Behind The Lyrics: 'Neon Gravestones'

Behind The Lyrics: 'Neon Gravestones'

Trigger Warning: Mention of Suicide

In the song "Neon Gravestones" by Twenty One Pilots, the lyrics open a conversation about how we as a society view mental illness and suicide. The song directly pushes the listener to think from a new point of view and talks about how toxic societies mentality has become. In this article, I will explore the meaning behind the lyrics written by Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots.


Twenty One Pilots are notable for their songs that address mental health. On the album "Trench" by Twenty One Pilots, they have a rather deeper song called "Neon Gravestones". The song directly addresses the current view of mental health and suicide of celebrities. The songwriter, Tyler Joseph, uses the metaphor of "neon gravestones" to show how suicide and death are glorified. For a celebrity to commit suicide it grabs the public's attention, in which the same manner a neon sign would for people passing by. The overall message of the song is how Tyler feels pressure as a celebrity to take his life. Throughout the song, he talks about his frustration with the way society views suicide. At the end of the song, he hopes that we can change what we do celebrate. He says that the people who should be celebrated are the people of age in our lives that have stuck through the challenges of life and those who lived out life to the bitter end.

1. Verse 1

Credit: Wiki Media

"What's my problem?
Well, I want you to follow me down to the bottom
Underneath the insane asylum
Keep your wits about you while you got 'em
'Cause your wits are first to go while you're problem-solvin'
And my problem?
We glorify those even more when they...
My opinion, our culture can treat a loss like it's a win
And right before we turn on them
We give 'em the highest of praise
And hang their banner from the ceiling
Communicating, further engraving
An earlier grave is an optional way, no"

Tyler starts out the song introducing the listener to the dilemma he is faced with. He metaphorically has the listener step into his mind and metaphorically talks about what it is like to be in the headspace of someone dealing with mental illness when they are faced with thoughts and lose their wits. He continues to transition the conversation to how he is upset that our culture glorifies suicide of celebrities.

2. Chorus

"Neon gravestones try to call (Neon gravestones try to call)
Neon gravestones try to call for my bones (Neon gravestones try to call)
Call (For my bones)
Call, call, call (Call, call, call)
Call (Call)
Call (Call)"

They use the phrase "neon gravestones" as a metaphor to how suicide and death have been glamorized. As an artist, Tyler has felt the pressure of this glamorization. When you think of neon lights you think of something that is flashy and something that grabs peoples attention. This is how suicide has been glorified, it's flashy and when an actor or artist takes their life they get attention from it.

3. Verse 2

Credit: Wiki Media

"What's my problem?
Don't get it twisted
It's with the people we praise who may have assisted
I could use the streams and extra conversations
I could give up, and boost up my reputation
I could go out with a bang
They would know my name
They would host and post a celebration
My opinion will not be lenient
My opinion, it's real convenient
Our words are loud, but now I'm talking action
We don't get enough love?
Well, they get a fraction
They say, "How could he go if he's got everything?
I'll mourn for a kid, but won't cry for a king"

Tyler continues to talk about how celebrities have used suicide as a means to boost themselves. He continues to say that the excuse that celebrities don't get love or help is arguable, especially compared to others dealing with mental illness that don't have a platform or thousands of loving fans. In the end of the second verse, he states that he will not mourn the death of a celebrity that is using suicide as a way to promote themselves. However, he will mourn the death of someone that genuinely lost their battle to their mental illness or struggle.

4. Bridge 1

Credit: Instagram

"Promise me this (Call, call)
If I lose to myself
You won't mourn a day
And you'll move onto someone else
Promise me this
If I lose to myself
You won't mourn a day
And you'll move onto someone else
(Ooh, call, ooh, call)"

As mentioned in the second verse, Tyler has no remorse for celebrities that take their lives. He believes they receive the most support and yet when they die people say they didn't get enough love. In the bridge, he directs the attention to himself and tells the listener that if he were to ever commit suicide that he doesn't want the attention.

5. Bridge 2

"'Cause they won't get them
No, they won't get them
They won't get them
But they won't get them"

In the second bridge, Tyler confesses that he will not allow the pressure and glamorization get to him. He refuses to take his own life for fame.

6. Verse 3

Credit: Instagram

"Don't get me wrong, the rise in awareness
Is beating a stigma that no longer scares us
But for sake of discussion, in spirit of fairness
Could we give this some room for a new point of view?
And could it be true that some could be tempted
To use this mistake as a form of aggression?
A form of succession?
A form of a weapon?
Thinking "I'll teach them"
Well, I'm refusing the lesson
It won't resonate in our minds
I'm not disrespecting what was left behind
Just pleading that it does not get glorified
Maybe we swap out what it is that we hold so high
Find your grandparents or someone of age
Pay some respects for the path that they paved
To life, they were dedicated
Now, that should be celebrated"

Tyler breaks away from his rant to remind the audience that he is glad that there is no longer a stigma around mental health but he also believes that we glorify suicide too much. Some even use suicide as a way to manipulate others or "teach them a lesson". He breaks his train of thought to say that he is not trying to disrespect those how have taken their lives, he just wishes that suicide wasn't glorified or used as a weapon. He closes the song out suggesting that instead of glorifying those who have taken their lives, we should glorify those who fought till the bitter end. Instead of celebrating death we should celebrate the dedication to life those people have.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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