Music Review: Twenty One Pilots are known to save lives

Twenty One Pilots is Josh Dunn and Tyler Joseph.

With a band named Twenty One Pilots, you might be wondering: “Are there twenty-one band members? Are all of them pilots?”

The answer is, shockingly, no.

Twenty One Pilots is ironically only made up of two band members: Tyler Joseph is the rapper, singer, and the ukulele/piano player of the two, while equally important Josh Dun is on the drums.

Recently, Twenty One Pilots have been getting a lot more radio play with their new album, Blurryface, which came out just last year in May 2015. The most recognizable song by them on the radio right now is a tie between “Stressed Out” and “Tear in My Heart.”

While Blurryface has gotten the most attention from new fans, Twenty One Pilots have three older albums. Their first one was the self-titled Twenty One Pilots. Their second was Regional at Best, and their third was Vessel.

All four albums have something different to say, and no matter who you are, there is something for you to take from this music. Each song is made up of inspirational lyrics that will sometimes make you cry, while on other days they will make you want to get up and dance.

Twenty One Pilots, their first album, which came out in 2009, was the hardest one for me to get into at first, and though it was their first album to come out, it wasn’t the one that made me fall in love with this band.

Here’s why: looking into a lot of the songs’ meanings, most of the songs on this first album are very religious. Some examples of this are seen in the songs “March to the Sea” and “Taxi Cab.” Of course, it all depends on how you interpret these songs, but since Tyler Joseph is a Christian, these references to religion seem intentional.

“Taxi Cab” has the most obviously religious lines:

We’re driving toward the morning sun
Where all your blood is washed away
And all you did will be undone

The first line suggests that we’re all on our way to a Promise Land, where everything we’ve done will be forgotten and forgiven by a higher being.

While listening to this album, it took me some time to connect to and understand the lyrics to the songs. However, with research and more time spent listening to these it, I finally grew to love this album, almost as much as the others.

I highly recommend this album to those of you who are indeed religious. There are beautiful lyrics in the songs that actually tell some of the stories in the Gospels. Even if religion isn’t necessarily your “thing,” I would check it out anyways, merely because of the sound. If it takes you more than one time listening to it to fall in love, try it again—it grows on you.

21 pilots 2
Regional at Best (2011)

My favorite song on this album would have to be “Friend, Please.” For the longest time, I hated this song, and I would skip it every time it came on while I was listening to them, but then after convincing myself to sit down and listen to the words, I fell in love with it, which is more proof that while listening to this album, you should try to have an open mind and convince yourself to listen and understand what they are trying to say.

Regional At Best, which came out in 2011, has the song that Twenty One Pilots are actually known for, the song that Twenty One Pilots are iconic for, and the song that most people (especially old fans) first think of when it comes to this band: “Car Radio.”

Seeing this band in concert, I would have to say that when this song was performed, the crowd screamed louder and danced harder than to any others. Before Blurryface came out and the songs from that album started playing on the radio, many people only knew the song “Car Radio” when it came to Twenty One Pilots.

“Car Radio” is relatable to many people, which heightens many people’s adoration of the song. When Tyler sings, “And now I just sit in silence,” many fans believe that Tyler is talking about not wanting to be alone with his thoughts as they race through his mind and overtake him.

While this is partly what he is talking about, he is also talking about a true story of a day that he was late for class during college. He forgot to lock his car door and somebody literally stole his car radio. For some time afterwards, he wasn’t able to listen to music while driving. He filled the silence in his car with his thoughts.

Though Regional at Best is not my favorite album by Twenty One Pilots, the song “Car Radio” is commendable in the way that many listeners relate to the underlining meaning of anxiety and depression controlling our thoughts when we “sit in silence.” Though Car Radio is one of the deeper, darker songs on this album, Tyler and Josh experiment with a playful, upbeat sound in many of the other songs, including “Forest,” “Lovely,” “Ruby” and “Anathema.”

These songs will be sure to have you dancing.

