“Choker” by Twenty One Pilots
The word “choker” is actually a colloquial term. And the notion it points to, generally speaking, is someone who folds under pressure. And such is the character which Tyler Joseph is portraying in this song.
So the way the storyline goes is that he is reveling in his own misery.
In the first verse the vocalist is depicted as being, simply put, a coward, i.e. a shy dude who totally lacks initiative. But at least he knows that he possesses such issues. And he is accordingly asking for sympathy from the audience.
In the second verse it is further revealed that he is the type who does want to step on anybody’s toes, at all. And again, he understands that his timidness is detrimental to living a fulfilling life – that he is ‘self-sabotaging’ himself by letting his anxieties control him.
This is a very introspective “choker” that we’re dealing with here. And this passage also ends with a sentiment akin to him acknowledging that he needs help.
The third verse, however, culminates on a more optimistic note. And since there are no lyrics following it, this can be deemed as the proper conclusion to the song. And that is when the narrator resolves himself to “get taller, bolder [and] stronger”.
In other words, he’s going to tackle his low self-esteem head on. But he knows that the peril of looking back always exists. That is to say that he feels the only thing that he can prevent him from achieving this goal is harping on his less-than-ideal past.
And taking such a stance, i.e. that pulling himself out of mud is something he must do himself, is obviously an idea he developed over time. For the chorus and bridge indicate that he has come to realize, even though he does feel he needs help, that this is a battle he must face alone. Or put differently, no one is coming to help him overcome his ‘choking’.
What the lyrics of “Choker” are all about
So we’ll conclude by saying that like 99% of the lyrics center on the vocalist more or less dissing himself. He is mentally not very firm to the point where such a disposition has come to define his life. But at least he is finally able to take a stance. Yet he knows he has his work cut out for him overcoming such a mind state.
Facts about “Choker”
Twenty One Pilots is the pairing of Ohioans Tyler Joseph (vocalist) and Josh Dun (instrumentalist). They have been in the game since 2009, with their most-successful undertaking to date being 2015’s “Blurryface”, which bested the Billboard 200 and has been certified quadruple-platinum stateside, with worldwide sales reaching 7,000,000.
Then as far as singles go, Joseph and Dun have dropped quite a few multi-platinum hits. But the one that performed most impressively to date sales’ wise is 2015’s “Stressed Out“, which served as a single from the aforementioned album. For example, that particular outing resulted in an octuple-platinum certificate from the RIAA.
Tyler Joseph both wrote and produced “Choker”. Officially it is the second single from “Scaled and Icy”, Twenty One Pilots sixth standard album, a product of Fueled by Ramen. And its release date was on 30 April 2021.
The first single from “Scaled and Icy”, which is entitled “Shy Away“, topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.
The director of this track’s music video is a regular visual collaborator of the Twenty One Pilots, Mark C. Eshleman.
The first time Twenty One Pilots teased this song was on 28 April 2021, though that announcement was made exclusively to their premium fans.
The “Scaled and Icy” Album
Grammy Award winning American musical duo Twenty One Pilots’ “Scaled and Icy”, their sixth was recorded in Tyler Joseph’s home studio. The majority of its content was written to induce hope during the Coronavirus pandemic era.
Tyler along with three other people (Mike Elizondo, Greg Kurstin, Paul Meany) produced the album. It was produced for the labels Fueled by Ramen and Elektra.
The album’s collective length is thirty-seven minutes, thirty-eight seconds with eleven official tracks listed in it.
By April, 2021, two singles were released from it (“Shy Away”, on April 7th and “Choker” on April 30).
Tyler provided lead vocals, piano, lead vocals, piano, bass guitar, synthesizers, guitar, organs, ukulele, programming, production and songwriting while his partner Josh Dun provided drums, percussion, drum engineering.
They did that together with additional personnel in order to make the album a successful one.