"Anathema" as written by and Tyler Joseph....
You will never know, what's behind my skull
So won't you say goodnight, so I can say goodbye

You will never know, what's under my hair
So won't you say goodnight, so I can say goodbye

You will never know, what's under my skin
So won't you say goodnight, so I can say goodbye

You will never know what is in my veins
So won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye

Won't you go to someone else's dreams
Won't you go to someone else's head
Haven't you taken enough from me
Won't you torture someone else's sleep?

And you will never know what I'm thinking of
So won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye

And you will never understand what I believe
So won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye

Haven't you taken enough from me
Won't you torture someone else's sleep?
Won't you go to someone else's dreams
Won't you go to someone else's head
Haven't you taken enough from me
Won't you torture someone else's sleep?

I start to part two halves of my heart in the dark and I
Don't know where I should go
And the tears and the fears begin to multiply
Taking time in a simple place
In my bed where my head rests on a pillowcase
And it's said that a war's lead but I forget
That I let another day go by
I want to be afraid but it seems that these days
I'm caught under water and I'm falling farther
My heart's getting harder, I'm calling my father
Am I screaming to an empty sky?
Empty sky, no way, that's me 'cause one half of my heart is free
Empty sky, no way, that's me 'cause the other half of my heart's asleep.


Lyrics submitted by emilyheartsrock, edited by EmoBunny4Lyfe, twentyoner

"Anathema" as written by Tyler Joseph

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Anathema song meanings
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  • +4
    My InterpretationSo, I think when you listen to most of twenty one pilots' songs what you take away from it and how you interpret it has almost fully to do with your own experiences and what's happening in your life.

    For this reason what I hear in this song is depression and suicide.
    Don't you ever just have that feeling that NO ONE knows you- at all. The whole day you're wearing another face but when you're alone you're YOU and no one really knows what you're like. Maybe no one knows you're depressed and that in itself can created a void of loneliness. That's what I think the first part of the song is about- that feeling that no one knows you or your thoughts. So won't they just "say goodnight" (leave you alone; stop caring/pretending to care) so you can "say goodbye" (kill yourself? It's quite morbid but I think plausible. Or maybe just leave- recede into your mind and not have to put on your every day face).

    Okay, then the part:
    "Won't you go to someone else's dreams,
    Won't you go to someone else's head,
    Haven't you taken enough from me,
    Won't you torture someone else's sleep?"
    To me this could be those horrible voices you get in your head that hate you and call you ugly and worthless and not good enough (your blurryface); the demons in your mind. It could also maybe be the people in your life that care about you. The worst thing about depression, to me, is all the people you hurt along the way. So you think about them the whole time and to an extent you feel like you can't really do anything to yourself because of them and in that way they've taken something from you ("Haven't you taken enough from me")

    I don't really know if any of my interpretations properly fit into each other but they're just the feeling I get so...

    Then the last part. I think it has deep religious... references? Firstly I think it's saying how when all your horrid thoughts start to get too much and you know you should get help from someone round about now, you don't know who to go to for help ("Don't know where I should go,
    When the tears and the fears begin to multiply,")
    So you're in bed and you start thinking and you realize you let another day go by without living or noticing or caring ("That I let another day go by,") and you can't make yourself seem to care about this ("I want to be afraid"). Then the song says "I'm caught under water and I'm falling farther,
    My heart's getting harder, I'm calling my father,"
    which I think is referring to what depression feels like- like your underwater and you can't really hear anyone and you are slowly drowning- and it's also expressing how the amount of caring you are doing is decreasing with each day ("what is the point?") and then you start asking for help from God but that isn't helping- it's not exactly like someone comes down to comfort you- and so you start questioning God and religion and all that which just leads you back to feeling hopeless, etc, etc.

    Then I honestly have no idea what the last lines mean to me.

    Haha
    MorbidWhisperon May 25, 2015   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis might be biased, as this song reminded me very deeply of one of the characters I've been writing recently.
    My character, in question, is an extremely sensitive and empathetic soul, who has a tendency to talk far too much. They've been struck with the realization that - well, no one cares, and no one gets it. No one cares, nor will ever care. No one gets /it/ - your state of mind, your reasoning, you - nor will never get it. This is what I believe the first few lines to mean, "You will never know what's behind my skull/You will never know what's under my hair...You will never know what I'm thinking of/You will never know what I believe..."

    "So won't you say goodnight,
    So I can say goodbye."
    As in, please stop pretending to care, so I no longer have to feel guilty about my suicidal thoughts.

    "Won't you torture someone else's sleep?"
    They have a tendency to relive past embarrassments, and failures. See, danisnotonfire's "Cringe Attack".

    "Haven't you taken enough from me?"
    They feel that they constantly put more into their relationships than the other person would ever bother to.

    "I start to part two halves of my heart in the dark and I,
    Don't know where I should go,
    When the tears and the fears begin to multiply,"
    This realization that they'll never have a strong connection with another human being, despite how much they wish for one, devolves into suffocating loneliness.
    "Empty sky, no way that's me 'cause one half of my heart is free,
    Empty sky, no way that's me 'cause the other half of my heart's asleep."
    One part of them feels free - being alone makes you free of judgement. There is no reason to feel obligated any longer. However, people are a very important aspect of life to them. They crave communication, attention, and unconditional love. No matter how hopeless it is, they can't stop the desire.

