Twenty One Pilots’ “Shy Away” Lyrics Meaning
As briefly expounded on later in the article, “Shy Away” started off as a tutorial Twenty One Pilots frontman Tyler Joseph put together in the name of showing his younger brother the musical ropes.
But as the song evolved, it rather became more like said brother is the addressee instead of the recipient. In other words, the lyrics are a message from an older brother to a younger one. And the main instruction he is giving him is “don’t you shy away”.
And within the above-mentioned pretext, said admonishment reads pretty much as one would presume. The singer wants the addressee to confront life head on, so to speak.
He idealizes his younger brother pursuing his destiny with vigor and verily as a man. That is why for instance in the first and third verses he is saying that he doesn’t want to come home to meet him.
The reason he is making such a statement isn’t because he doesn’t want to see his brother literally. Rather it’s like if dude is at home, then he’s not out making his way in life, as he should be at this particular juncture in his lifespan.
Indeed as the vocalist idealizes the situation, once the addressee does in fact make it back home he will “barely recognize the pictures they put in a frame”. And that allegory is a poetic way of saying that by the time the addressee does return from his mission, if you will, he will be a completely-changed man, i.e. achieving success in what he set out for in the first place.
So in classifying this track, we will define it as an inspirational song. And what it features is an addressee who is being encouraged to shun a cowardly spirit as he sets forth to find his own place in the world.
Twenty One Pilots
Since 2011 Twenty One Pilots has consisted of only two musicians – Tyler Joseph, one of founders of the crew, alongside Josh Dun. Being that the band had just formed in 2009, it is that same pair which most people identify with the outfit anyway.
For instance, with Twenty One Pilots having released five studio albums between 2009 and 2018, four of them are by Tyler and Dun. And their biggest hit project-wise was 2015’s “Blurryface”, which topped the Billboard 200 and within the first 5 or so years of its release has sold nearly 7,000,000 copies.
And as far as Twenty One Pilots’ most-successful song to date, that would be 2015’s “Stressed Out“, which fell a spot shy of topping the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified octuple-platinum in the US in 2017.
When was “Shy Away” released?
“Shy Away” came out on 7th April 2021, via the creatively-named label Fueled by Ramen. And it is the lead single from Twenty One Pilots’ sixth-studio album, “Scaled and Icy”.
And if you were to rearrange the letters of that title it would actually read “Clancy Is Dead”, with Clancy being a recurring character in the group’s songs.
The first time Twenty One Pilots are known to have teased this track, as well as the album it is featured on, was a couple of days before its release date.
Writing and Recording
This track was written and produced by Tyler Joseph, who at the time is 32 years old. He originally conceived it “as a tutorial” to teach his younger brother “how to lay out a song”.
Tyler Joseph actually recorded this song in a studio found in his own home. Thus at the onset you can hear his infant daughter, Rosie (b. 2020), cooing in the background.
And at first he was going to edit out her contribution but ultimately falling in love with it. Also, since Tyler did in fact put the song together (as well as most of “Scaled and Icy”) in isolation, he worked with Josh Dun over the internet.
And along those lines Joseph has observed that this track marks the first time that Dun has “recorded drums all on his own” with the assistance of a professional engineer.
By the way, both Tyler and Josh are from Columbus, the capital city of the state of Ohio.