“… Somebody stole/ my car radio/ And now I just sit in silence/ I ponder of something terrifying/ ‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind/ I find over the course of our human existence/ One thing consists of consistence/ And it’s that we’re all battling fear.” – Twenty One Pilots, “Car Radio”
Unlike the previous Commonplace assignments that I have completed, the media for this one has changed, from literature to lyrics. The format of the lyrics can be paralleled to poetry. The rhyme is not consistent but the piece creates a rhythm that works well in the rap that Tyler Joseph performs, as seen in the video. But the rhymes that are included (like “existence”/ “consistence,” and “somebody stole”/ “my car radio”) contrast the final statement and make it especially noticeable, from the rhyme above to “we’re all battling fear.” As a result, the change seems to make the statement more profound.
On the content, Twenty One Pilots, made up of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, make a strong statement on fear that is contained in everyone, stating that fear is part of “our human existence.” They present the idea that music or the radio is a way that people hide from their fears by masking the silence where thought is provoked. Silence creates a space for thought and thinking is powerful and can be all consuming, as well as illuminating loneliness or estrangement from others. I find this song interesting in the way that the listener of the song may listen to fill the silence that they experience (like the silence that they are presenting in the lyrics) and I think there is irony in how the band is performing a song to present the idea and the fear behind silence.
But what the lyrics also present is that things can be discovered in the silence, as they sing “I ponder of something terrifying/ ‘Cause this time there’s no sound to hide behind/ … And it’s that we’re all battling fear.” Joseph also sings that everyone contains this fear, showing that it is part of the human condition. We, as humans, fear the quiet because it leads to too much thinking but can also lead to discovery.
The video itself, adding to the meaning of these specific lyrics, makes this fear tangible. The video itself is not clear, appearing to be cut and scratched at points. Along with Joseph’s acting, he is alone and restless/uncomfortable until he enters the crowd and they all jump and act together as one, showing the uniformity and the universal fear that is instilled in everyone.