Music / Twenty One Pilots

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/twenty-one-pilots_510x3802_8137.jpg
And where are the other nineteen? note 
Twenty One Pilots is a rock duo from Ohio formed in 2009 that currently consists of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist note  Tyler Joseph and drummernote  Josh Dun.

Joseph, drummer Chris Salih, and bassist Nick Thomas formed the band and released their debut album, Twenty One Pilots, in 2009. Thomas and Salih left the band in 2011, Dun was added a few weeks later, and the band's second album, Regional At Best, was released soon afterwards. After finding tremendous success in their home state of Ohio with their energetic live shows, the duo were signed to Fueled by Ramen in 2012 and began their rise to fame with the release of their third album, Vessel, in January 2013.

Two years of touring that included playing large festivals and opening arena shows for Fall Out Boy and labelmates Panic! at the Disco and Paramore organically grew both their fanbase and their reputation as must-see live performers. Their fourth album, Blurryface, debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 in May 2015 and broke them into mainstream success with multiple Top 40 radio singles.

Their lyrics commonly deal with heavy topics, such as suicidal depression, anxiety, and unstable sense of self, showing a strong Emo Pop infuence, and they have a unique sound that's hard to describe and has been categorized under Rap Rock, Indie Rock, Synth-Pop and Electronicore.

Should not be confused with the similarly-named Stone Temple Pilots, as the two groups sound nearly nothing alike.

Discography:

  • Twenty One Pilots (2009)
  • Regional At Best (2011)
  • Vessel (2013)
  • Blurryface (2015)

