What does Car Radio mean?

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Twenty One Pilots: Car Radio Meaning

Song Released: 2014

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Car Radio Lyrics

I ponder of something great
My lungs will fill and then deflate
They fill with fire
Exhale desire
I know it's dire
My time today

I have these thoughts
So often I ought
To replace that slot
With what I once bought
'Cause somebody...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 28th 2014 report

    So I see all these ideas on the meaning but I don't see anyone saying anything about the uplifting message that I hear. I listened to this song on repeat one night while thinking of big decisions for my life and it popped out at me after the 30th time. So here is my take:

    this guy has a mind that is often running at high speeds thinking about every aspect of his life, some things positive some things (most) negative. His car radio is the only thing that stops his mind from going crazy and when someone steals it he has no way to stop his thoughts. (I'm not going into my theory about what the car radio represents) he realizes that the quiet he faces now will be his undoing because he cant stop analyzing. He doesn't like what he see's in his head the ugly truths about life. He no longer finds pride in what he does with his life because he realizes that it comes with the price of hurting others and himself in order to reach his dreams. He has to deal with his guilt because he cant hide behind his music anymore. He could kill himself so he doesn't have to deal with it.

    Then he thinks about how in every life there is a battle against doing the things we are afraid of people don't understand why they are alive and are afraid to face the unknown of living. So they kill themselves, this scares him and he wants to stop thinking.

    Now here comes the positive spin. He realizes we have two options to end the pain we live with. 1. Have faith that you can make it and life will get better and 2. Sleep (suicide?) and ignore the pain. Faith=being alive sleep= to be dead. Being awake is to think things through and not let the easy thoughts take over and end it which would to being alive. He wants to get us to see that we have to think and not just take the easy route and sleep it off or kill ourselves. He ends on a positive note saying he ponders of something great again and he will continue to think things through instead of numbing it out..... Hard to explain and I hope I did adequate... This is just my take. Please people just think before you make the decision to "pull the steering wheel"....


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jul 11th 2018 report

    I think this song talks about how music can save people.
    I ponder of something great
    My lungs will fill and then deflate
    They fill with fire
    Exhale desire
    I know it's dire
    My time today

    He is thinking of somthing great- or what i think, somthing great can be suicide, he is breathing deeply, beacuse he knows that is he commits suicide, it will change alot, i know its dire, my time today, he knows that him being there is a dire situation, beacuse he knows that he wants to leave, but his time today,
    I have these thoughts
    So often I ought
    To replace that slot
    With what I once bought
    'Cause somebody stole
    My car radio
    And now I just sit in silence
    When he says i have these thoughts, its talking about suicidal thoughts, so often, meaning he thinks about it alots, he ought to try to fight it with what he once bought, his car radio, or music, but he cant, so he just sits in silence, with his thoughts.
    Sometimes quiet is violent
    I find it hard to hide it
    My pride is no longer inside
    It's on my sleeve
    My skin will scream
    Reminding me of
    Who I killed inside my dream
    I hate this car that I'm driving
    There's no hiding for me
    I'm forced to deal with what I feel
    There is no distraction to mask what is real
    I could pull the steering wheel
    I find it hard to hide it, meaning its hard to hide how he is feeling beacuse his thoughts are so severe. he cant hold what he is feeling inside anymore, so its on my sleeve
    meaning maybe the blood from cutting, my skin will scream, also meaning that his skin is burning from selfharm. reminding me of who i killed, inside my dream, meaning he had (maybe) a image of himself that he killed with his thoughts, so he feels hopeless, and he cant return to his former image or the image he wanted to have. i also think that the car he is driving represnts his life. so when he says, 'i hate this car that im driving', he hates his life, and where he is going with it. im forced to deal with what i feel, he feels no one can or will help him, and his music is gone, so nothing can help him, so he is forced with his feelings (there is no distraction to mask what is real) His music.
    and without it, 'i could pull the steering wheel' suicide.

