I wake up fine and dandy
But then by the time I find it handy
To rip my heart apart and start
Planning my crash landing
I go up, up, up, up, up to the ceiling
Then I feel my soul start leaving
Like an old man's hair receding

I'm pleading, "Please, oh please!"
On my knees repeatedly asking
Why it's got to be like this
Is this living free?
I don't wanna be the one
To have the son's blood on my hands
I'll tell the moon
Take this weapon, forged in darkness
Some see a pen, I see harpoon

I'll stay awake
'Cause the dark's not taking prisoners tonight

Why am I not scared in the morning?
I don't hear those voices calling
I must have kicked them out
I must have kicked them out

I swear I heard demons yelling
Those crazy words they were spelling
They told me I was gone
They told me I was gone

But I tell 'em
Why won't you let me go
Do I threaten all your plans?
I'm insignificant

Please tell 'em
You have no plans for me
I will set my soul on fire
What have I become?
I'll tell 'em

On the eve of a day that's forgotten and fake
As the trees, they await, and clouds anticipate
The start of a day when we put on our face
A mask that portrays that we don't need grace
On the eve of a day that is bigger than us
But we open our eyes, 'cause we're told that we must
And the trees wave their arms and the clouds try to plead
Desperately yelling, "There's something we need!"
I'm not free, I asked forgiveness three times
Same amount that I denied, I three-time MVP'd this crime
I'm afraid to tell you who I adore
Won't tell you who I'm singing towards
Metaphorically, I'm a whore, and that's denial number four

I'll stay awake
'Cause the dark's not taking prisoners tonight

Why am I not scared in the morning?
I don't hear those voices calling
I must have kicked them out
I must have kicked them out

I swear I heard demons yelling
Those crazy words they were spelling
They told me I was gone
They told me I was gone

But I'll tell 'em
Why won't you let me go?
Do I threaten all your plans?
I'm insignificant

Please tell 'em
You have no plans for me
I will set my soul on fire
What have I become?

I'll tell them
You have no plans for me
I will set my soul on fire
What have I become?

I'll tell them
I'll tell them
I'll tell them
I'll tell them

Please tell them
You have no plans for me
I will set my soul on fire
What have I become?

I'm sorry.


Lyrics submitted by bookhouseboy23, edited by Skoobasteve24, djmojo21

Ode to Sleep song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    My InterpretationOK, so I heard Tyler say in an interview that this song IS Twenty One Pilots. That it summarizes who they are. I thought… hmm… really? And after looking at they lyrics, I'm going to take a guess at why he said that...

    As anyone who knows their lyrics has figured out, Tyler has been tormented by negative thoughts and even thoughts of suicide. In Christian imagery, and several of their songs, these "evil thoughts" are represented by demons (whether you believe them to be true demons or just psychological attacks from a darkness within). And in Christian belief, demons attack those that they see as a threat.

    This song is basically saying - hey, maybe Tyler is being attacked because he is a threat - because he has the capacity/means to be an instrument of good (through his pen / the band's music). There's a purpose for him on this earth.

    And in the song, he's crying out to a higher power (God) saying, "Aaaah!! Why? I don't want this on my shoulders! I don't want this purpose! I don't want this pen! Tell the demons you have no plans for me! I don't want to do this! This isn't the freedom you promised!"

    And in the end, he tells God that he's "sorry." He realizes the plans that God has for him, to be a mouthpiece of hope - to encourage young people to think, and to survive, and to live. And that's why this song is so important to Twenty One Pilots.

    (And as others have said, the three denials (echoing the story of Peter) and the fourth denial about "not telling" whom he's singing toward (God/higher power) is something with which he struggles. He doesn't want to sing and write songs and perform for money and fame ("whore") - he wants to fulfill his purpose.)

    That's my interpretation. Not sure I got it right, but if I'm even close (and I think I am), then it's just another reason to love this band.
    Moonbeam86on August 18, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song seems to be the basic cry of an insomniac. It beautifully portrays the intense struggle one finds himself in once he lies down for sleep. You start to think about everything that has gone wrong, but most of all the wrongs you caused. Mind racing and "demons yelling", one also finds himself in the perfect position to write, as there is rarely another time when an insomniac's mind will bring forth as much information as when said person is attempting to sleep. However, once the writing begins, it is hard to stop in time to get the amount of sleep you were aiming for, therefore placing anxiety on the fulfillment of priorities, such as work. It is at this moment that the decision is made to stay awake. The "dark" can't take prisoners that don't sleep.
    pacman212on July 04, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about a mans struggles as a follower of God to trust in his forgiveness.

