Clear

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Clear
Song by Twenty One Pilots from the album Regional at Best
ReleasedJuly 8, 2011
FormatDigital
Length4:39
KeyB major
ComposerTwenty One Pilots
LyricistTyler Joseph
WriterTyler Joseph
ProducerTyler Joseph, Josh Dun
LabelSelf-released
Stream / Buy
Twenty One Pilots track listing
  1. Guns For Hands
  2. Holding On To You
  3. Ode To Sleep
  4. Slowtown
  5. Car Radio
  6. Forest
  7. Glowing Eyes
  8. Kitchen Sink
  9. Anathema
  10. Lovely
  11. Ruby
  12. Trees
  13. Be Concerned
  14. Clear
  15. House Of Gold (Newsletter Edition)
  16. Two (Newsletter Edition)

Clear is the 14th track on the album, Regional at Best

Background

The first verse is about judgement from others, and about trying to figure out how to go about presenting the message he wants to show. Does he come out and yell it on a street corner and be obvious (and maybe not listened to) or is better to be clever, and “mask your words” - presenting the message (God’s words?) in a way that’s much more subtle, which is basically what he does most of the time. Clear is the most explicit of his songs with the "hey, I’m writing Christian things here, it's up to you what you do with them” message, actually, and the first two lines discuss the two approaches. The next couple lines talk about the fact that if he is understood to be presenting Christianity, and people find out what he did last night (whether it's sin or doubt or self harm) people will attack God and the message due to his failing to live up to the Christian ideal of perfection (which sane people realize isn’t possible in this life, but a lot of people still expect). Is he actually going to make it worse if he tries to talk about God to people, and they see his imperfections? Will they class him as a hypocritical Christian and judge God based on him?

I'm the son of all I've done,
Impostor, Been fostered, Then my new father drained my dirty blood.

Redemption metaphor. In Christianity, it is a believe that Christians are adopted by God and become sons/daughters of God (as father) and brothers/sisters of Christ and each other. So when Tyler sings about “want[ing] to be a better brother better son” that's what he’s referencing. His past is what's made him what he is, the "son of all I’ve done", but his new father (God) drained his dirty blood (past, sin) and gave him health and life. Blood as redemptive metaphors are all through the Bible.

I'm not trying to be lying to you,
But it takes a clever guy to do what I do,
It takes some chivalry and well placed energy,
To subliminally get yourself inside you,
Introspection is the name of this session,
Spread this infection, reflect it on the next one,
The next one, the next one, and when we're done,
We'll all have made something new under the sun,

This is as obvious as Tyler gets at telling us what he's up to. He's trying to get us to think about things, to be introspective, and that introspection spreads. And the “we’ll all have made something new under the sun” is a cheeky Ecclesiastes reference. Ecclesiastes is a book of the Bible which is very poetic and talks about the meaning of life...or it’s lack thereof! Here's the first few lines, which the quote is playing with:

“Vanity [or meaningless, or futility] of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
**And there is nothing new under the sun.**
Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.

See what he did there? :D

I'm not done, I'm not done yet, no,
Kick me off the stage and take my microphone,
Then you'll walk up to me and when you get close,
I'll look you in the face and say, Where's your home?
Where are you going and why are you here?
Have you asked these questions? Have you been sincere?
Want to know what I believe, it's right here,
Dig a little deeper and it's crystal clear.

Basically, when he's done singing, these are the questions. What’s your purpose? Why are you here? Where's your home? He’s trying to get people to ask those questions of themselves. And he’s got answers, if you’re willing to hear them.

Also, the end verse can be interpreted in two ways as well.

I will tell you what I can, But your mind will take a stand, I sing of a greater love, Let me know when you've had enough. He wants to spread his beliefs that have helped him so much to others that may be resistant to them. But the real question is, what are his beliefs at this point? Has he gone back to placing his faith entirely in God, or has he decided that you have to find your own meaning? The "greater love" does seem to point to God, but it could also point to self-love, self-acceptance, finding your own purpose, etc.

This is him using an old teaching technique. If you ask people questions, they start to think, and they start to find the answers for themselves. He doesn't want to come out and tell them what to believe, but he wants people to start thinking about the important questions in life, and maybe they'll come to the same conclusions as him. His beliefs here are the greater love. This is another reference: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” - John 15:13, it’s Jesus talking here…and what did He do? Another verse talking about that same love is here: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” - 1 John 3:16. “Dig a little deeper and it's crystal clear”, indeed.

