Monday, December 10, 2018

Thoughts on Chlorine by Twenty-One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots Chlorine

This song has touched the hearts of the fandom because everyone thinks it should be on the Bandito tour set list. I saw Twenty-One Pilots at Madison Square Garden and people kept on chanting, "Chlorine!"

Analyzing the lyrical meaning of, "Chlorine," is difficult. "Sippin' on straight chlorine," - what is chlorine used as a metaphor for?

Before I get into that, I wanted to point something out that occurred to me. If you replace the word, "chlorine," with any type of alcohol, you get a pretty straightforward song.  "Sippin' on this liquor/Let the vibe slide over me." I'm just this super, cool fun twenty-something drinking alcohol at a club and bopping my head to this great music. It's cool how this song isn't about that at all. Chlorine definitely represents something deeper. (Also, did you know Tyler Joseph doesn't drink? neat!)

I think Chlorine represents his music. "This beat is a chemical." I think here, he is just directly telling us - yes, chlorine represents music.

He says, "Venom on my tongue, dependent at times," which means he is dependent on the expressing himself through music. It tastes like venom because he has to explore the dark parts of himself to create this music. He has to reach deep inside and confront things like his mental illness.

"Help my body run. I'm running for my life." Here he is saying, music helps him run from his  depression and allows him to stay  alive. "The moment is medical," the music helps him heal a medical condition which is his depression.

Now different lives I lead, my body lives on lead
The last two lines may read incorrect until said
The lead is terrible in flavor
But now you double as a paper maker
I despise you sometimes, I love to hate the fight
This is where it gets confusing. I think lead and chlorine are the same thing - but lead is the bad parts of chlorine. The reason why I think they are the same thing is Tyler saying, "now you double as a paper maker." I think the "you" is chlorine.  Music helps him make money which makes it more stressful and not as much fun anymore. He might not be able to express himself fully either due to record companies and expectations.

One line that remains a mystery to me is, "The last two lines may read incorrect until said." I have no idea why the last two lines in that stanza may be read wrong. I have no idea why the line said out loud may mean something different? Let me know in the comments if you have any clue what that line means! (My only guess is that "rebel red" might sound like "lead" if you say it fast - like a tongue twister.)


I'm so sorry I forgot you
Let me catch you up to speed
I've been tested like the end of
A weathered flag that's by the sea
Can you build my house with pieces?
I'm just a chemical
I love this part because it's so dark and dramatic. "I've been tested like the end of a weathered flag that's by the sea." Beautiful imagery and symbolism. My soul really feels those lyrics.

"Can you build my house with pieces?" - he is asking music/chlorine to help him deal with the tough times. I was thinking that this could also be taken another way - he is asking music to help him earn money so he can build a house which calls back the lead he was mentioning earlier.

One thing that throws me off is - he is saying that he, Tyler Joseph, is the chemical. But you can't sip on yourself so he definitely can't be chlorine!! He says I'm JUST a chemical. Maybe it's his way of showing weakness and surrendering to the music.

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