    "I'm afraid to tell you who I adore
    Won't tell you who I'm singing towards
    Metaphorically, I'm a whore, and that's denial number four"

    This line he is saying that he is afraid to tell people that he believes in God, and that his lyrics are directed towards Him. By whore it is ment currupt and he is currupt and a hyporcrite by not singing what he believes. Which makes denial number for, anothe denail as related to the 3 denials of Peter in the bible.
    JtWalkInForthon March 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationhe's talking about his faith in god and trying escape his sinful life {the voices tell him to sin)
    recklessson June 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"Ode to Sleep" is one of my favorite songs lyrically from twenty one pilots (who happens to be my favorite band of the last decade) and admittedly one of the most difficult to interpret. The song is deeper that what most believe. I think the following is pretty close, but I'm sure I may have missed some nuances or gotten it wrong in some places.

    The lyrical genius of Tyler Joseph portrays a torrid struggle between voices of darkness and the songwriter's struggle to overcome the darkness. The song is girded in spirituality and the voices that are attempting to overcome his mind are in fact demons or even Satan. The song also happens to be all over the map musically, which I feel adds to this struggle and to the song's uniqueness.

    "I wake up fine and dandy
    But then by the time I find it handy
    To rip my heart apart and start
    Planning my crash landing
    I go up to the ceiling
    Then I feel my soul start leaving
    Like an old man's hair receding"

    He starts his days well, but inevitably as his day progresses he begins on a self-destructive path toward hopelessness, giving up, and perhaps taking his life. Later lyrics seem to indicated he may also be struggling with guilt over his hypocritical thoughts and actions that betray his faith and beliefs [in God and Christ] but more on this later. However, just as he's "planning [his] crash landing" - taking himself out - he is brought "up to the ceiling" and "feels his soul start leaving" as God brings him back into a healthier state of mind. I'll admit I am somewhat unsure of the meaning of this verse, but I think my interpretation fits well with the struggle portrayed by the rest of the song.

    "I'm pleading, "Please, oh please!"
    On my knees repeatedly asking
    Why it's got to be like this
    Is this living free?
    I don't wanna be the one
    To have the sons blood on my hands"

    During this time with God as he reflects on his failure to live the way he wants to - the way God desires that he live - he pleads with God asking why he has to continue to struggle in his fight against hopelessness and sin and the forces that continue to seem to ensnare him and tell him to give up. "Is this living free?" Obviously not. Additionally, the songwriter does not want to be a hypocrite by continuing to sin and nail holes into the wrists of his Savior ("I don't wanna be the one to have the son's blood on my hands") and the son he is referring to is Christ, the son of God. Christ shed his blood to atone for the sins of man (or for those who believe depending on your theology). The songwriter is in turmoil because he knows he is hurting the his Savior and not living in the freedom that is meant for him.

    At this point, I believe the songwriter begins to transition into a new, more hopeful thought process. My favorite lyric in this song is "I'll stay awake 'cause the dark's not taking prisoners tonight." This phrase could have one of several meanings: he will choose to physically stay alive and not allow the enemy to take his life; he will choose to stay spiritually awake and vigilant in his struggle against what the evil voices are telling him to do, and thus not be taken prisoner; or perhaps he's simply referring to staying awake.

    "Why am I not scared in the morning?
    I don't hear those voices calling
    I must have kicked them out
    I must have kicked them out

    I swear I heard demons yelling
    Those crazy words they were spelling
    They told me I was gone
    They told me I was gone"

    At some point during the night, after his decision to "stay awake," the songwriter seems to have squelched the voices of the demons that were speaking "crazy words" into his brain, telling him he "was gone" - that it was hopeless, he was done for, and that he might as well give up (and perhaps take his life).

    "But I'll tell 'em
    Why won't you let me go
    Do I threaten all your plans?
    I'm insignificant"

    He inquires of the demons why they continue to torment him, as he sees himself as ultimately insignificant in the kingdom of God and that his life will not threaten the plans of the enemy (to lead people away from God). Why does he not see himself as a threat? Because following, during the bridge, he clearly states that his witness for God and Christ is nonexistent because he is afraid to tell others who he adores.

