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Choker is a song by Twenty One Pilots from the sixth studio album, Scaled and Icy. It is the second track on the album and was released as its second single on April 30, 2021.

It was notably released at midnight in all local time zones, meaning South Pacific nations such as Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand got the song first on streaming platforms. It was subsequently leaked online for the rest of the world in the following hours before officially releasing.

Background and writing

Regarding the writing process of the track, Tyler Joseph described it as a "rash" for referring him to dig back into older songwriting habits and methods. He explained: "[...] It's another thing when [a song] comes up organically – almost like an old habit that is inevitably a part of who you are, and still makes up the fibres of who you are. It's mostly dormant, but every once in a while it flares up. That's what "Choker" is: a flare up of an old rash that we thought we cured. And we’re proud of that rash! We like that rash. The rash is who we are. We had to itch it."

In the same interview, Tyler recalled: "I remember when I locked into the writing of [the song], it just flowed; it was scary how easy that song was for me to write, and it was because I knew I was coming from a place, and I was in a realm that I had spent a lot of time in before. And I was comfortable there; I was familiar with my surroundings. And that's why it was such an easy song to write." He also stated that, although the band is evolving and maturing, he doesn't need to not look back to his old writing styles previously established on pre-Blurryface albums, such as Twenty One Pilots, Regional at Best and Vessel. "I think "Choker" is the beginning of me being okay with the entire body of work, and feeling like I don't have to steer away from some things that people would consider from our older records."[1]

Composition

Tyler told Apple Music that the term "choking" comes from a basketball background and its meaning is "standing at the free-throw line and you need to make one of those two, and if you miss them both, you choked." About the song, he added, "I think for me, with certain friendships and relationships, there were moments that I could have risen to the occasion and I didn't, and that's something that I'll have to live with. I think that everyone has those moments where they feel like they choked. The song is trying to work that through and trying to figure out if that's someone that I was born to be. Can I shape this? Is this something I can turn around?"[2]

Official Video

On April 29, 2021, the official video was posted to the Twenty One Pilots' YouTube channel, and premiered on April 30 at 12 a.m. Eastern Time, 30 minutes following a release event on the Livestream Experience website.

The video was taken at Big Fun Columbus, a vintage toy store in Columbus, Ohio, where it closed from Monday, April 19, to Wednesday, April 21, 2021, for the video's production.[3]

Lyric Video

Official Audio

Lyrics

Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm
Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm

I don't bother anyone
Nervous when I stand
Chokin' on the circumstance
Only smokin' secondhand (Mm-mm)
Cut us open, spread us out (Mm-mm)
Dry us in the sand (Mm-mm)
Lay the fibers side by side (Mm-mm)
And you'll begin to understand (Mm-mm)

I know it's over
I was born a choker
Nobody's comin' for me
Comin' for me

Mm-mm (I know it's over)
Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm

I don't bother anyone
Never make demands
Chokin' on the circumstance
Self-sabotage is a sweet romance (Mm-mm)
Seems like all I'm worth is what I'm able to withstand (Mm-mm)
Sooner I can realize that pain is just a middleman

I know it's over
I was born a choker
Nobody's comin' for me

I see no volunteers to cosign on my fears
I'll sign on the line
Alone, you're gonna change my circumstance
I know I need to move right now

'Cause I know it's over
I was born a choker
Nobody's comin' for me (Only smokin' secondhand)
I know it's over
I was born a choker
Nobody's comin' for me
Comin' for me

Like a little splinter buried in your skin
Someone else can carve it out but when you've got the pin
It hurts a little less and you can even push it further in
When your body's screamin' out, trust your mind's listenin'
Like a silhouette that you can barely see
As a shadow cast upon the ground where you'll eventually
Lay forever, but the day goes on, the sun moves behind you
You get taller, bolder, stronger and the rearview only blinds you

Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm

References

Twenty One Pilots
About Twenty One PilotsTyler JosephJosh Dun
Studio albums Twenty One PilotsRegional at BestVesselBlurryfaceTrenchScaled and Icy
EPs Three SongsMigraine (EP)Holding on to You (EP)Quiet Is ViolentThe LC LPDouble SidedTOPxMMTrench 10" Triplet EPLocation Sessions
Live albums Blurryface LiveScaled and Icy (Livestream Version)
Singles Holding on to YouGuns for HandsLovelyHouse of GoldFake You OutCar RadioFairly LocalTear in My HeartStressed OutLane BoyRideHeathensHeavydirtysoulCancerJumpsuitNico and the NinersLevitateMy BloodChlorineThe HypeLevel of ConcernChristmas Saves the YearShy AwayChokerSaturday
Tours Mostly November TourBlurryface World TourEmotional Roadshow World TourTour De ColumbusThe Bandito TourTakeover TourThe Icy Tour
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