Tropes

  • Adorkable: Both members, just so much.
    • The hazmat suits from the "Lane Boy" video, "Fame" and "Success", have this in spades due to their awkward dance moves.
  • Album Filler: Referenced in "Lane Boy".
    Honest, there's a few songs on this record that feel common.
  • Album Title Drop: Blurryface in "Stressed Out" and (kind of) "Goner".
  • Alliterative Title: "Message Man".
  • All Just a Dream: A common interpretation of the "Heavydirtysoul" video. Tyler sits in the backseat of a car representing his life driven by a faceless man that has been speculated to be Blurryface. The car falls apart and the driver disappears, representing Tyler taking control of his life. Tyler leaves the car moments before it explodes and performs the remainder of the song with Josh, seemingly defeating his struggle. However, the video ends with a shot of Tyler back in the backseat of the car, insinuating that the events were just his imagination.
  • all lowercase letters: Up until the Blurryface era, their name was often stylized as "twenty | one | pilots". They still use "twenty one pilots" as an official band name, however.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: Blurryface. He had a Twitter accountnote  that would tweet surreal text, images, and occasionally livestreams, often relating to upcoming single releases.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Both members. Josh has some Japanese ancestry and Tyler has claimed to be part Lebanese.
  • Anti-Love Song: "Air Catcher" discusses avoiding falling in love in order to protect oneself from worse pain.
  • Arc Words: "Stay alive", which features prominently in "Lovely" and "Truce" and serves as the band's statement of purpose.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "Migraine":
    I don't know why they always seem so dismal.
    Thunderstorms, clouds, snow, and a slight drizzle.
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • Tyler and Josh both believe in the power of the audience in live performances. As a result, nearly every song has some form of interactivity with the audience, ranging from conducting the crowd to sing refrains ("Doubt") to requesting them to perform certain actions like crouching and jumping ("Lane Boy", "Car Radio") or getting on each others' shoulders ("The Run and Go", "Not Today").
    • Most performances of "Screen" will drop the music to let the crowd sing the refrain of "We're broken people"; likewise with the bridge of "Tear In My Heart" and the first verse of "Migraine".
    • "We Don't Believe What's On TV". See Call-and-Response Song.
    • The "I liked it better when my car had sound!" line from "Car Radio".
    • The Emotional Roadshow setlist opens with one of the rap verses from "Fairly Local." On the last line—"the few, the proud, the emotional"—the instrumental cuts out and Tyler pulls away from the mic, leaving the crowd to declare themselves.
    • "Here we, here we, here we fucking go" has become a popular chant for the song "Trees". Acknowledged by Tyler.
  • Author Appeal / Motifs:
    • Radio gets brought up often as either a symbol for distraction or popular opinion ("Car Radio", "Screen", "Fairly Local", "Tear In My Heart", "Lane Boy").
    • Cars and long drives are also a common motif ("A Car, A Torch, A Death", "Taxi Cab", "Lovely", "Fake You Out", "Ride", "Tear In My Heart", "Lane Boy").
    • Sleep and insomnia ("Anathema", "Guns For Hands", "Migraine", "Ode to Sleep"). Tyler notes in his commentary on "Ode to Sleep" that sleep is universally important to every person's life, so it's easy to convey what he means when discussing it in music.
    • Nighttime appears all over the place in Tyler's lyrics, generally being used as a metaphor for depression. It'd be easier to name the songs that don't reference night in some way than list the ones that do. He explains its appeal in the track commentary for "Semi-Automatic":
    Tyler: There's a lot of writers who talk about the night as an awesome time where everyone's partying or whatever. But usually the nighttime for me is, like, the worst. That's when everything comes out for me. That's when I realize that I don't really understand why I'm here or what I'm doing. That's when the doubts happen. And so a lot of these songs are showing you the things I'm thinking about at night.
  • Auto-Tune: Vocoder distortion features prominently on "Air Catcher", "Lovely", "Doubt", the Regional at Best version of "Trees", and their cover of "Jar of Hearts".
  • Badass Boast: Tyler usually avoids this, but "Clear" contains a little boast about his lyrical skill.
    I'm not trying to be lying to you,
    But it takes a clever guy to do what I do,
    It takes some chivalry and well-placed energy,
    To subliminally get myself inside you.
    • From "Message Man":
    Wrote this in three minutes, three words to a line,
    It's just poetry divided, I'm the kind of guy
    Who takes every moment he knows he can fight it
    And music to use it for others to use it.
  • Big "YES!": Tyler near the end of "Fairly Local" and "Goner".
  • Book Ends: A strange example; the 2012 version of "Goner" ends with some of the same noises that start "Heavydirtysoul", the opening track on Blurryface, of which a new version of "Goner" is the closing track.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Tyler does this in the second verse of "Not Today", which serves as an aside to the audience addressing how the band's songs are often happy-sounding but also exhibit Lyrical Dissonance.
