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Meaning of ‘Backslide’ by ‘Twenty One Pilots’

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Released: 2024

“Backslide” by Twenty One Pilots is a raw and reflective ballad dealing with the struggles of falling back into old habits and mental patterns, and navigating turbulent emotions. The track underscores the paradox of wanting to move forward, but feeling constantly pulled backward by invisible strings.

Starting with mentions of a “Rat race” and “Tendencies on repeat”, the lyrics seem to suggest the vicious cycle of the modern world that we find ourselves stuck in – one characterized by monotonous routines and repetitive behaviors. The line “Benefit from a shoe with no lace” posits the idea that autonomy—symbolized here by unlaced shoes—provides some sort of advantage or escape.

“I don’t mind if it’s lonely… I don’t care you control me” revisits the theme of submission and acceptance of less-than-ideal circumstances, expressing a sort of resignation to a pervasive sense of loneliness and manipulation. This theme continues in the repeated phrase “I don’t wanna backslide”, a blunt admission of the fear of reverting to previous negative states, whether emotional, mental, or situational.

The line “‘Cause I feel the pull, water’s over my head” portrays a sense of being overwhelmed, as if drowning in the challenges of life. The singer is looking for the strength to endure and wants help, represented by the line “I’ll take anything you have if you could throw me a line.” It’s a desperate cry for support, a survival instinct kicking in.

Through “I should’ve loved you better”, the lyrics hint towards regret over actions or emotions towards others, reinforcing the introspective nature of the song.

The mention of “a hundred-dollar bass” and the song “Saturday” could possibly be a reference to past successes, and the ensuing pressure and expectations brought on by them. The lines “Did you solve all your problems?… Accidentally uncovered a new one yesterday” illustrates the inevitability of encountering new hardships just as old ones are resolved. It’s the human condition in lyrical form.

In summary, “Backslide” by Twenty One Pilots is a masterclass in emotional renditions, with potent lyrics that highlight the struggle of trying to keep oneself afloat amid the tumultuous sea of life’s trials and tribulations. It’s a testament to the human spirit – broken, yet relentlessly enduring.

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