MUSIC | How to become a twenty one pilots fan in 9 easy steps

Or, at least my take on a step-by-step guide to becoming a fan.

In case you haven’t already heard, Twenty One Pilots are a band that are currently taking the world by storm.

They’re currently on a 100+ date world tour (aptly named The Emotional Roadshow), featuring shows in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the US. They have a worldwide fanbase who call themselves The Skeleton Clique. They were the first band to have two number ones on two different charts (Ride on Pop Songs and Heathens on Alternative Songs) – oh and did I mention, Heathens was the lead single for the hugely successful Suicide Squad?

But, I get it. Not everyone is a fan. If I hear about a band too much then I instantly switch off and refuse to listen. So I’m not going to force you. However, if you enjoy rock/punk/indie and maybe even ska music – let me tell you, it won’t hurt to give them a chance.
But we have to do it right. You can’t become a fan by listening to the same song over and over again. You need to be introduced the right way – and I’m here to help you on your journey. 
Let’s begin.

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Let’s start with Holding Onto You. This upbeat gem is a personal favourite of mine; the kind of song you can’t help but sing along to at the top of your voice. But although it might be easy listening, by the time you’re midway into the song, you’re already getting used to the unique selling point of Twenty One Pilots. The band mix upbeat and almost poppy choruses with foot tapping beats (courtesy of drummer Joshua Dun) and impressive rapping (thanks to lead singer, Tyler Joseph), already proving that they’re just that bit different than anything on the charts right now. And if you want to, spend some time listening to the lyrics and trying to understand them. Soon you’ll see that they’re a stark contrast to the feel of the song, which is another distinct talent of this band – happy sounding songs are usually anything but, and likewise, those sad and emotional ones can actually be incredibly uplifting and inspiring thanks to the lyrics.

Next, we’ll go a little bit more into the basis of the band with Stressed Out. Here, with a slower beat, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a lowkey rap song. It’s anything but, and you’ll soon hear it resonate with you in terms of what people feel as they grow up. Although you’ve likely heard this a lot, this song is almost pivotal for understanding the basis of their 2015 album, Blurryface, because it’s in this song that the character is first introduced. Blurryface is a ‘character’ or ‘persona’ based around Tyler’s insecurities, and when you see him on stage with black hands, a black neck and often elements of red elsewhere, you now know why. This is the persona he takes on stage with him, and the basis for the album.

Let’s lighten up a little now and listen to Tear In My Heart. There’s not a whole lot to say about this one, except it’s probably one of only a few love songs penned by the band. You’ll come to understand that this band can get deep and focus on subjects other than just love, but this right here is just a pure and fun love song.

Lane Boy is next. You’ve likely heard this a thousand times on the radio already but perhaps now that you understand the band a little bit better and the type of music they offer, you might appreciate it in a different light…

Or perhaps not.

So, if not, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest Hometown. This is another song entirely different to most genres and elements found in their music but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t get me everytime. The best way to experience this is with your eyes closed, headphones on and music loud. You’ll soon wish you were on a beach somewhere, enjoying a crazy rave. I still hope one day to experience this song live.

You’re probably ready to sing now, so Heart Of Gold is next. The song was written for Tyler’s mum, and this stripped back and almost acoustic song (pretty much written with just a ukelele) will have you joining in and singing by the second chorus. The lyrics are easy to understand and remember, and you won’t have to make a tit of yourself trying to rap along.

Here’s where things are going to get a bit more deep as we go back to some of there older stuff. Car Radio is an absolute gem among fans – it’s fun to rap to (once you get the hang of it), it’s got a bass drop that is just Spot. On. (and amazing to experience live!), and, if you allow it to, it can be incredibly emotional. With lyrics such as ‘Sometimes, quiet is violent’ and ‘Oh dear, I don’t know if we know why we’re here, am I too deep, please stop thinking’, the song actually does get you thinking and will hit you on another level. Plus, it’s super awesome to actually listen to in the car.

Guns For Hands is another deceiving one. It sounds happy, it feels good when you listen to it, but of course, it’s about kids turning to pain, self harm or suicide. The song offers hope for fans, and suggests that the band themselves struggle to sleep at night, worrying about what their fans might do. It also has an ace ska-like bridge, proving once again, that there’s no end to the type of genres and styles this band will explore.

Finally, to complete the emotional journey, I’d personally end with Trees, but if you want to end on a high, I’d suggest ending with the previous track. Trees makes little sense to me, I have tried to understand it many times but I don’t think I’m quite ready for the explanation yet. It’s emotional, it’ll likely make you cry, but I can tell you now, if you’ve followed these steps and you’ve ended with this song, you will now be a fan of the band.
I hope.

Other noteworthy songs worth listening to: Before You Start Your Day, Kitchen SinkMigraine and a sweet cover of Can’t Help Falling In Love.

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Please note, this blog post was just a bit of fun, spurred on from a Snapchat conversation I had when joking around with a friend and trying to turn them into a fan of the band. I always liked the idea of creating playlists based around one particular artist and especially the idea of picking out a band’s best music for a new fan. For example, if I’d heard Lane Boy for the first time before already being a fan, I likely would have turned the radio over and quickly grown tired of it; I’ve never been a huge fan of rap music and even I can admit that the song has been overplayed on the radio. But by listening to other songs first, I have become a huge fan and feel that other songs would suit a ‘new fan’ to ease them in slowly when trying to discover/enjoy a new artist. I also struggle with this myself and have a long, long list of artists I want to get into but simply don’t know where to start…!