  • Brutal Honesty: At one live show while the band was playing "Stressed Out", Tyler changed the lyrics to voice his thoughts on how overplayed the song had become and how it had alienated the Clique due to the Hype Backlash it caused.
    I wish I wrote a different song no one's ever heard
    I wish my mom would just admit she's sick of every word
    Overplayed, overstayed, it was a smash hit
    Funny how overplayed songs sound like crap
    I was told our true fans don't like this song
    But I hope they sing along, I hope they sing along.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "We Don't Believe What's On TV"; audiences chant the "yeah yeah yeah"s at a pre-established cue.
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • "Goner" is a slow, quiet piano ballad until Tyler suddenly starts screeching out his vocals towards the end of the song.
    • "The Pantaloon" has a moment where Tyler is singing the hook and his voice suddenly escalates into a yell as he sings the last line.
    • The bridge of "Car Radio" near the end is essentially screamed by Tyler.
    • This video of Tyler singing "Forest" ends with him shouting the second half of the chorus at the top of his lungs.
    • Tyler has a habit of screaming the last "can you save... can you save my, save my" at the end of "Heavydirtysoul" when playing the song live, and it's become the Clique-preferred version.
    • Tyler's song "Save" contains a very jarring Title Drop moment in the chorus where after gently singing he suddenly screams the word "save" at the top of his lungs.
    • Tyler screaming "You're an angel!" repeatedly near the end of "Ruby".
    • The relatively subdued song "The Run and Go" ends with Tyler screaming the last line.
    • "Fake You Out" has Tyler screaming "OUR BRAINS ARE SICK BUT THAT'S OKAY"
  • Christmas Songs: Tyler's cover of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" for a church concert.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both members are very eccentric. Tyler has been known to ask for live audience questions in the middle of concerts, and actually call on people who raise their hand. This usually turns out about as well as you'd expect.note 
  • Concept Album: Though Tyler and Josh were hesitant to refer to it as such, Blurryface is based around a character of the same name who represents the insecurities all people have. The album's tracks all deal with this idea to some extent and together seem to tell a story of struggle against these negative feelings.
  • Color Motifs: Pre-Blurryface, red and blue. Post-Blurryface, red and blacknote . Both color schemes were reflected in the band's logo, stage attire, and music videos.
  • Cool Mask: The ski masks. Also a subversion of Malevolent Masked Men, as Tyler and Josh are anything but.
    • In the video for "Guns for Hands", they improvise masks by taping their faces with colored duct tape.
    • Both Josh and Tyler often wear skeleton hoodies with zip-up hoods that serve this function. Josh also regularly wears monster and alien masks.
  • Cool Shades: Both members wear them, but Tyler does the most as explained here. Tyler is particularly prone to wearing a pair of round, white-rimmed sunglasses during live shows, which are featured prominently in the music video for "Ride".
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Their cover of My Chemical Romance's "Cancer", which turned the piano-led and powerfully-sung song into a far more relaxed and resigned downtempo electronic track and rearranged the lyrics to place an emphasis on the line "I will not kiss you". A common comparison between the two is that the original sounds like the narrator is still fighting while the cover sounds like the narrator has already given up.
  • Cover Version:
  • Crisis of Faith: The topic of "Implicit Demand For Proof" and "Doubt".
  • Crowd Surfing:
    • There was a period where it seemed that Tyler spent more time in the crowd during shows than on stage. He's particularly fond of crowd standing and singing held up by the front row.
    • Josh takes it to the next level and regularly plays the drums on a platform supported by the audience.
    • Most live shows end with Tyler and Josh going out to the crowd to pound on drums covered in water.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for "Holding On To You".
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Based on circumstances surrounding the last few releases, this appears to be the band's general philosophy, at least when it comes to their own music.
    • Blurryface was leaked about a week before its planned release, which contributed to the album being released two days early. A few cryptic tweets from Tyler appears to indicate that he was not concerned by the leak and may have even had something to do with it.
