your brain can recognize that there is something wrong with your body. So the pain is not the real problem. Pain is the messenger. So taking pills to numb the pain is not a solution. It’s simply a workaround for a deeper problem.


It’s a desperate feeling to have no one to believe you. It happens specifically with mental issues that might not be apparent to others.

This song is yet another creative work by Twenty One Pilots. We have all been chokers at some point in our lives. Let us know what you think of the song in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics on Genius.

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