Twenty One Pilots
Search Menu

Meaning of the song ‘Nico and the Niners’ by ‘Twenty One Pilots’

Released: 2018

“Nico and the Niners” by Twenty One Pilots is a labyrinthine dive into the band’s self-created universe, replete with cryptic references, rebellion, and self-doubt. This multi-layered track plunges the listener deep into their DEMA narrative, a metaphor for mental health struggles and societal pressures, framed around a group of rebels known as “Banditos” facing off against oppressive ‘bishops’.

The chorus, “East is up…Dema don’t control us, Dema don’t control” ties itself into the band’s ongoing narrative. Here, “East is up,” is believed to symbolize hope and rebirth, signalling the direction of the sun’s rise, contrasted with the oppressive “Dema”. The repeated line “Dema don’t control us,” rallies against the city of Dema, a metaphor often associated with feelings of depression or mental torment, overcoming the suppressive influence it has over the inhabitants.

The lines “I’m heavy, my jumpsuit is on steady… I’m flying from a fire, from Nico and the Niners” serves as a battle cry of the ‘Banditos’, the anti-Dema rebels. The “jumpsuit” acts as a shield against those seeking to pull the speaker back into the dark clutches of Dema. Here “Nico and the Niners”, represents the oppressive bishops of Dema. Juxtaposing feeling “heavy” when high and “lighter” when low, reflects the compelling yet paradoxical nature of their mental state during this struggle, conveying the complexity of battling one’s demons.

When we get to “What I say when I want to be enough… We’ll win but not everyone will get out,” the song delves into the concepts of self-esteem, comradery, rebellion, and sacrifice. The ideas of orchestrating a “complete diversion,” starting a “mob,” and acknowledging that while the battle can be won, there will be losses, paints a vivid picture of revolution, capturing the essence of their fight against mental health struggles and societal expectancies.

The song’s closing lines “East it up…Fire, Nico and the Niners” and the backwards message “we are Banditos”, leave listeners with a powerful sense of defiance and resilience. This song is a bold testament to wrestling with mental health, using a fantastical narrative to articulate real-world struggles, and a testament to Twenty One Pilots’ genius in seamlessly blending compelling storytelling with rock music.

Related Posts