I’m confident that at some point over the last decade you’ve heard a song by Twenty One Pilots, made up of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. It may have been Heathens from the less-than-awesome Suicide Squad soundtrack or maybe Stressed Out that played all over the radio in the summer of 2015. With the newest album release only a week old – this is why you should have Twenty One Pilots on your playlist.
Genre Bending Music
TØP started out a rural, hometown band from Ohio playing small venues for a dedicated legion of fans. The first two large scale albums, Regional at Best and Vessel, were raw, rough and full of angst. Since the band’s beginning in 2009, they have ventured into rock, punk, rap, hiphop, alternative, electronica and more even winning a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Stressed Out in 2017.
When it comes to live shows, there’s something amazing about the expectation and consistency from fans. I’ve seen three concerts, one from the Blurryface tour and two from Trench, and each time the comradery from fans is inspiring. They know the tours like the back of their hand, provide interactive paper cut outs to use at certain times and are all around – so great. TØP is also consistent. They never do encores, they always end the show with Trees. It’s a comforting experience.
Mental Health Struggles
I know that there have been mixed feelings about this but I really do appreciate the level at which Tyler shares his struggles. Most apparent during the earlier albums, Tyler pulled a lot of the creative inspiration from his own struggles with depression and anxiety. Hell, Blurryface is a literal personification of his anxiety. It’s realistic, honest and something that almost all of us can relate to. Even the newest album, Scaled and Icy, is said to represent being scaled back and isolated due to the pandemic. (Or is it a cover and really means Clancy is dead? #dema)
The Dema/Trench Lore
If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s good storytelling. I won’t even pretend to know absolutely everything about DEMA or TØP lore, but boy am I a fan. Mentioned briefly in the Blurryface album (2015), DEMA is a terrible, prison-like place. During the hiatus between Blurryface and Trench (2018), a clikkie found a new 404 page on the TØP website, which include diary pages from someone named Clancy, along with graphics that would later be revealed as clues to the songs on Trench. In the first three music videos released for Trench, Jumpsuit, Nico and the Niners and Levitate, viewers see Tyler and Josh struggling in DEMA, being captured by one of the ‘Bishops’.
The Quarantine Bop To End All Bops – Level of Concern
As the world was thrust into a pandemic and consequential lock down, our favorite guys released the ultimate quarantine bop – Level of Concern. It was as if they knew that the world needed something positive and upbeat during such a shit storm. Not to mention the 24 hour long interactive livestream where fans could post their own videos.
Following up the livestream was an interactive puzzle for fans to try to decode. Designed to take up to six weeks to crack, fans a.k.a. The Skeleton Clique or clikkies figured it out in under a week. The puzzle included never before seen photos, graphics, audio recordings and more than anything – a distraction during lock down.
Each Album Is An Absolute Masterpiece In Its Own
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking ‘damn she drank the kool-aid.’ Maybe I have, but I also know that I’ve been listening to this band for nearly a decade now and have not been let down once by their music. The first song I heard by TØP was Car Radio on 89.1 The Bash (a community college radio station from Illinois that only could be heard on good weather days). I was immediately caught by the intense lyrics, the interaction with the music – all of it. Everytime a new album comes out, I listen to it on repeat – deciding if it’s as good as the predecessors. Every time, without fail, that answer is yes. The newest album, Scaled and Icy, released this month and is full of bops.