    I could contine with more of the meaning, but i think we get the main jist, so when people are always listening to music, there might be a deeper meaning


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jan 24th 2015 report

    I would like to talk about the music video because no one has addressed it. In the first scenes, Tyler is in a bathroom. I can imagine that this is a place where he goes when he is distressed. Tyler is rapping because his thoughts are going so quickly. Whenever he mentions about pulling the steering wheel, he pulls the razor towards him. The razor represents the instrument that will be utilized in killing his superficial self. He then begins to shave off his head. This represents him changing into a different person. Then he puts on the ski mask. This represents him putting on a new identity in which no one can see him for who he is. He then walks out of the bathroom onto the stage where there is a crowd standing still. This represents a shift in his thinking from the "quiet is violent" thoughts to thoughts of expressing himself. He stands in the middle of the crowd, the music starts, and all hell breaks loose. It's an awesome scene. It is noteworthy to say that Tyler acts like he is "schizting out" (I hope I spelled that correctly). This is a VERY bold claim but I would argue that Tyler has a mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. Again, just a claim. But when the music starts, he is able to use his illness to bring out the best in him. He begins to crowdsurf, which represents him being able to have the time of his life - a euphoric experience. He reaches the stage and he begins to raise up one hand. The crowd follows. This represents him holding reverence to God and having the crowd following him in worship to Him. Then he starts to scream "Now I just sit in silence." This represents that he wants to express this part of himself but he is not able to. Then the music video cuts to the stage again, but no one is there and the lights are on. Tyler, still wearing the ski mask, then takes it off. His hand is shaking, indicative of his euphoric fantasy of being able to express his violent thought. But, his hair is there. This part is really cool.

    I ponder of something great
    My lungs will fill and then deflate
    They fill with fire
    Exhale desire
    I know it's dire
    My time today

    He thinks of something great he can do. He has the passion (fire) to do it, but only has desire and is not able to achieve his dream. And he knows that he only has a certain amount of time to achieve his dream. In the music video, he is not able to achieve his dream. He still struggles with the violent thoughts. HOWEVER, since Tyler did do the music video, he WAS able to achieve the dreams that he had thought of inside his conflicted head. BOOM.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Yesterday, 14:28 report

    The narrator is having thoughts of self destruction while driving. Someone stole the narrators car radio. The narrator uses music/The car radio to drown out the thoughts.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 23rd 2021 report

    Hey so in English we had to choose a piece of poetry/song and write our interpretation of it and I thought I might as well share it here lol.

    I believe that Tyler uses a car as a metaphor for his life, and him driving this car represents him living his life. Different parts of the car represent different parts of people. But we need every part in a car to work properly, again exactly like people. Someone has taken the car radio from Tylers car. People might think that listening to music while driving isn't necessary but it is important. The car radio is a metaphor for whatever kept Tyler going strong. for some people their escape is in fact music, others it could be a certain person, or writing or art etc. Now that Tylers car radio has been taken away, he has no escape. Now he is completely alone with his thoughts. He is thinking too much. He begins to question his life. throughout the entire song Tyler keeps referencing the car aka his life. An example of this is "I hate this car that im driving". Without the music, which as I mentioned before, is his escape, Tyler doesn't like the car, which is his life. Without what Tyler loved about his life, he is beginning to find it pointless. Another reference to the car is "I could pull the steering wheel". I think what Tyler meant by this is as he is struggling to find purpose in this car without music he is thinking of ending his journey by pulling the steering wheel because there is no point. This means that Tyler is living this life without the thing he loves and doesn't want to live it anymore so he is considering just ending everything.

    Now, the lyrics itself are extremely deep however, so is the music video. Tyler uses his hair as a metaphor in the video. His hair represents his problems, and him shaving it is him trying to run away from his problems. He then puts a mask on, which shows he isn't telling anyone that he is struggling and instead, hides his problems as he tries to deal with them himself. Then, we go to the concert. towards the end of the video as everything begins to slow down, Tyler takes his mask off, but his hair is still there. This shows that you can't run away or try to ignore problems you're facing as they will just keep returning. The last part of the video is Tyler falling off the stage. This is him committing suicide as he is tired of dealing with what hes feeling alone.

    Hey fren,
    If you're reading this and feeling like you're not worth it I promise you are. It might not mean a lot coming from a total stranger but I hope it makes a small difference at least. Ending your life isn't the way to go. I know you're feeling hurt and taking your life feels like the only way to end the pain but I promise things will get better. Its going to take time but keep fighting. You will find your car radio just hang in there :)

    Stay Alive ||-//

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 4th 2021 report

    This is just my theory but
    Since we can infer that Tyler has or has had depression and anxiety from most of tøp songs, I think that the car radio was controlling his anxiety and thoughts.
    Example, in the song, Tyler begs along the lines of "Too much. Please stop thinking." after he's lost his car radio. This leads me to believe that the car radio prevented him from having suicidal thoughts/getting anxious etc. but once it was stolen, he kept having those anxious thoughts he wanted to prevent with the car radio. In conclusion, Tyler had his car radio, which kept him from having dark an scary thoughts, but then it was stolen and the thoughts are taking over him.
    Again this is just a theory~

  7. anonymous
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    Jul 10th 2020 report

    Car radio is his soul which was stolen from him by Satan to became who and what he is. I know it’s out there but he said in the judge song when the leader of the bad guys sang something soft soaked in pain. Who is the leader of the bad guys? He does say take me to that leader of the bad guys.

