Childhood Fantasies

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Nostalgia for Childhood

In Twenty One Pilots’ music video and lyrics of “Stressed Out,” they sing about their childhood and refer to it as the “good ole days.” The first scene depicts them riding up on three wheelers with a backpack on and riding around in a neighborhood like children would do. I argue that “Stressed Out” is representative of someone’s nostalgia for their childhood.

Oh to be a Kid Again

The video demonstrates child like qualities such as previously before stated the three wheelers, backpacks, and suburban neighborhood. Other qualities are the best friend handshake, capri suns, and performing parts of the song in childhood homes and their old rooms. What takes him back to his childhood in the song is the smell that reminds him of his brother and where he grew up. He talks about how great it was and how there were no responsibilities when he was a child, but adulthood has brought him a new reality. He wants to be able to dream anything he wants like “building a rocket ship;” however, that childlike reality is no more as people want him to make money and focus on things other than tree houses and other child fantasies.

Longing for the Past

In the song, he longs for his past memories and talks about his childhood so fondly, but the people surrounding him in his life today telling him to forget his childhood. He won’t let go of his nostalgia though because, for him, childhood was a utopia. He could play make believe and not worry about what the rest of the world was thinking. He didn’t have any responsibilities or hardships, that were remembered, and “Stressed Out” is representative of all of those feelings.

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