If there is one thing I cannot live without, it has to be music. If you know me, you might know how I can get pretty obsessed over a band or singer once I have started listening to their songs. My taste in music is literally all over the place. Ranging from teen-girl idols One Direction to the screaming Mexicans of Pierce The Veil. Maybe because my music playlist is so varied, it is not so weird that I have recently fallen in love with mixed-genre band Twenty One Pilots.
For the ones who don’t know them; Twenty One Pilots is a band of two guys; multi-instrumentalist and singer Tyler Joseph and drummer (and sometimes trumpet player) Josh Dun. Tyler Joseph started out on his own, singing and writing songs which he gathered on his first album called No Phun Intended. Later on Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih joined him forming Twenty One Pilots. The trio brought out the self titled album Twenty One Pilots. However in 2011 Nick and Chris decided to leave the band but not long after that Josh joined Tyler resulting in the Twenty One Pilots we know now. So far they brought out three albums; Regional at Best, Vessel and their newest album Blurryface.
As a fairly new fan, I have been educating myself on the band, the fans and all the little facts, made up words and inside jokes of the fandom. Here is what I have learned so far;
- TØp or tøp: An abbreviation of the bands name. The ø is just because it looks cool.
- Skeleton Clique or Clique: This is how the fans call themselves. Skeleton comes from Tyler and Josh wearing skeleton suits during shows.
- Fueled by Ramen: The record labed with which they signed.
- Power to the local dreamer: A phrase that is often used to emphasize the fact that the fanbase of Twenty One Pilots are people with big dreams who have the power to accomplish those dreams.
- Sick as Frick: Basically means awesome. It started with Tyler’s love for the word frick, which is just a nicer word for the F word.
- Friend or Fren: What everybody in the clique calls each other. It’s a term of affection probably coming from their song Kitchen Sink.
- We are Twenty One Pilots and so are you: A phrase they end their shows with, again to show affection towards the fans. Fans often call Twenty One Pilots ‘our band’ reffering to the fact that they are also a big part of it.
Music wise, I personally find Twenty One Pilots one of the best ones out there. They mix nearly every existing genre, from screamo and emo to electric, pop and rap. And somehow they manage to make it sound amazing. But what I personally like most about their music is the lyrics. Their songs start off as poems and afterwards they add a melody and a beat to it resulting in their lyrics to have an incredibly deep (and for most people in the clique; very relatable and helpful) meaning. Here are some cool lyrics from some cool songs I would higly reccomend you to listen to;
”I’m a kitchen sink. You don’t know what that means. Because a kitchen sink to you
Is not a kitchen sink to me, OK friend? Are you searching for purpose? Then write something, yeah it might be worthless. Then paint something then, it might be wordless. Pointless curses, nonsense verses. You’ll see purpose start to surface. No one else is dealing with your demons. Meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning, friend.” (kitchen sink)
”We’ve turned our hands to guns, trade in our thumbs for ammunition. I must forewarn you, of my disorder, or my condition. ‘Cause when the sun sets, it upsets what’s left of my invested interest,
Interested in putting my fingers to my head. The solution is, I see a whole room of these mutant kids. Fused at the wrist, I simply tell them they should shoot at this. Simply suggest my chest and this confused music. It’s obviously best for them to turn their guns to a fist.” (guns for hands)
”What kids are doing are killing themselves. They feel they have no control of their prisoner’s cell. And if you’re one of them then you’re one of me. And you would do almost anything just to feel free… Am I right? Of course I am, convince me otherwise would take all night. Before you walk away, there’s one more thing I want to say; Our brains are sick but that’s okay.” (fake you out)
”I am not as fine as I seem, pardon me for yelling. I’m telling you green gardens are not what’s growing in my psyche, it’s a different me a. A difficult to be. Stop feasting lumber down trees, freeze frame please, let me paint a mental picture portrait, something you won’t forget, it’s all about my forehead. And how it is a door that holds back contents that make Pandora’s Box’s contents look non-violent. Behind my eyelids are islands of violence. My mind’s ship-wrecked. This is the only land my mind could find. I did not know it was such a violent island. Full of tidal waves, suicidal crazed lions. They’re trying to eat me, blood running down their chin. And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win. I begin to assemble what weapons I can find. ‘Cause sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.” (migraine)
”While you’re doing fine, there’s some people and I who have a really tough time getting through this life so excuse us while we sing to the sky …. We’re broken, We’re broken, We’re broken, We’re broken people, oh. We’re broken people, oh.” (screen)
”I’m only at it again as an addict with a pen who’s addicted to the wind as it blows me back and forth mindless, spineless, and pretend. Of course I’ll be here again; See you tomorrow. But it’s the end of today, end of my ways as a walking denial. My trial was filed as a crazy suicidal head case.” (addict with a pen)
”Tie a noose around your mind. Loose enough to breath fine and tie it to a tree tell it, you belong to me, this ain’t a noose this is a leash and I have news for you, you must obey me.” (holding onto you)
As you can tell by the lyrics above, their songs are quite serious as they talk about serious issues mainly regarding mental health. What I personally find so brilliant and refreshing about this band is that they are not telling you to nesseserily ‘get better’ but they are telling you that it is okay to feel the way you feel. As someone on Tumblr described it; ‘Twenty One Pilots is my favourite band because they taught me that it is okay to not be okay, and that a whole room of people screaming ”we’re broken people” is infinitely more comforting that hearing ”it’ll get better”.’ And this sums up exactly why I have recently started loving Twenty One Pilots so much. They describe how it feels to be overthrown by thoughts; bad as well as good thoughts. They comfort you that it is okay to not be okay. They encourage you to ‘Stay Alive’ because ‘it’s worth it, I promise.’
Something that they specifically taught me is that I can use my hands to destroy but it is ultimately better to use my hands to create. Because creating something means creating meaning and purpose. ‘It’s better to turn your gun to a fist.’ Something else they taught me is that my body is merely a vessel, carrying what truly matters, that what is inside; thought and creativity. ‘I don’t care what is in your hair, I just want to know what is on your mind.’
As far as I can tell Josh and Tyler are incredibly humble, caring and above all, kind people. They do everything to make their fans feel like belong, feel loved and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Their liveshows are always amazing. They literally end up right in the middle of the crowd. The way they interact with their clique, the way they write the lyrics, the way their music sounds and their personality’s is what, in my opinion, makes them one of the greatest bands currently out there.
All I really want to say here is, if you haven’t ever heard of them, go check them out. If you have only heard Stressed Out so far, go check them out. If you just want to find some great music, go check them out.