  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 16th 2020 report

    I didnt want to look through all the interpretations but, my take on this song is this-
    Tyler at this time dealt with depression and anxiety. he wrote this song saying that if he doesn't have his car radio he will let all theses feelings inside his head that are bad

    I have these thoughts so often I ought to replace that slot with what I one bought

    he has these thoughts (depression, suicide, anxiety) so often... he replaces that slot with what he once bought (his car with the car radio)

  9. A_poet
    click a star to vote
    Jun 2nd 2019 report

    So this song is basically about this dude who’s car radio was stolen, and it may be much more literal than people interpret it. His car radio and the music was distracting him from actually sitting down and thinking, and now that it’s gone, he can’t help the thoughts from taking over. It would be so easy for him to just forget about everything, but the silence won’t let him. He doesn’t like where his thoughts are going, with the “big question” topics that his mind is going to, and him wondering of suicide. He eventually realizes that it’s good to be thinking and wondering in silence instead of being zombie-like behind the music, as he says, “to think is to be alive”. When he refers to sleep versus faith, sleep is to be mechanical, to never think, to just be distracted.

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 21st 2018 report

    This song represents an "episode" of a metal illness taking over. I took this similar to an anxiety attack. The first verse and chorus are calm and almost still - scary thoughts slowly take over your mind. Then, the music is faster and Tyler begins rapping-emotions and thoughts move so fast that they cannot be spoken and they change so quickly, you feel that you need to scream and start writing everything down (which they did). At the bridge, Tyler begins screaming, which you may think is overkill, but is absolutely necessary. After your thoughts race around your head,you are exhausted, you don't know what's going on but you have an overwhelming sensation of panic, worry, and guilt that cannot be contained.
    When he mentions the car radio, he is talking about the people (friends and family) that loved him. When "somebody stole my car radio" this means that his younger self pushed those people away and now he doesn't have anyone that can help him battle his mental illness. When he shaves his head or talks about "pulling the steering wheel" this shows how easy it would be to end his own life and remove all of the problems.
    "My lungs will fill and then deflate, they fill with fire, exhale desire" This shows that he has a passion to overcome the easy, sinful thoughts and to possibly help others.
    "Exhale desire" explains that he wants to help but he doesn't know how, so it is left as only desire. "Peace will win and fear will lose, and 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" This is a long quote but a meaningful one, probably the most important in the song for me. This proves that there are two ways to kill this problem: sleep, to take one's own life and not be on Earth anymore, or to have faith, to be awake, to believe that you can overcome Satan's call and that God will stand with you. "to let you know you need to try to think" shows that "being awake" is trying to think-not thinking Satan's thoughts, but trying to think of why being alive is worth it.
    "I know it's dire, my time today" Is another reinforcement of the suicide idea. His time is crucial because if he "sleeps" there may not be tomorrow.
    The final chorus is as calm as the first, showing that the "episode" is nearing an end. Your thoughts are still insane and you don't have full caution, but you can sort of sort out the thoughts and relax a little.

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 11th 2018 report

    The song is basically a metaphor for this guy's life the car radio represents all the important people in his life the car represents his life he's saying somebody stole all the important people in his life and now he has to deal with the silence but who did still have the radio well I think it's another version of this guy self the the young dumb and stupid and impulsive version of himself he scared all the people that he loved away the point where he went insane he says that he hates this car that he said I think that's because he's saying that he hates this life and then one point he suggest either Faith or sleep he saying either you can be faithful and get through life or you can sleep which I think is a metaphor for death basically he can he say you can be dead or you can stick it out and be alive I also believe that the car radio is what he used to drown out all his problems in life use these people to drown out everything else and one by one he lost all of them until he lost the last one and now he can't have anything to deal with all these problems and he's forced to face it he also says my lungs fill with fire exhale desire I know it's dire my time today when I when I think of that I basically think that he is saying the fire is all the people that's keeping him alive in the motive to keep living but when he says exhale it's when they all left him so when he exhales he excels desire for this urge to be loved by people he also says and I will try with every rhyme you come across like I am dying I think that this means he's trying to tell you how painful and how hard he's going through he can't find the words enough to express it so he's trying to rhyme and tell you everything that he's gone through this is my opinion on the song and it's maybe not correct please correct me if I'm wrong I know the others on this are talking about suicide I think that could be a complete potential but this is my view on the song

