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Shy Away is a song by Twenty One Pilots from the sixth studio album, Scaled and Icy. It is the third track on the album and was released as the lead single on April 7, 2021.

On June 6, 2021, a live version of the song from the Livestream Experience was released on streaming services under the title "Shy Away (Livestream Version)".

Background and recording

The song was written by Tyler Joseph and mainly produced on his home studio as a form of tutorial for his younger brother, Jay Joseph, on how to operate all stages of a song during the recording process (writing, composing, producing). Tyler also explored elements on the electric guitar for the song, which was a barely used instrument by him, previously first used on "Level of Concern". When Tyler was first working on the voice memo of the song, his one year daughter, Rosie Joseph, made a cooing noise in the background, which Joseph decided to keep in the very beginning of the track, for loving her being a part of the creative process in some way.[1][2]

The song was created while communicating virtually as the COVID-19 pandemic limited interaction between the band members. Specifically, this was the first time Josh Dun recorded his drums takes all on his own, with no sound engineers to help him or any studio assistance.[3]

Composition

The song was described by Rolling Stone as "a propulsive synth-pop sound that still features a few alt-rock tricks". It was also compared to indie and alternative rock bands like the Strokes and Phoenix, for its "retro aesthetic".[4][5]

In an interview for BBC Radio 1, Tyler told the song's lyrics "talk about being an older brother and how, the only thing tougher than trying to figure out what your own purpose is, is watching someone whom you love trying to figure out their purpose. [...] Trying to just give that person that boost of encouragement and pushing them forward."[6]

Official Video

The official video for "Shy Away" was released alongside the single. It was directed by Miles Cable and AJ Favicchio.[7] The video was shot ten days before its release, on March 29, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.[8] The visual effects of the virtual worlds and the sets were handled by filmmaker Sam Wickert.[9]

It showcases the duo performing the song. In the video, a few background musicians wear ski masks, a reference to the stylings of their earlier albums Vessel and Blurryface.[10] Trash the Dragon also appears flying above them. The opening scene was "heavily inspired by the 2000's pop punk era, from lens we used, to set design." The intention was to put the viewer into the world created on the video before revealing what was to come.[11]

Lyric Video

Official Audio

Livestream Version

Lyrics

When I get home
You better not be there
We're placin' bets you won't
Shed your modesty
And the only thing to leave behind
Is your own skin on the floor

Don't you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Manifest a ceiling
When you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Searchin' for that feelin'
Just like an "I love you" (Ooh, ooh)
That isn't words (Ooh, ooh)
Like a song he wrote, that's never heard (Ah-ah-ah)
Don't you shh…

When you get home
You barely recognize the pictures
They put in a frame
'Cause you shed your modеsty
Don't circle the track
Take what you havе
And leave your skin on the floor

Don't you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Manifest a ceiling
When you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Searchin' for that feelin'
Just like an "I love you" (Ooh, ooh)
That isn't words (Ooh, ooh)
Like a song he wrote (Ah-ah-ah)
That's never heard

When I get home
Boy, you better not be there
You're long gone
Shed your modesty
Don't circle the track
Just break the cycle in half
And leave your skin on the floor

Don't you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Manifest a ceiling
When you shy away (Ah-ah-ah)
Searchin' for that feelin'
Just like an "I love you" (Ooh, ooh)
That isn't words (Ooh, ooh)
Like a song he wrote (Ah-ah-ah)
That's never heard

That's never heard (Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah)

An "I love you"
That isn't words
Like a song he wrote
That's never heard

Don't you shy away

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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