Every Twenty One Pilots fan will have a different opinion on what their best songs are. The Columbus, Ohio duo has managed to create a pretty impressive catalog. They’re also quite prolific releasing 6 albums in a span of 12 years. That’s a feat in itself, but the fact that they have so many great songs is incredible. 21 Pilots members Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have amassed a loyal following over the years, and they continue to just win people over day by day. If you haven’t heard 21 Pilots yet, here are their 10 best songs you should get started with.
On Truce, we hear Tyler serenade us on the piano with a beautiful lullaby. This song was the perfect ending on an already amazing third album, Vessel. Truce is a treat because we hear a clean track; it’s all about Tyler’s expression and what we get from it. Lyrically, Tyler is reminding us to keep fighting even when we’re done. Life is precious and worth fighting for.
When it comes to versatility, Twenty One Pilots is nowhere near lacking. The super talented duo shows off their skills heavily on this song, Heavydirtysoul is part rock, part rap, part something else. Every single element in this song comes together so flawlessly. We particularly love the breakdown part when we just get some raw vocals and clapping in the background. It’s an electric song to see and hear live. Twenty One Pilots love what they do and this song is evidence of that fact.
8. Guns for Hands
Don’t be fooled by the happy vibe. This song is deep and heavy. Guns for Hands tackles mental health issues and gun problems with a quirky beat. Tyler is mesmerizing as always—the way he loses himself in his own passion. The song itself is transformative. There are so many layers that make this song extra special. The beat breakdown and the rap parts just take Guns for Hands to another level entirely.
We get some electropop vibes, some 2000s pop, some M83, some Eminem, and so forth. Is there a limit to the talents of this duo? Obviously not. Migraine is a fun dynamic song. It never gets tiring. It’s never boring. It’s a sunny song that again talks about mental health. Twenty One Pilots doesn’t have any problems being relatable to their audience. They make it easy to be heard and to hear about difficult issues that need to be talked about.
6. Ode to Sleep
Lyrically their best work (that’s saying a lot), Ode to Sleep takes us through what it’s like to live in a day of someone with depression. We bounce back and forth between emotions here, and it’s disturbing yet real at the same time. The singer keeps pleading for the darkness to let him go. There are political undertones here, biblical too. It’s an intelligent piece of music that’s hard to decipher yet catchy as ever.
It’s no surprise that Ride spent 6 weeks on the US Billboard chart. It’s the kind of song that gets stuck on repeat in your head. The duo happens to have a knack for writing tunes as such. The rap is incredible, but the best part of the song is the reggae influence that’s overlayed with synth. When Tyler hits his falsetto, you begin to realize that you’re not listening to just any other band. You are witnessing a performance of superstars.
Many people got introduced to Twenty One Pilots through this song, Heathens, which made it onto the Suicide Squad soundtrack. The chord progression here is no joke. The beat is catchy, but sonically it’s pure genius. We also get a restrained Tyler here, which is not a problem at all. This song being on the soundtrack only meant one thing: Twenty One Pilots were on their way to greatness, soon to pass many other greats along the way.
3. Holding on to You
This is a personal piece for both Tyler and Josh. Holding on to You is about fighting yourself and fighting for yourself. There are many religious overtones here, as a way for the duo to talk about their upbringing in a religious home. Their creative urges were suppressed growing up, and it probably led to many of the internal discord that they felt. Highly introspective and inspiring, this song proves that this duo is on a league of their own. They’re the only ones today creating the kind of music they do.
2. Stressed Out
With a slightly different intro beat than some of their songs, there’s a certain groove to this song that sounds old school. This is Twenty One Pilots’ breakthrough single, the one that put them on radios and playlists everywhere. This song is the reason the duo won a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. It’s become a classic now, but it still sounds great. This could be number one on many people’s lists, and we might incline to agree on another day.
1. Car Radio
Depth is not a problem for Twenty One Pilots. Car Radio feels like a poem and sounds like a poem. This is rap the way it was intended to be, the way it was. It’s incredible to hear a lyricist today sing about real and important situations. This song is proof that Twenty One Pilots doesn’t always need the hype to get the message across. As the song builds up and out with more drums and synth, we are introduced to the angst that was just sitting inside waiting to come out. It’s a genius piece, one that truly deserves this top spot.