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Car Radio: Maybe You Don’t Need One

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By Débora Coutinho | 27th August, 2022

If you’re a fan of the duo Twenty One Pilots, you know what I mean. But if you’re not, then turn off your radio and let’s drive together on why you don’t need to shut off your feelings.

🚗 The song “Car Radio”, from Twenty One Pilots’ album Vessel, discusses the feeling of someone whose car radio was stolen, and so they need to drive in the silence, but the silence is not so peaceful.

‘Sometimes Quiet Is Violent’

Tyler Joseph, the vocalist of the band, whose car radio was really stolen, wrote in ‘Car Radio’ about his feelings, and how they’re not always good or peaceful, but actually violent. Now, without the sound of the radio, he couldn’t hide from his emotions.

“I ponder of something terrifying
'Cause this time there's no sound to hide behind


Oh my, too deep, please stop thinking
I liked it better when my car had sound”

The song talks about a strong state of mind, where the person’s thoughts make them want to shut off the voices in their heads and just get distracted by anything that surrounds them (in this case, the sound of the radio).

Where Is Our Car Radio?

The scenarios represented in the lyrics of ‘Car radio’ are not uncommon for most people: we all have our own car radios, or manners to escape from our minds. To a lower or to a higher degree, we find some ways to run away from our emotions.

An example of this is how often we rely on social media to shut off our emotions: the frustration, anger, sadness or any uncomfortable feeling can be attenuated with scrolling. By watching a movie or listening to a song, you can also forget to check on yourself. It’s important to say that relying on those tools to feel better is not itself the problem, which begins when you don’t process your feelings or emotions at all.

There are some consequences to this question, such as:

  • not knowing exactly how you feel;
  • problems in expressing your emotions;
  • impacts on interpersonal relationships;
  • negative emotions towards a certain feeling.

This is why it is so important to actually listen to your emotions and feelings: you’re not letting them take control over you, but the other way around - it’s you controlling them.

Turn Off That Radio (At Least For A While)

Tyler’s car radio may have been stolen, but ours wasn’t.

Firstly, we need to understand that any emotion is valid, even if it’s not really rational or if it doesn’t make sense. We are raised to believe that feelings such as anger and sadness are bad, while happiness and patience are good, and although we feel better one way than another, it’s not true that we only feel happy or joyous - which is why we need to accept and comprehend the other emotions that will come.

After all, how we feel influences a massive part of our lives. When you’re doing tests or exams, you can’t let the nervousness take over you. If you’re doing a public presentation, you can’t let the fear stop you. Overwhelming situations, like a close deadline, demand rational thinking, which comes in recognizing your feelings and letting them know you have it all under control.

“This was true for me, and I would like to give you an example from my own childhood: my dad rarely expressed how he felt – the key exception being the explosion of rage that came when he lost his temper. My father never hit me, but when you are a young child, raw anger feels like a threat to your very existence. I came to believe that anger was a dangerous emotion, something to be feared and avoided. So I avoided anger and any situation or confrontations where it might be present. But the truth is that feelings are neither good nor bad, and that includes anger. Anger tells you when you are threatened. It gives you the energy to stand up for yourself, and to find solutions.”
— Andy Gill

Andy Gill, an English musician and formerly a lead guitarist of the rock band "Gang of Four"

There are things we can do to learn and listen better to our feelings, and one of the main ones is talking about them: we can’t really know something that we don’t talk about. Talking to a therapist, to a loved one, to a friend, to a close relative or even to yourself in the mirror are ways in which you can find reasons to validate your feelings. Writing can also be a helpful tool.

🗣 Expressing them, knowing why you feel like that and what emotions can help you, controlling the ones that are standing in your way are better things to do than shutting them off until they explode and start controlling you.

In Conclusion, Feel!

Don’t be afraid to feel, don’t be afraid to show how you feel: let’s all sit in silence.

“I have these thoughts, so often I ought

To replace that slot with what I once bought

'Cause somebody stole my car radio

And now I just sit in silence”

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