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 2nd 2018 report

    This song is about having faith or the lack of faith.
    We are created by God, we are his children. Loving parents long for the love of their children, God is no different, He longs for our love, as we are created in His image. We cannot force our children to love us as parents, nor would a good parent want to, God is the same, He wants us to choose him, choose to love him, as he loves us. He created us to love Him, and to love others. That is why He created a desire, or hole in our heart, that can only be filled by the love for God, and the love for others (our brothers and sisters). Unfortunately we fill that hole with everything but God (faith), we fill it with Material possessions, money, sex, drugs, rock n roll, instead of choosing him, because it feels easier than facing the wrongs in life, and asking for forgiveness to our parent, our creator. But in all reality, he wants to forgive, He's our Dad, and a good parent wants to forgive their son or daughter, and just wants their love.
    The hole where the radio went, that's the God size hole He created in our heart. To replace that slot with what I once bought, is to fill the hole with man's desire (Material possessions, money, sex, drugs, rock n roll). But now the hole is empty, someone took the stuff I filled the hole with. Now I just sit in silence, left to my own thoughts, battling fear, or choosing peace. It's too deep, please stop thinking, I liked the car radio, not the hole. The distractions (the sound), (material possessions, money, etc) they are all easier than being accountable for our wrongs toward others, or our Creator. But God wants the best for us, as a parent wants the best for their children, and He wants you to choose whats best for you, and wants you to be accountable for the things that are not best for you. Faith=awake=think=alive, or faith=alive, or no faith=death. Faith is choosing to believe in something that is not tangible. Alive means not dead, or even overcoming death. Having faith in God = Overcoming death. 2 Corinthians 4:18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal". Eternal, forever, no death, alive. Faith = Alive
    So, we can choose to fill our life with distractions, earthly things, noise, car radio, sex, drugs, rock n roll, which all equal death. Or we can choose love for God, and love for others, which equals life forever.
    Today can be the day you choose, fear or peace, faith or no faith, alive or death, it is dire.
    "I ponder of something great
    My lungs will fill and then deflate
    They fill with fire, exhale desire
    I know it's dire my time today"

  13. anonymous
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    Jun 29th 2018 report

    The guy literally said he wrote the song because someone actually stole his car radio.

  14. anonymous
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    Apr 3rd 2018 report

    I believe Tyler's "car radio" is something he can use to drown out his thoughts and depression. It then is "taken" from him (I'm trying to shorten this) and he has to deal with these thoughts.

  15. anonymous
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    Feb 5th 2018 report

    i feel like it is about a loved one who has died car radio is the loved one and the car is his life in the part the one i killed inside my dreams is killing the person that killed the loved one inside his dreams this is what i think about with my two ocs

  16. anonymous
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    Jan 31st 2018 report

    I have found the TRUE meaning of this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOdJBLsR0AA

  17. anonymous
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    Jan 21st 2018 report

    Tyler is dealing with the dark part of his thoughts, and like most of us, tries to distract himself. Now, recognize that those distractions do not last forever. So when the "music" stops and he's left with the silence, all of those thoughts (good and bad) come rushing back, and there's nothing he can do about it but face them. He comes to two choices here (like a lot of us do):
    1.) Face the music until you have power to conquer it. OR 2.) Stop the music...by ending it all.

    Luckily, he faces the music day to day and he's gaining his strength to conquer his dark side once and for all.

  18. anonymous
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    Jan 19th 2018 report

    Beautiful song, great writing! When I listened to it for the first time I thought "THERE IS HOPE IN TODAY's MUSIC" ever since, I follow this band and am a 39 years old mom who actually allows and encourages her son (10) to do as well.
    Is just an amazing metaphor that represents awareness.
    The car radio symbolizes all the noise that keeps us from reality but once we open our eyes, we start seeing life for what it is and can't avoid to analyze, like or dislike and make choices.
    Great band, great musicians! We need more artists like these guys!

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