Finding new music can be tedious, especially when your comfort zone is all the music you listen to on a daily basis. Switch up your music with Twenty One Pilots. (Grab a snack and get comfy, you’re in for a long one.) Twenty One Pilots is an alternative duo from Columbus, Ohio. The band consists of the lead singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun.
I began listening to Twenty One Pilots in my 8th-grade year when I heard their song “Tear in My Heart” on the radio. Their style was so unique I loved it. A little after that I began listening to their song “Stressed Out” when it came out on my Apple Music Radio. My brother and I soon began to listen to their album “Blurryface,” which had both those tracks. We became obsessed with that album. After we began to listen to their album “Vessel.” Then we moved on to their self-titled album and fell in love with that one too. We both became members of the “Skeleton Clique,” the Twenty One Pilots fan base. My father saw this and gave us one of the best surprises I’ve ever had, tickets to see Twenty One Pilots live.
To read about this concert click here.
Here are my favorite songs:
Nico and the Niners
Implicit Demand for Proof
Fake You Out
Holding On To You
After the concert, I fully immersed myself in their music. I began to listen to “Regionals at Best” along with “Vessel” none stop my freshman year. Then I began to listen to their album “Trench” none stop my junior year, three years later after “Blurryface.”
Twenty One Pilots is my all-time favorite band. Though their music identity can be hard to pinpoint, they can be considered alternative, rap, and alt-rock. They are a band of many different sounds. They can range from the hardcore synth of a song to upbeat happy ukulele. Don’t ask me how they do this, just know they do. Twenty One Pilots is distinct in their sound, lyrics, and vibe.
Twenty One Pilots has a total of five albums, one which was self-released and four which were released and produced with Fueled by Ramen. “Regionals at Best” was an album they self-released. It is not accessible to the public. “Regionals at Best” can only be listened to through what audios one can find on YouTube.
This album is their hidden gem. Only fans who truly know Twenty One Pilots would know about these songs. They are a blend of nostalgia, self-identity, struggles with mental illness, and inner turmoil. “Forest” is a popular song of theirs that is about everything going on inside our heads and how to deal with it.
“Ruby” is a song about a girl with Down syndrome who Tyler would see every Sunday at church. “Lovely” is a song about suicide and depression. It’s about the fact that there is truly someone out there to help you get through your dark times. A touchy subject to some, but a true help to others. “Slowtown” is about the fearing of growing up too fast and the time going by just as fast. “Kitchen sink” is one of their most popular songs that talks about self-identity. There are much more tracks on this album to listen to.
One thing I find so unique about this album is their sound. The music truly makes this album what it is. From the synth in “Slowtown” to the vocals in “Ruby.” I could be here all day talking about the beauty of “Regionals at Best” but let’s move on.
Twenty One Pilot’s sophomore album is their self-titled. This era consisted of white, psychological aspects, poetry, and piano keys. This album is an arrangement of piano, vocals, lyrics, and synth. The piano takes you to a place like no other and gives you chills. “Implicit Demand For Proof,” “Fall Away,” “Addict With a Pen,” “Johnny Boy,” “Air Catcher,” “A Car, a Torch, a Death,” “Trapdoor,” “Taxi Cab,” and “Before You Start Your Day” are all songs where the piano is most prevalent.
The lyrics are like poetry, actual literal poetry. If there’s anything one can take and remember from this album, are the lyrics. Every song is a poem. Tyler Joseph is the true master of writing. Every song on this album is true forms of poetry, from the pain and hardships of “Addict With a Pen,” to the hidden personality of “Trapdoor,” to the struggle of life in “Johnny Boy” to the beauty of “A Car, a Torch, a Death.” This album is truly a musical and poetic masterpiece. “Twenty One Pilots” always reminds me of the bitter cold winds of the Seattle bay. I listened to this album when I took the ferry from Seattle to Canada on a cold, gloomy, gray, cloudy day. I absolutely loved it. Here is a playlist of “Twenty One Pilots.”
