A steady drumbeat and 80’s style synth sound is all it takes for Alternative Rock band, Twenty One Pilots to gain the full attention of the audience to their new track, “Shy Away.” The immediate feeling is that of an upcoming summer mixed with nostalgia; your body wants to drive down the road with open windows, while your mind only pictures the past. A pallet primarily consisting of calm blues and white codes the accompanying video with a simple, yet hypnotic aesthetic. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun—the band’s only two members—perform in a long, hauntingly lit hallway. Dun beats his drums and Joseph breaks into the first verse while standing still. His posture as he sings begins as almost apathetic.
After a few words, Joseph’s rigid pose softens. Before long, he slides across the screen and into the chorus. “Don’t you shy away,” it begins, “Manifest a ceiling when you shy away.” He begs at a simple message: go for it all; try and turn your dreams into reality. The song, perhaps, does not sport the most unique message on its surface, but Joseph finds a way to deliver it in a creative and catchy manner nonetheless.
The first of two refrains used in each verse calls for the audience to “Shed your modesty.” This phrase seems to speak toward self-doubt: do not underestimate your own abilities; you are more than capable of whatever it may be you are trying to achieve. Believe in your abilities, embrace your skills, and trust that you are, not just good-enough, but good—if not, great. The second refrain calls for the audience to now leave “your skin on the floor.” Though creating a more unsettling image, this phrase leads to a similar point: open up and share your passion and skills with the world, or whoever needs to see them. Your skin is all that hides your heart; leave it on the floor and allow yourself to be vulnerable for a moment, because that is what it would take to find success in whatever your passion truly is.
This newest track by Twenty One Pilots embraces a new style for the duo and provides one of the most positive messages in their discography. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Joseph disclosed that he wrote the song for his younger brother. He claims the writing process started as a tutorial for his brother on how to make a song, and the lyrics came to talk about watching someone you love find themselves and their purpose. While many long-time fans of Twenty One Pilots may not care as deeply for this new, poppy sound, it seems to be nothing shy of open and genuine, and I believe that that is all that one can ask for of an artist.
(Link to radio interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdNvSBeRv2U&t=601s)
Picture credit comes from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNfU_3fhpAu/