The air begins to feel a little thin
As I start the car and then I begin
To add the miles piled up behind me
I barely feel a smile deep inside me

And I begin to envy the headlights driving south
I want to crack the door so I can just fall out
But then I remember when you packed my car
You reached in the back and buckled up your heart
For me to drive away with
I began to understand why God died

The demon sat there waiting on her porch
It was a little dark so he held a makeshift torch
And when my car was far out of sight
He crept in her room and stayed there for the night

And then I felt chills in my bones
The breath I saw was not my own
I knew my skin that wrapped my frame
Wasn't made to play this game

And then I saw him, torch in hand
He laid it out, what he had planned
And then I said, I'll take the grave
Please, just send them all my way

I began to understand
Why God died

The air begins to feel a little thin
As we're waiting for the morning to begin
But for now you told me to hold this jar
And when I looked inside, I saw
It held your heart

For me to walk away with
I began to understand
Why God died


A Car, a Torch, a Death song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +9
    My Interpretation21P are not always straight-forward with the meaning in their songs, which I think is purposefully done so the audience can form their own understanding of it based on personal experience. What I took from it is that this is a song about a man that is romantically involved with a woman whom lives very far away, and she feels dangerously unhappy when he is not around (when he's driving away from her house, he want to go back because he knows she will fall apart in the absence of his presence, hence the "I begin to envy the headlights driving South. I want to crack the door so I can just fall out.") When he "understands why God died" and "takes the grave, sending her demons his way," he is saying he will attempt to mend her, but knows that this will cause conflict and pain upon himself, which is a great sacrifice. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son that all who believed on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This is along the same lines of. I think the lines "And when my car was far out of sight, he (the demons) crept in her room and stayed there for the night" mean that every time he leaves her she is hit with a depression and severe sadness, and when he says "He layed it out, what he had planned," he is saying that they both know that she will go into a deep sadness when he leaves. The beginning and end, from "The air begins to feel a little thin" to "I began to understand why God died" are saying that she gave him her all, but in doing so, it pains her to be without him. He is reassured by her love but is saddened by her sorrow.
    AshChristianon April 05, 2014   Link
  • +8
    General CommentWhen I really listen to this song as I have many a time, and knowing top I really don't think its about a girlfriend at all. Tyler said in one of his recent interviews that Tear In My Heart was the first song he wrote about a girl because they were married and he knew that it was forever. Of course this is my own opinion but I believe this song to be about a mother or a sister, not necessarily his but a mother or sister. Artists a lot of the time draw from their own experiences but sometimes they will write about something that actually has never happened to them. When I imagine it I think of a mother so I'm going to use that. I think the mother is sick and she tells him its okay to leave her so he goes home reluctantly, wishing he could be back there to take care of her. She gave him her heart to take with him. When he says "the demon stood there waiting on her porch" the demon is the grim reaper symbolizing death. The song is called a car, a torch, a death. When he drives away for the night death swoops in, starting to take her. He feels chills in his bones. When he sees her and her life is nearing its end (because Tyler is actually religious) he sees God with a torch to guide the way for his mother and Tyler sees what he has planned then he tells God he'll "take the grave" as in take her place and die for her as Christians believe Jesus died for us. "Please just send them all my way" refers to her demons. He would rather take them then her hsvig to face them all. "I began to understand why God died" means he knows what its like to love unconditionally and so deeply for someone you would take all their pain and burdens and put it on yourself even if it means your life. His mother is very very near death and it's almost morning. Before she dies she gives him her heart to keep.

    Anyways that is my own personal interpretation and the beautiful thing about music is there are endless possibilities to how to interpret music and its unique to every one of us. I just wanted to share why this song is special for me.
    baileyboo8597on June 02, 2015   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningI haven't completely figured out the meaning to this song yet, but I have a strong feeling it has absolutely nothing to do with a girl or a romantic relationship. Knowing that these guys are Christians changes my original interpretation.

    "The air begins to feel a little thin
    As I start the car and then I begin
    To add the miles piled up behind me
    I barely feel a smile deep inside me"

    Starting the car is starting his new life as a Christian who is now accountable for his actions. He's realizing that he is now an adult and is accountable for his actions to God and is adding up all the sins he's accumulated in his past, "the miles piled behind me" and when he thinks about all he's done against God he's not feeling too good about it which is why he "barely feels s smile deep inside."

    "And I begin to envy the headlights driving south
    I want to crack the door so I can just fall out
    But then I remember when you packed my car
    You reached in the back and buckled up your heart"

    The headlights driving south are the majority of people heading "south" , south being a metaphor for Hell. Living a Christian life is difficult, especially if your a rock star, he's finding himself being envious of those around him enjoying the pleasures of sin. He's almost ready to succumb to sinful desire when he says "I want to crack the door so I can just fall out." But then he remembers who he is in Christ and that when he made his commitment Jesus came into his heart when he says "But then I remembered when you packed my car." His transformation to Christianity was true and Jesus has taken over his heart, and thus the line "You reached in the back and buckled up your heart. For me to drive away with." He now understands why Jesus died for his sins when he says "I began to understand why God died."


    "The demon sat there waiting on her porch
    It was a little dark so he held a makeshift torch
    And when my car was far out of sight
    He crept in her room and stayed there for the night"

    This is where it gets a little trickier to interpret but I believe when he says "The demon sat there waiting on her porch" he is referring to Satan constantly waiting just outside to creep into our lives at any moment. Even when deep down what we want to do we know is sinful or "dark" Satan has a way of convincing us that it's actually a good thing but convincing us with a false sense of "goodness" which is the makeshift torch. Remember the car, his life, has been packed with the heart of Jesus buckled in back. He let his guard down when he says "when my car was far out of sight" which allowed Satan creep in a stay a while.