Versions

Studio

Title Releas Length Recorded Released Notes
Clear Regional at Best 4:39 2010-2011 8 July 2011

Live

Clear does not have any existing recordings of being played live. Fans who have gone to old concerts have claimed it has been performed, though there is currently no known proof.

Lyrics

Lyrics

Album version
[Verse 1]

I wish that I had two faces

To prove which theory works

Yelling on the street corner

Or cleverly maskin' your words

I take my face off at the door

'Cause I don't know who they will take me for

I wonder, if I tell 'em what I did last night

Whether or not I got caught, they just might

Wage war on you, therefore it's true

That I shot my general on my side of enemy lines

[Chorus]

I'm the son of all I've done

I'm the son of all I've done

Impostor, been fostered

Then my new father drained my dirty blood

I'm the son of all I've done

I'm the son of all I've done

Impostor, been fostered

Then my new father drained my dirty blood

[Post-Chorus]

Oh-ah, oh, oh, oh

[Verse 2]

I'm not trying to be lying to you

But it takes a clever guy to do what I do

It takes some chivalry and well-placed energy

To subliminally get yourself inside you

Introspection is the name of this session

Spread this infection, reflect it on the next one

The next one, the next one

And when we're done

We'll all have made something new under the sun

I'm not done, I'm not done yet, no

Kick me off the stage and take my microphone

Then you'll walk up to me and when you get close

I'll look you in the face and say, "Where's your home?

Where're you going and why're you here?"

Have you asked these questions? Have you been sincere?

Wanna know what I believe? It's right here

Dig a little deeper and it's crystal clear, clear, clear, clear

[Chorus]

I'm the son of all I've done

I'm the son of all I've done

Impostor, been fostered

Then my new father drained my dirty blood

I'm the son of all I've done

I'm the son of all I've done

Impostor, been fostered

Then my new father drained my dirty blood

[Outro]

Oh, oh

I will tell you what I can

But your mind will take a stand

I sing of a Greater Love

Let me know when you've had enough

I will tell you what I can

But your mind will take a stand

I sing of a Greater Love

Let me know when you've had enough

I will tell you what I can

But your mind will take a stand

I sing of a Greater Love

Let me know when you've had enough

Lyrics meaning

Lyrics
“Clear” is a song that stays true to its title and throws ambiguity out the window, which directly contrasts twenty one pilots' general nature. Religious allusions become painfully obvious references as if the writer became weary of fans questioning how religiously oriented his messages are. Tyler boldly proclaims his salvation, as well as explains why he didn’t before, and why he is now.

Unlike most of the songs on Regional at Best, “Clear” didn’t make the cut for the remastered 2013 release, Vessel. Lyrically and vocally, however, this song is just as dynamic as most of the tracks that did make the cut to Vessel.

Musically, it combines electronic psychedelic rock with interestingly placed and well-composed string sections. “Clear” evolves through multiple sections that almost sound like separate songs, but drummer Josh Dun drives it forward and ties it all up with some very creative percussive techniques. [2]

all meanings of the lyrics are taken from the Genius website

Sources

[1] https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858875299/

[2] https://genius.com/Twenty-one-pilots-clear-lyrics

Twenty One Pilots
Members Tyler JosephJosh Dun
Former Members Chris SalihNick Thomas
Albums Twenty One PilotsRegional at BestVesselBlurryfaceTrenchScaled and IcyClancy
EPs Johnny Boy (EP)Live At UG Studios • Three SongsSpotify SessionsHolding on to You (EP)Quiet Is Viølent

The LC LPDouble-SidedTOPxMMTrench 10" TripletLocation Sessions

Live releases Blurryface LiveScaled and Icy (Livestream Version)
Singles Holding on to YouGuns For HandsLovelyHouse Of GoldFake You OutCar Radio

Fairly LocalTear In My HeartStressed OutLane BoyRideHeathensHeavydirtysoul CancerJumpsuitNico And The NinersLevitateMy BloodChlorineThe Hype Level Of ConcernChristmas Saves The YearShy AwayChokerSaturdayThe OutsideOvercompensateNext SemesterBackslideThe Craving (single version)

Tours Local ShowsTwenty One Pilots TourRegional at Best TourMostly November TourBlurryface World Tour

Emotional Roadshow World TourTour De ColumbusThe Bandito TourTakeover TourThe Icy Tour

List of Twenty One Pilots songsList Twenty One Pilots music videos