(Before heading forwards, I would like to confess that I am new to this obsession and it was handed to me by my best friend. It lead to two conclusions – 1) 21 pilots is a must listen. 2) You should listen to your bestfriend more often.)
Twenty One Pilots is a duo band with Tyler Joseph as the vocalist and Josh Dun as the drummer. Their first two albums were self released – Twenty One Pilots (2009), Regional at best (2011) and the other two were released under label Fueled by Ramen – Vessel (2013) and Blurry face (2015).
They did not get much appreciation before “Vessel” was released and “Blurryface“ paved the way to their stardom.
This is what Google says about them. But when I started listening to every one of their songs, I could relate to each one of them at different levels. Art caters all the things we feel in words we can understand. But what about the feelings we did not assign a name to or the named phases we don’t know much about? We live on a single huge globe but we all have a different perspective. There is a large group of people who are confused, insecure, stressed, happy and grateful at the same time. Twenty One Pilots relate to such people and the music they make is a nod to owning up to uncanny senses.
About their songs-
1) Stressed out
(The song that made them a star)
Favorite lines – Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.
With the introduction of a character Blurry face, this song is actually about a person who is struggling to make a song and is stressed out. Also the oscillation of the lyrics back and forth from current situation (stressed) to childhood memories (carefree) set up a whole different level of nostalgia.
• Twenty One Pilots won Grammy for this song and during the acceptance speech, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun took their pants off. The reason being that they grew from nothing and when they were just getting started, on one of the odd days watching Grammy in their underwear, Josh Dun proposed that if they ever did win one, they will accept it the way they are now that is, in their underwear.
Favorite lines – I’m falling so I’m taking my time on my ride
Taking my time on my ride.
The whole song is a bit puzzling. It takes us through a whole tour of all the major pillars of life, that is life, death, priorities and makes us question what do we stand for. And as we go ahead with the notion that mortality is certain, we better take our time and slow down the journey to appreciate every piece of it.
The song stands for loyalty as well as people having issues deeper than our judgement.
Twenty One Pilots like to call their fanbase “Clique”, a term for close knit group of people. Clique is essentially a group of broken people (all of us) dealing with empathy as well as revenge and who are insecure from anyone new having not the right kind of intentions.
4) House of Gold
Favorite lines – Oh, and since we know that dreams are dead
And life turns plans up on their head
I will plan to be a bum
So I just might become someone.
Personally, I love this song. It represents the tiny grapple in our head which we all face – A battle to choose between settling as someone and taking care of parents or a struggle to pursue the life we dreamt of.
5) Tear in my Heart
Favorite line –You fell asleep in my car I drove the whole time
But that’s okay I’ll just avoid the holes so you sleep fine.
This song symbolises pain and sacrifice as a necessity to a beautiful relationship which is only meant to take you higher and inoculate real connection.
6) Lane boy
Favorite lines – They say, “stay in your lane, boy, lane, boy”
But we go where we want to.
This is the kind of song that should be played on loop often. We are always torn between what we want to do and what they want us to do. It waves a message loud and clear that our courage to believe in ourselves should be higher than anything else.
7) Gun for hands
Favorite lyrics –But there’s hope out the window
So that’s where we’ll go
Let’s go outside and all join hands.
We all go through “that” phase of our lives where living becomes hard and some of us are brave enough to shrug things off but most of us end up dealing with the continuous nag of self-worth. This song is a respond to people suffering from suicidal tendencies and offers hope to every one of them.
8) Other songs
The seven songs mentioned above top my charts and so is a bit biased. But there are many other songs worth listening like Migraine, Doubt, The Judge, Message man, Heavydirtysoul, Goner, Ode to sleep, Car Radio, Cancer, Holding on to you and last but not the least cover of Elvis Presley song – Cant help falling in love.
All about them –
• Twenty one pilots was named with respect to a play named “All my sons” by Arthur Miller in which a man has to choose between sending faulty aeroplane parts to make money for his family or deny to do so. The play ends with casualties of 21 pilots as the main character decides to sell the faulty parts.
Now, why did they chose this as the band name? In an interview, Tyler Joseph said that it was a reminder for all of us to do what is right, no matter how difficult it is.
• Their famous symbol “|-/” remains a whodunnit. Only thing we know about it is that the symbol has something to do with “Kitchen sink” song and is a source of motivation for the lead vocalist in his darkest times.
• During the stage performances drummer Josh Dun and vocalist Tyler Joseph cover their hands and neck with black color to show their insecurity for their hands and voice and also to convey that like any normal person they have issues too.
• They call their fanbase as Clique which was mentioned earlier and it has a symbol too, a skeleton symbol which directs back to Tyler Joseph who actually wears a skeleton print hoodie/ mask on stage.
By relating with the odd plathora of feelings their frens go through and cultivating it into music is thoughtful. At the same time assigning meaning to little things like symbol and black paint to serve as a helping hand carry a simple message – You should not be afraid to be yourself and work for a purpose which can be anything and it can be found even in small perks of life.