    ("I'm calling my father..." also seemed strangely on-target, since the character I was thinking of has daddy issues. Though, in all honesty, that line likely does reference God.)
    AnEnigmaon September 11, 2014   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI discovered this song one sleepless, schizophrenic, and depressing night (like the one I am currently in) and I (in a pretty biased way) interpret this as kind of a message to the demons or voices saying "GET OUT OF MY HEAD YOU EVIL THINGS SO I CAN STINKING SLEEP!!!". Like I said, probably biased and also quite literal.
    maddi11259on April 28, 2016   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationA lot of Tyler's songs deal with sleep/night time like ode to sleep, guns for hands and truce. I think this song is about those nights where he has too many worries and thoughts that keep him up at night.

    'You will never know what's behind my skull/You will never know what's under my hair/You will never know what's under my skin/You will never know what is in my veins' - I think this refers to how he is able to put on a facade during the day but when night comes he struggles to hide how he actually feels and deals with his anxieties and fears that he has avoided throughout the day.

    'I'm calling my father, Am I screaming to an empty sky?' He doesn't know who to turn to when he feels this bad and questions his faith as he tries to reach out to God.
    dreamemberon February 16, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWon't the demons say good night so I can say goodbye?
    Can't they just leave me alone?
    Won't you torture someone else's sleep?
    They don't know what I'm like; the One who created my head, skin, hair, veins, thoughts, and dreams is the only one who truly knows.
    So I decide to cut my heart in half.
    One half set against the demons, asleep as they try to torture me.
    The other half set on God as he fully fills the sky.
    Oliveiaon November 29, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the comments that this is about depression and talking to God, especially with the references to drowning and "calling my father".

    I just wanted to add that the last verse:
    "I start to part two halves of my heart in the dark and I....
    .... Empty sky, no way that's me 'cause the other half of my heart's asleep"
    was originally on the song Blasphemy, from No Phun Intended- an album Tyler wrote when he was younger (before twenty one pilots).
    PorcTreeon December 01, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"You will never know what's behind my skull/You will never know what's under my hair/You will never know what's under my skin/You will never know what is in my veins"

    The most offsetting thing about this to me is how he said behind my skull because if it wasn't for that one line, he could have been talking about any other place on the human body. So, I looked it up and apparently there is a connective tissue made of fat placed in between the skull and the skin ontop which fits perfectly to what/where Tyler is describing (blood vessels are in it, it's behind the skull, and it's beneath the hair and skin). I think he uses this part of the body because of it's metaphorical meaning: it not only connects what's inside (every thought, every feeling) to the outside (what we let be shown), but it also serves as a barrier or a psychological wall. It links yet seperates as though it's only purpose is to remind Tyler of how different he is on the outside compared to his inside. And the words he uses (torture, taken, etc.) made me think that Tyler is trying to get his demons out of his head, but avoid getting help. Like he wants to push it past the wall, but only so he wouldn't have to deal with it anymore even though it could hurt someone else (which makes me believe that the demons have made him lose his humanity and turn him into one of them which would explain why they are in his head). Also when he says "you will NEVER know" I think that one part of him wants to get help and the other part is ashamed of who he really is and how he actually feels and therefore won't let anyone know. (one part is free and one part is asleep).

    "So won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye."

    I feel like this is the part of Tyler saying that he has already given up and him realizing that no one can actually ever understand him. This is the difference between who he is and what he shows because while the people around him believe that he is going to rest and start again, he knows that it is actually a final goodbye and not just to them, but also to the mask he wears to hide his depression. They are treating like it's something much smaller than it actually is and he know this.

    Also this corresponds to the part later in the song when Tyler says "taking time in a simple place in my bed where my head rests on a pillowcase." The first part is him with a mask on and communicating to the world and as it gets closer to this part, Tyler slowly sheds this mask until he breaks down because his depression is finally with him in a place where no one can hear him scream for help.
    BrooksLon June 03, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"You will never know what's behind my skull/
    You will never know what's under my hair/
    You will never know what's under my skin/
    You will never know what is in my veins" reminds me of a kid talking about their parent(s) because most kids feel like their parents don't understand them.

    "So won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye" this is the kid and they're suicidal so they are waiting for their parents to say goodnight so they can stay in their room and harm/ kill themselves.
    thisistooshorton January 13, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm pretty sure I'm wrong because like, Twenty One Pilots isn't a very face-value kind of band in my opinion, but I just thought I'd share. I always took this as a love song? Like, when you're scared. You're scared of good things because you're scared of ruining them, so you're sort of reframing it into this bad thing (the whole chorus, obviously) because you're scared. But at the same time, you're too selfish to let it go, too, and you're too scared to let it go, so you're just kinda waiting for the other person (the "won't you say goodnight so I can say goodbye?" line) to make that move, to end it, because you're selfish. You are. You don't want to be the one to ruin what could be a good thing, even if you're also the one scared to move forward.

    Also, this part specifically:

    I'm caught under water and I'm falling farther,
    My heart's getting harder, I'm calling my father,

    It came across as romantic to me, too, because I was looking at it through a specific viewpoint, you know? And look, it's almost definitely about mental illness, but I think it's just really interesting. Mental illness has been so, so romanticized, and I think the fact that I thought this was a love song really speaks to that.

    Honestly, I'm still probably gonna view it as a love song, just 'cause that really fucks me up and it's fun (and it reminds me of Lena/Julian from Delirium, if anyone cares) and. I don't have another point.

    Just thought I'd share? Sorry if I didn't use the right type, I literally just made an account like two minutes ago to comment on this and That's Okay by the Hush Sound.
    queencaton July 21, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationALSO. The anathema double meaning is so cool. Seriously. Look at this.

    a·nath·e·ma
    əˈnaTHəmə/Submit
    noun
    1.
    something or someone that one vehemently dislikes.

    2.
    a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.

    LIKE. HOW WILD. WHAT A GOOD TITLE???
    queencaton July 21, 2016   Link

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