    • "Heathens" was also leaked a week before its planned release. Though the label again moved up the release date to release the song not long after, Atlantic Records also filed a subpoena to Reddit in order to find the culprit and source of the link, only to withdraw the request a few days later. The band's silence on the issue and the fact that Atlantic itself acknowledged that the leak could have only come from a small group of people that included the band, their team, and their own executives led many to believe that Tyler and/or Josh could have been directly responsible.
    • About a week before Christmas 2016, Tyler and Josh teamed up with rock band Mutemath to recreate five of their songs live ("Heathens", "Heavydirtysoul", "Ride", "Tear in My Heart", "Lane Boy"). These live performances were made available free to download by the band for the first month after its release, apparently against the wishes of the label.
  • Downer Ending: The original version of "Goner" seems to insinuate Blurryface winning with its ending.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Heard in "Heathens" alongside Blurryface saying "watch it". During live performances, Tyler and Josh often make gun-cocking motions with their instruments in time with the song (Tyler with his bass, Josh with his drumsticks); Tyler also does it in the music video, alongside Harley Quinn with her baseball bat.
  • Driven to Suicide: A common theme in their songs.
    • "Guns for Hands" and "Fake You Out" are about suicidal teens.
    • "Addict With a Pen" is about someone suffering from suicidal depression turning to faith for support.
    • "Friend, Please" offers companionship to a person contemplating suicide.
    • "Taxi Cab" has a few lines that imply this, as the cause of a faith-affirming near-death experience.
  • Drone of Dread: Blurryface is sometimes represented with a low drone. In "Goner", the drone can be heard in the background of the first two verses and then fading out at the end, symbolizing Tyler defeating Blurryface.
  • Echoing Acoustics: There's a chilling echo effect added on Tyler's vocals as he sings "I hope I'm not my only friend" in "Truce", amplifying the line's isolation.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • Some of the songs on the Self-Titled Album are on the longer side, with "Isle of Flightless Birds" and "March to the Sea" approaching six minutes.
    • "Ode to Sleep" is only just over five minutes, but sounds much longer and grander due to the repeated drastic shifts in tone and sound.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Invoked with "Ode to Sleep", which was chosen as the opening track on Vessel since it's an extremely fickle song when it comes to sound and style, and it would be the first showcase of the intense Genre Roulette action on the album.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In the "Heavydirtysoul" video, the car Tyler is riding in falls apart, catches fire, and eventually explodes near the end of the video.
  • The Everyman: The protagonist of "Johnny Boy".
  • Everyone Knows Morse: The day before "Heathens" was released as a single, the band's Twitter tweeted a message in Morse code that translated to "take it slow", a lyric taken from the song's chorus. This same Morse code message is also visible on the single cover for the song.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Blurryface is represented by Tyler's voice being pitched down. This can be heard in songs such as "Stressed Out", "Fairly Local", "Message Man", and "Heathens".
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Three Songs EP, which consists of three songs from Vessel.
  • Eye Color Change / Red Eyes, Take Warning: Tyler's eyes turn red in the videos for "Fairly Local" and "Stressed Out" when singing in the deeper Blurryface voice.
  • Fading into the Next Song: In live performances, "Fairly Local" is often used to segue into "Heavydirtysoul".
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Lane Boy" note , "Message Man".
  • Finger Gun: "Guns for Hands".
    'Cause when the sun sets/it upsets what's left of my invested interest/Interested in putting my fingers to my head.
  • Four More Measures: "Tear in My Heart" has two starts at the beginning of the song, and Tyler starts singing after the second start. The fact that he usually starts singing after the first start when the song is performed live doesn't help.
  • Genre Roulette: Almost inevitable with their unique, fickle sound, but most notable on Vessel and Blurryface.
    • Vessel has a number of synthpop/alternative hip hop songs (most of the album), but also has a folk song ("House of Gold"), a straightforward electropop song ("Trees"), and a Lonely Piano Piece ("Truce"), and that's not even getting into the genre-shifts occurring within songs ("Guns for Hands", "The Run and Go", "Ode to Sleep"). Tyler has even stated that he chose to open the album with "Ode to Sleep" since it acts as an Establishing Character Moment, so to speak:
    "The reason why this is the first song on the album is that I feel like it kind of prepares the listener for the rest of the album, it almost puts them through a boot camp of what to expect... which is don’t expect anything!"
    • Blurryface has an upbeat pop rock song ("Tear in My Heart"), a reggae song ("Ride"), an indie/ska song ("We Don't Believe What's On TV"), a Lonely Piano Piece that turns into a rock song ("Goner"), and an alternative/reggae song that turns into drum-and-bass ("Lane Boy"), just to name a few.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: "Glowing Eyes" plays with this trope by portraying them as both threatening and comforting; the titular glowing eyes represent distressing thoughts that can also offer a distraction from other serious problems.
