Ever since Firefly, I’ve been on a landslide to obsession over twenty one pilots’ music. It’s the ultimate soundtrack for the depressed Millennial. While I’ve certainly listened to other music since then, they’ve been primarily all I’ve been listening to. I’ve now been a fan for about a month, so I figure I’ve determined my top five TØP songs. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today. All five of these songs have resonated with me in some way, and I’d like to tell you why and how. From number five to one, here are my top five favorite TOP songs:
5. heavydirtysoul- This is one of the first songs I liked by TØP. Before I was a fan, I’d heard the chorus before and dug it. After they played it at the show, I decided that was one of the songs I’d buy when I got home (I wound up buying their entire discography, but I didn’t know that at the time). I love the heavy drums on this track, the rock mixed with rap. Although, this is not rap nor is it hip hop. (I’m only a little sorry for that.) There’s a darkness to this song I really like. And, even though the chorus just repeats the phrase, “Can you save my heavy, dirty soul” over and over, I like the way it’s sung. I also just really like the phrase “heavy, dirty soul.” It makes an odd kind of sense and, honestly, just sounds cool. And I like the pre-chorus where Tyler says, “Gangsters don’t cry/ Therefore, therefore I’m/ Mr. Misty Eye.” Any song that can use the word “therefore” and it doesn’t feel out of place is good in my book. This song is a great way to open the album and their shows.
4. The Judge- When I was first getting into TØP, this was my favorite song of theirs. Obviously I’ve changed my mind about that, but it’s still one of my favorites. I’m not sure exactly what speaks to me about this song. Perhaps because the sentiment is so depressed Millennial. When Tyler says to “the Judge” (presumably God), “set me free,” we don’t know if he means from his pain or from life itself. This is very similar to the way this generation has memed our depression, all of us kind of wanting to die but also kind of not. I also just really love the high notes on that line. And the “ah nah nah nah oh” riff. I also find the concept posed in the line, “I know my soul’s freezing/Hell’s hot for good reason” very poignant and novel. The ambiguity and duality of Tyler not knowing if this song is “a surrender or a revel” and if it’s “about [him] or the devil” is another interesting concept. It humanizes the Devil and personifies Tyler’s depression. It’s a happy sounding song about a dark, heavy topic. All-in-all, this is still a quality track and I’m not about to leave it behind any time soon.
3. Trees- This is one that snuck up on me with how much I’ve come to love it. I thought it was good from the first listen, but I found myself thinking about the song more and more. I think it’s ultimately because this is the song I relate the most to. For me, it’s reflective of my social anxiety. It’s about meeting someone but being unable to interact because of fear. All my life I’ve been “silent in the trees,” frozen by fear and anxiety. And even though the song expresses that ultimately Tyler “wants[s] to know you,” first he “want[s] to say hello.” And it’s that first step that’s the scariest. I love the end where he’s screaming “hello,” an incredibly elated sound. I interpret it as Tyler finally saying hello. I haven’t had my “hello” moment yet, but I want to. I also love how it’s a slow electronica song. Honestly, it’s no surprise that this is the song that gets Tyler and Josh pumped up again after a long set.
2. Tear in My Heart- I like to call this song my “gateway TØP song.” I used to hear this song on a commercial and I liked the snippets I heard. I didn’t even know it was twenty one pilots at first. This was another of those songs that I’d decided to buy after Firefly (though again, we know how that really turned out). I perk up from the moment it starts with that, “dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun.” (Don’t lie, you heard that in your head.) It’s such a light, happy song, which really is novel for TØP. I love how it sort of plays with the notion that sometimes you need a reason to come alive again. For Tyler, it was love. This song is about his wife (who seems like a swell lady, by the way) and it’s beautiful to see him letting that light in. I also love the earnestess of the bridge. Imagine loving someone so much that you get angry at potholes in the road and the entire government for not fixing those holes because they might disturb your loved one’s sleep. It’s so earnest and pure and I can’t wait until I love someone that much. It’s one of my favorite songs to jam to in the car and I don’t foresee not putting it on all my playlists anytime soon.
1. Ode to Sleep- Once I determined that Vessel is the best twenty one pilots album, this song quickly emerged as not only the best song on the album but the best song they’ve ever released. While I like the subject matter (avoiding “the dark” or other things that trigger depression), what I really love about it is the composition. It’s like two songs in one. The verses are backed by heavy, dark electronica and aggressively rapped. The pre-chorus and chorus have a light swing to them and are belted out. There’s a frank desperation to them. I love the transitions between the two sides to the song. There’s something theatrical about it, especially during the transition leading from the electronica to the real instruments. It’s such a good, quality track and I am in awe of its artistry.
What are your top five TØP songs? Let me know in the comments!