I’ve known Twenty One Pilots for almost a year now but never really bothered to listen to their music until about 6 months ago. Being familiar with the name for so long but not actually knowing who or what the band was, I was surprised to find out how different they were from my preconceived notions after listening to them for the first time. If you’re not a fan but you’ve heard a Twenty One Pilots song before, I’m going to clear two things up that people are most likely to question: yes, they’re a band with only two members. And no, there isn’t a genre in which you can classify their music into.
The duo hailing from Columbus, Ohio actually started out as a trio in 2009 without their current drummer, Josh Dun. Nick Thomas and Chris Salih left in 2011, which is the same year Josh joined Tyler Joseph. They released their self-titled as a trio in 2009 and Regional at Best in 2011 before signing on to Fueled by Ramen. They then
As a band, Tyler and Josh not only create great songs, they also try to inspire and push people to think. Their lyrics, band logo, and even their own moniker provoke critical thinking. (You can read the explanation behind their band logo here and their name here) And although they have a strong faith and their beliefs influence their music, they try to never come across as preachy as said by Tyler, “It's never been Josh & I's goal to stand up on a stage with a microphone and tell people what to believe.”
Everything about the band, from their albums to their live performances, is unique and interesting. Some joke around that they’re “ukulele rap screamo,” although it isn’t actually too far off from what their music is. To further explain their sound, I would say it’s like nothing else and everything at the same time; Twenty One Pilots are Twenty One Pilots and no one else. They’re the only ones I know who are able to pull off the fusion of 2 or 3 genres in one song (e.g. Ode to Sleep) or the lack of genre coherence in an album (e.g. Blurryface) Their lyrics are not only honest and smart, they’re also very self aware (“this song will never be on the radio” and “honest, there’s a few songs on this record that feel common”) which is refreshing.
Despite now being signed to a record label, they’re still able to uphold their musical integrity and originality. They’re always true to themselves whether it’s through thought provoking lyrics such as “these questions, they’re for real/ like who would you live for/ who would you die for/ and would you ever kill?” and “there's faith and there's sleep/ we need to pick one please because/ faith is to be awake/ and to be awake is for us to think/ and for us to think is to be alive” or their unorthodox antics. And that alone is a reason to be a fan.
Stay street and stay alive.
Listen to their discography on Spotify | Visit their Official Website
- Victoria Urrutia
Photos by Bett Manacop
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