A few years later, Twenty One Pilots released their third album “Vessel.” This era was ukuleles, white, red, and blue, florals, and the mind. “Vessel” is an album that consists of alternative, alt-rock, and synthetic sound. The synth is truly amazing. “Ode to Sleep,” “Semi-Automatic,” “Holding On To You,” and “Guns for Hands” are just a few of the songs that give off a great synth sound. This album has three of Twenty One Pilots all-time hits. (Car Radio), (House of Gold), (Holding On To You).
This album is about mental illness (Fake You Out), (Guns for Hands), (Semi-Automatic), (The Run and Go), (Migraine). It even goes so far as to talk about suicide, pulling through, and not ending life. (Guns for Hands). It’s about strength and resilience. (Holding On To You), (Trees), (Migraine). It’s also about the hardships from within (Truce), (Ode to Sleep), (Fake You Out). It’s about not giving in to the bad parts of our mind (Car Radio), (Ode to Sleep).
If I learned anything from Twenty One Pilots is that they bring about the psychological aspect in every song of theirs. “Vessel” is the album that talks most about mental illness. Twenty One Pilots shines the light on mental illness through their music.
Twenty One Pilots then spiced up their music with a fourth album, “Blurryface.” This was the era of black, lots of red, white, neon purple and yellow lights, synth, patterns of many kinds, black paint, dark lyrics, heavy sound, and insecurities. “Blurryface” was the album that gave Twenty One Pilots their first Grammy. It was for their hit song “Stressed Out.” This was the album of alt-pop-rock. From the poppish sounds of “Ride” and “Stressed Out,” to the heavy rock sound of “Heavydirtysoul” and “Fairly Local.” This was the album that introduced me to Twenty One Pilots. “Blurryface” is about Tyler’s insecurities. In almost every song one can pick up hints of insecurity. (Doubt), (The Judge), (Message Man).
This album was also the first one to have a love song which is the one and only, “Tear in My Heart,” a song written about Tyler’s wife. Like every other album, “Blurryface” also talks about mental illness. “Ride” is about overthinking and not being able to stop thinking, something most of us can relate to. “Stressed Out” is about the stress of growing up. “Message Man” is about his fight with his worst enemy, his insecurities and dark thoughts.
“Doubt” is about anxiety, fear, doubt, and bonds with the dark part of our minds. “Goner” is about going beyond the breaking point, it’s about becoming the lost cause, too far gone to be saved. The sound in this album is truly astonishing. I was truly swept away by “Polarize” and “Hometown,” especially live. “Blurryface” is the album to listen to.
If you are a Twenty One Pilots fan like I am, you would know that Twenty One Pilots had a three-year hiatus that began in 2015 after “Blurryface.” It was a long haul for most of us. It was in July of 2018 that they released two tracks, two tracks that introduced us to a new era, the Trench era. This is the era of yellow, rock sound, yellow flowers, vultures, army green jackets, yellow tape, torches, and rebellion.
When “Jumpsuit” first came out I was in complete awe. I was hit with a strong sound like no other. Twenty One Pilots truly switched it up. This album gave us fans a new sound. A fresh take on Twenty One Pilots if you may. The “Trench” storyline begins in “Jumpsuit” followed by “Levitate” and finished with “Nico and the Niners.” Watching the music videos will give you a better understanding. This is their most symbolic album in my opinion.
October 5, 2018 was the day we were given the rest of the glorious album we fans were starving for. This album is purely emotional. Tyler Joseph lets us know what he’s feeling. Emotions, thoughts, and inner turmoil is a familiar friend to the music of Twenty One Pilots.
This album also gives us hints of love in his songs from “Morph,” “-the questions still remains, are we still in love and is it possible we feel the same?” to “Smithereens,” “For you, I would get beat to smithereens.” “My Blood” is a song which holds a promise Tyler made, a promise to be there for the fans, his friends, his family, his love. “When everyone you thought you knew deserts your fight, I’ll go with you.” And the signature “Stay with me, my blood.” “Trench,” an album created with emotion, dedication, and passion.
Whether you’re looking for a change in music, something to freshen up your playlists, or a new artist, Twenty One Pilots is the band for you.
Want to hear more from Twenty One Pilots? Discover their music click here.
Interested in seeing them live? Catch them on tour here or see them at a music festival click here.