    "And then I felt chills in my bones
    The breath I saw was not my own"

    He succumbs to sin and realizes that he's been deceived and that what he's doing is not really who he is in Christ, his own breath is not his own but Satan's influence over him.

    "I knew my skin that wrapped my frame
    Wasn't made to play this game
    And then I saw Him, torch in hand"

    He realizes he can't play this sinful game and still be a Christian, he's not made to live in this sin, he sees that Satan deceived him with the makeshift torch of false goodness.

    "He laid it out, what he had planned
    And then I said, I'll take the grave
    Please, just send them all my way"

    Satan reveals what he has planned with the pleasures that he can have in this world continuing to live a life of sin, but he finds his strength in Christ and says he will take death before he chooses a life that denies Christ and basically tells Satan to "bring it on" because he's found his faith again.

    "The air begins to feel a little thin
    As we're waiting for the morning to begin
    But for now you told me to hold this jar
    And when I looked inside, I saw
    It held your heart, for me to walk away with"

    Even though the car previously drove away when he let his guard down, Christ continually renews the Christian reminding him that the heart of Christ is still with him and cannot ever be taken away from the truly saved.

    "I began to understand
    Why God died"

    He's understanding more and more the necessity of why Christ had to die on the cross.

    Of course the song was written in a way that will allow the masses to have multiple interpretations but only someone familiar with true Christian theology will get the meaning that the author had in mind for himself when he wrote the song.
    robertgxlon June 01, 2016   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI see this as him leaving a loved one for the last time as they are in the final stages of dying or just passed. Once on the road he is overcome with grief and considers killing himself, but then sees god. God explains that he has a plan for everyone and the death was part of it. The narrator asks god to take him instead, which is why "he understands why God died."
    qewlon July 30, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTwenty one pilots songs in theory have no meaning, They do not want them to have on meaning. They want every person to take what they take and what they need from their music. So 1,000,000,000+ people could comment on what this is supposed to mean and technically they would all be correct.

    as tyler says himself "because a kitchen sink to you is not a kitchen sink to me, ok friend?"
    1065136864on August 02, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is clearly religious in a sense, I also think it was one of the very few romantically related songs by Twenty One Pilots.

    I think it's about a girlfriend/wife cheating on her boyfriend/husband and the pain it caused for the boyfriend/husband. (I'll try to keep my religious views out of this) Biblical text references that God died because he loved the world. In this situation, the boyfriend/husband understands that because he loves his girlfriend/wife and that's why he wishes for death.

    Personal interpretation, just my opinion. That is all.
    WinstonChurchon November 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation21P are not always straight-forward with the meaning in their songs, which I think is purposefully done so the audience can form their own understanding of it based on personal experience. What I took from it is that this is a song about a man that is romantically involved with a woman whom lives very far away, and she feels dangerously unhappy when he is not around (when he's driving away from her house, he want to go back because he knows she will fall apart in the absence of his presence, hence the "I begin to envy the headlights driving South. I want to crack the door so I can just fall out.") When he "understands why God died" and "takes the grave, sending her demons his way," he is saying he will attempt to mend her, but knows that this will cause conflict and pain upon himself, which is a great sacrifice. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son that all who believed on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." This is along the same lines of. I think the lines "And when my car was far out of sight, he (the demons) crept in her room and stayed there for the night" mean that every time he leaves her she is hit with a depression and severe sadness, and when he says "He layed it out, what he had planned," he is saying that they both know that she will go into a deep sadness when he leaves. The beginning and end, from "The air begins to feel a little thin" to "I began to understand why God died" are saying that she gave him her all, but in doing so, it pains her to be without him. He is reassured by her love but is saddened by her sorrow.
    AshChristianon April 05, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationTo understand this song it takes a little understanding of Christian theology. Tyler says he understands why God died. In Christian theology Jesus, who is also God, died to save us from sin.

    In this song the main character is worried about a woman he cares about.
    "I begin to envy the headlights driving south
    I want to crack the door so I can just fall out
    But then I remember when you packed my car
    You reached in the back and buckled up your heart"

    It hurts her when he's gone and her personal struggles grow worse.
    "And when my car was far out of sight
    He crept in her room and stayed there for the night"

    He cares for her so much that he would sacrifice himself to heal her hurts. This is why he knows why God died. He understands the pain of watching someone you care about suffer and therefore understands sacrificing for them.
    "And then I said, I'll take the grave, please, just send them all my way"
    JIASnake20on September 29, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is really great. I think you are awesome singer. rickydiabetesdestroyed.com/…
    dukotoquon October 21, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationMy interpretation of this song is that it's about his mom.
    I think it's about when he moves out and he finally feels free from everything. He's struggling with the desire to kill himself but then he remembers that even though he's moved out and away, his mom still loves him. He realizes that if he killed himself then he would take his mom's life as well.
    I haven't heard Tyler say it, but based on a lot of their lyrics, it seems to me that he was raised in a Christian family but he's struggled with his faith. In this song he says he finally understands why God died. I think he means that he understands because his mom has to give him up (her son) when she lets him move out but she knows it's for the best. God had to sacrifice His son because he knew it was for the best.
    Tyler's songs aren't always very straight forward so I could be totally wrong but that's just my interpretation. (: AMAZING song though.
    Lindsaydaveyon January 16, 2014   Link

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