Vessel (2013)
Vessel (2013)

In 2013 Twenty One Pilots released their third album, Vessel. It is by far the best Twenty One Pilots album out there, and personally I would recommend that you listen to this album before any other. This album is what made me fall in love with this group.

I had heard several songs by them before hearing this album, and I thought they were cool, but after listening to each and every song on Vessel, I was in awe. I know this album is really amazing because I am left with the same awe-inspiring, mind-blown sensation each and every time I listen to this album all the way through.

I remember the specific moment I even fell in love with it—right after having listened to the song “Migraine” and then the song “Semi-Automatic.”

Both of these songs are flawless, and the album itself is a combination of perfections, including several songs that were originally on Regional at Best: “Car Radio,” “Trees,” “Guns for Hands,” “Holding on to You” and “Ode to Sleep.” It was the new songs added n to this album really got me obsessed with Twenty One Pilots.

Tyler and Josh have always liked to play around with a happy sound with an underlining sadness in their music, and they accomplish this perfectly on their album Vessel. No matter what kind of mood you are in, you will always be able to count on this album.

If you are in a happy, dancy mood, you can listen to these songs, and they will inflate your happiness while offering a good dance beat. If you are sad, you can sit down and let the lyrics of each song sink in, allowing the feeling that others understand what you are feeling and inspiring you to get up for another day. I honestly recommend this album to everybody and anybody.

Whoever you are, Vessel is an album that everyone should experience. I almost guarantee that you will be addicted after the first few songs, and it will offer a high you will not want to come down from.

Blurryface (2015)
Blurryface (2015)

Blurryface, their latest album, which came out just last year, is the most popular album with the public so far. A couple of the songs — “Stressed Out” and “Tear in my Heart” — have gotten a lot of radio play recently, and all of a sudden Tyler and Josh have gained hundreds of thousands of new fans — and with good reason.

Blurryface is an album that talks a lot about anxiety and the steps Tyler went through defeating his, and just as many people could relate to the anxiety felt in the song “Car Radio,”  many listeners of Blurryface can easily relate to the whole album, having dealt with their own anxiety and depression.

Tyler named the album Blurryface because that is his attempt at giving his anxiety a face and a name, which makes it more real, thus making it easier to defeat. He gives this advice to fans and listeners as well.

Another thing I personally love about this album is that it tells a story. The first song is “Heavydirtysoul,” which tells about how Tyler is being eaten up by his anxiety, and the last song is “Goner,” which is a beautifully sung and written song about the defeat of Blurryface, aka Tyler’s anxiety.

This whole album is recorded proof that it is possible to live with, and possibly defeat, the anxiety that many people struggle with on a daily basis, and this inspires listeners to try to to get up in the morning even when they don’t feel like it.

The songs in between “Heavydirtysoul” and “Blurryface” tell stories as well. They tell how Tyler is dealing with how he feels, and in a way they give his listeners advice about how they can defeat their personal blurryface.

My favorite example of this is in the song “Not Today,” which is also one of my favorite songs on this album. Tyler sings, “Don’t you test me though, even though I play the piano doesn’t mean I’m not willing to take you down.” This is Tyler learning how to stand up to his burryface and showing fans that you don’t have to be afraid to stand up to anxiety or depression.

Though all of Twenty One Pilot’s albums are inspirational, the lyrics on Blurryface are to me the most inspirational, and with the loyal fanbase that this band has, many fans talk about how Tyler and Josh have saved lives through their music.

So no matter who you are — whether you are catholic or atheist, a thinker or a dreamer, a dancer or a sitter — you should definitely listen to each and every album by Twenty One Pilots.

Twenty One Pilots is a band for everyone. They don’t discriminate against anyone, and they connect to everyone. Whoever you are, you should give them a chance. Who knows? They might inspire you, motivate you, or even save your life.


  1. Very insightful article – I am not familiar with this band, but this article has inspired me to take a moment to check out their sound.


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