    "I'm not free, I asked forgiveness three times
    Same amount that I denied, I three-time MVP'd this crime
    I'm afraid to tell you who I adore
    Won't tell you who I'm singing towards
    Metaphorically, I'm a whore, and that's denial number four"

    This passage is clearly a reference to the three time denial of Christ by Peter in the New Testament of the Bible. The songwriter has denied Christ because, as I said before, he is afraid to tell others who he adores and who he's singing towards. The bridge also has some other great lines in it. "The start of a day when we put on our face a mask that portrays that we don't need grace" alludes our bad habit of pretending we're without fault (sin) and we don't need the undeserved favor of God. "On the eve of a day that is bigger than us" I believe means that our lives are not about us, but instead about how God uses us in His grand story. "And the trees wave their arms and the clouds try to plead desperately yelling, "There's something we need!" - Creation pleads with us that we need help - that we need a Savior from ourselves and from the lying voices of the enemy that tell us to give up.

    "Please tell 'em
    You have no plans for me
    I will set my soul on fire
    What have I become?"

    At this point, he even asks of God to tell Satan or the demons that he has no significance and that God has no plans for him in God's kingdom. This is clearly part of the demon's lies that the songwriter has been believing about himself. This is the turmoil. This is the struggle. I believe the lyrics "I will set my soul on fire" means he is so deep in despair that he desires to destroy his soul. In his hypocrisy and denials of God he asks "what have I become?"

    "I'm sorry"

    It's pretty clear here, if you buy into my interpretation of this song, the songwriter is apologizing to God.

    Part of the beauty and genius of Tyler's lyrics is that although they have a deep spiritual meaning (in this case Christian), they can also be interpreted in many different ways, making his heartfelt and honest lyrics that deal with real problems accessible to so many.

    |-/
    djmojo21on August 18, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've always felt like this song represents Tyler's mind at war (referenced in 'Migraine'). His mind is always tripping over itself, he is always thinking deeply, whether good or bad. He is a slave to himself, trapped by his inability to be mentally calm. And when once in a while when he is free, and when his mind has calmed he is lost and doesnt know what to do, "Why am I not scared in the morning?
    I don't hear those voices calling
    I must have kicked them out"
    This is my person interpretation, probably cause i feel the same as this, maybe its just a personal connection, but everyone interprets the lyrics different.
    atenae257on September 12, 2014   Link
  • -1
    My OpinionI'm pleading, "Please, oh please!"
    On my knees repeatedly asking
    Why it's got to be like this
    Is this living free?
    I don't wanna be the one
    To have the sons blood on my hands
    I'll tell the moon
    Take this weapon, forged in darkness
    Some see a pen, I see harpoon

    -This first verse pretty much sums up the song; Seems to me he is writing about the music industry and signing his soul away with the "harpoon". The rest of the song touches on his struggle with this - maybe he regrets it, or maybe he beat it... He is constantly battling the demons...Struggling to make it and get his songs out there and heard - fighting the industry and the simpleton sounds/beats and meaningless lyrics that are taking over today's music.

    But I tell 'em
    Why won't you let me go
    Do I threaten all your plans?
    I'm insignificant

    -This makes me think he beat them/or trying to at least... His lyrics and sounds are so unique/deep/meaningful and he is sticking to it, whether he gets beat down for it or not - He will not not conform to what the music industry wants/expects in today's sounds - so does he threaten them? Think about his Car Radio interview and live tapings where he says that he was not aware there were rules to song writing - Think about "Holding Onto You" Lean with it, rock with it,
    When we gonna stop with it,
    Lyrics that mean nothing, we were gifted with thought,
    Is it time to move our feet to an introspective beat,
    It ain't the speakers that bump hearts, it's our hearts that make the beat.

    Basically saying quit the bullshit beats and lyrics (Which the music industry pushes today)... Rather, let's use our gift of thought and talent.

    Please tell 'em
    You have no plans for me
    I will set my soul on fire
    What have I become?

    I'm thinking he is saying that he will set his soul on fire before before he signs it away with that weapon (pen/harpoon)... He would rather put his poem lyrics, meaningful and full-filling out there, than "sell out" and conform to what is "expected"... His soul to the "devil" (music industry...) isn't worth the riches/ fame and conformity to the dark side...
    kcgrizon April 21, 2014   Link

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