In much anticipation of Twenty One Pilots’ upcoming LP, Scaled and Icy, the Columbus natives tease with a new release, Choker; however, the tease is an unkind one to faithful fans. The duo have a formula they will not depart from: snappy drums; simple synths; crooning vocals and a bit of rap for good measure.
The verses’ staccato bass, accompanied by catchy beats and tongue-in-cheek synths are not inherently awful; it’s simply been visited more times by the pair than football fans to their local Ohio Stadium. The crescendo chorus attempts epic and cinematic status, and compliments the verse to an extent. However, the familiarity of the sound is irritating. By the time the track reaches its cliché token rap from Joseph, you might as well be listening to any other Twenty One Pilots song.
Nothing interesting here, and certainly nothing new. The parallels between Choker and big-hit, Chlorine, are irrefutable. The outcome, however, is worlds apart. In the same vein, the tin-man drums are a straight rip from Heavy Dirty Soul. The lyrical theme of Tyler Joseph’s insecurities has also been done to death.
This track could have made an appearance on their previous LP – as a means of soullessly meandering between one hit single to the next – but to put this song out as a pre-empt to their upcoming album, does not calm the nerves as to what might befall their next release.
Strip back the hype surrounding Twenty One Pilots, and this song is a dud. If a new artist were to release this song, the captive audience would be, at best, niche (with a very small “n”). Choker should have been choked at inception.