Spark's Deep Lyrical Analysis: "Ride" by twenty one pilots

Spark_Of_Life twenty one pilots (that's how they spell their name, no typos here) is immensely popular at my school. Four of my best friends worship them, someone sung "Tear In My Heart" at the talent show, and I see at least two people every day wearing one of their shirts. And I have to admit, they are a great band. Their beats are memorable and original (unlike DJ Mustard, who recycles the same 4 beats in every one of his god-awful songs), Tyler Joseph has killer vocals, and their lyrics are awesome. But I'm not here to offer my opinion of their latest song," Ride". I'm here to analyze it's lyrics. So, here goes nothing.

I just wanna stay in the sun where I find
I know it's hard sometimes
Pieces of peace in the sun's peace of mind
I know it's hard sometimes

Right off the bat, it's obvious this song is about death. The singer is using the "sun" as a metaphor for life, and the dark as death. He wants to"stay in the sun where I find"...the line is unfinished, but I can only assume he was going to say "happiness". But he's admitting that it's hard to find happiness in life sometimes. "Pieces of peace in the sun's peace of mind" means that there's peace in the world, but it's in pieces, not an altogether harmony. What anyone wants out of life is happiness, "the sun's peace of mind", but it's in pieces.

Yeah, I think about the end just way too much
But it's fun to fantasize
On my enemies who wouldn't wish who I was
But it's fun to fantasize

The singer thinks about death a lot more than he should. He hints that he's not happy with life by saying "it's fun to fantasize", which means he would have at least some solace if he died. His enemies wish he was dead by wishing he was not (that is, he doesn't exist). Once again, it's fun for him to fantasize that his enemies are bitter and angry that he is not dead.

Oh, oh, I'm falling, so I'm taking my time on my ride
Oh, I'm falling, so I'm taking my time on my ride
Taking my time on my ride

"Ride" here is used as a metaphor for life. Life to the singer is one long ride. Whatever transport he is using causes him to fall a lot (relationships, social obligations, work), which means his life seems to be dragging out, so he's metaphorically "taking my time on my ride" IE his life is a lot longer than he would like.

"I'd die for you," that's easy to say
We have a list of people that we would take
A bullet for them, a bullet for you
A bullet for everybody in this room
But I don't seem to see many bullets coming through
See many bullets coming through

Here the singer is taking down hypocrites who tell such well-worn cliché lines like "I'd take a bullet for you". He's saying that many people say they care about you and lots of other people, and would die for you or them, but there's no way to see if these claims are genuine because catastrophes that test these kinds of things aren't very common. This is why he says "I don't seem to see many bullets coming through". He's using the bullets as a metaphor for situations and catastrophes that would tell you if someone would really "take a bullet" for you.

Metaphorically, I'm the man
But literally, I don't know what I'd do
"I'd live for you," and that's hard to do
Even harder to say when you know it's not true
Even harder to write when you know that tonight
There were people back home who tried talking to you
But then you ignored them still

The singer is "the man" of the relationship he's in (meaning he protects and loves his other half), but he's literally at a loss of what he would do if all of that was put to the test by cheating, a disaster, or other such thing. Some people say "they'd live for you" meaning they'd do everything they can to make your life easy, which is indeed a very hard thing to do. But it's even harder to say that if you really have sincerity behind it at all. The last two lines are about writing home from someplace, but it's hard to do when you know that whoever is home for you would rather be straight talking to you rather than reading a letter. But despite their missing you, you still don't come home because they've wronged you by telling you lies like "they'd live for you".

All these questions they're for real
Like "Who would you live for?",
"Who would you die for?"
And "Would you ever kill?"

This line simply asks real questions about what you would really do in a disaster: who would you live for? Who would you die for? Would you be willing to kill someone for harming or wronging someone you love and trust?

I've been thinking too much
I've been thinking too much
I've been thinking too much
I've been thinking too much
(help me)
I've been thinking too much (I've been thinking too much)
I've been thinking too much (Help me)
I've been thinking too much (I've been thinking too much)
I've been thinking too much

This line can be read two ways: literally and metaphorically. On a literal level, the singer has been tackling touchy and difficult topics the whole song, and he's literally been"thinking too much" and needs help to get his mind on something else. On a metaphorical level, the singer's been thinking about how tough relationships are, life, and death. He's been "thinking too much" and needs help (read: reassurance) from someone he loves or trusts.

This reminds me of songs like "Black Hole Sun" and "Pumped Up Kicks". All three are incredibly happy sounding (Tyler manages to make a song seriously questioning what relationships and death mean sound downright cheerful), but on a lyrical level, they are all heavy on the subject matter. "Black Hole Sun" is about how doomed the world was in 1995 from all the corruption, death, and lies. "Pumped Up Kicks" is about a kid planning a school shooting.

"Ride" is a brilliant jab at dishonest people, what relationships mean, and what life and death really symbolize, and, on a lyrical level, gets two thumbs up from me.


Thank you for making this. I am deeply in love with this song as well as the rest of blurryface, but honestly it doesn't do it justice to compare it to Pumped Up Kicks. I despise that song, personally. Great review. - WonkeyDude98

They're not the same lyrically. Pumped Up Kicks is catchy but meaningless and kinda creepy. You can see my opinion on Ride. I just thought they were both happy sounding, but were really heavy on the subject matter. They're similar in tone, but PUK can't even touch Ride on deepness of lyrics and brilliance. - Spark_Of_Life

I'm a bit confused. You say that PUK is meaningless, when in your review you said it's heavy on its subject matter.

Yeah, Ride juxtaposes way better, with its bouncy reggae influences up against this whole review, while PUK is a pseudo-indie act of utter pretension. - WonkeyDude98

PUK isn't meaning less, it's about wanting to shoot a school - ProPanda

Oh wait you said that - ProPanda

I guess what I really meant is that it's a lot less deep than most people think it is. - Spark_Of_Life

Ah, makes sense. - WonkeyDude98

I'd love to have a PM discussion with you! - Swellow