  • God Test: "Implicit Demand For Proof".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: They avoid swearing not just in their music, but in general. Tyler's pretty fond of the word "frick".
  • Grand Finale: "Trees" has become the band's go-to show closer, and the song's climax usually involves Tyler and Josh pounding on drums while standing on platforms being held by fans in the pit amid a rain of confetti and fog. It's as much of a spectacle as it sounds.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the "Guns for Hands" video, which has titles and subtitles in English and Japanese.
    • "Tear in My Heart" opens with a shout of "안녕하세요" (An nyeong ha se yo), Korean for "Hello" or "How are you?"
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Domingo en fuego" from the breakdown of "Polarize".
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Slowtown" and "Stressed Out".
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Tyler and Josh in the music video for "House of Gold".
  • Hearing Voices: Alluded to in "Ode to Sleep", "Glowing Eyes", and "Anathema".
    • The Blurryface character, which stands for people's insecurities and suppressed dark feelings, can be interpreted as representing this as well.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tyler and Josh.
  • I Am the Band: Ultimately subverted. Technically, Tyler is the only member of Twenty One Pilots who has been with the band from the beginning, and being the lead singer and songwriter only enhances this image. Since joining the band, however, Josh has consistently been shown to be just as important to the group as Tyler, and the two appear inseparable.
  • Iconic Item: The beat-up wooden piano shell used for Tyler's keyboard, which features in most live performances and the videos for "Guns For Hands", "Truce", and "Tear In My Heart".note 
  • Iconic Outfit: The ski masks and skeleton hoodies for both Tyler and Josh.
    • Tyler has two more candidates for this position: the flower kimono and the "Blurryface" outfit with red socks/beanie and black makeup smeared on his hands and neck.
  • Important Haircut: Tyler shaves his head in the video for "Car Radio". It works as both an expression of grief and an affirmation of his decision to stay alive.
  • Incredibly Long Note:
    • "Addict With a Pen", especially in some live performances.
    • "Ruby", "Ride", and "Goner" have some pretty impressive ones, too.
  • Jump Scare:
    • The switch-up in "Goner" where Tyler starts suddenly screaming his lungs out will likely be this to listeners who were initially swayed by its quiet, melancholy piano sound.
    • Tyler's sudden screaming in the chorus of "Save".
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Josh Dun has had his hair dyed nearly every colour of the rainbow by now. See this post for a few examples.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • "The Run and Go" ends with Tyler screaming the last line.
  • "Goner" inverts this; it's a soft, piano-led song with Tyler singing quietly that suddenly turns into a loud rock song with Tyler now screaming over the music... until the final word ("you"), which Tyler sings softly as the flurry of instruments suddenly stops.
  • Lead Bassist: Tyler for certain songs including "Ride", "Polarize", and "Not Today".
  • Lead Drummer: Tyler often accompanies Josh on his own drum set in shows, and both of them usually end performances with a drum set in the crowd.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: How "Heavydirtysoul" ends.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Truce" is a straight example, but "Goner" is a subversion; it starts as this before suddenly turning into a loud rock song around the 3-minute mark.
  • Lucky Charms Title / Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The group initially stylized their name as "twenty | one | pilots", but following the release of Blurryface, it turned into "TWENTY ØNE PILØTS". Following the end of the Blurryface era, they began utilizing dashes through their Es. Many were quick to note how each re-stylizing utilized a different character in the band's logo (|-/).
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "March to the Sea", "Oh Ms Believer", "Migraine", "Hometown".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Exists in pretty much all of their songs. The biography on their official website talks about how joy can exist even without happiness, so this is probably to reflect that theme.
    Listen, I know
    This one's a contradiction because of how happy it sounds
    But the lyrics are so down
    It's okay, though
    Because it represents, wait, better yet, it is
    Who I feel I am right now
    • Their self-titled album is probably the most melancholic sounding in theme, vocals, and instrumentals. One of the happiest sounding songs on the album, "The Pantaloon", is also one of the saddest lyrically, talking about how your elders get older and start to lose their mind, and how eventually you'll do the same.
  • Man-Child: The boys often invoke this persona on Twitter, possibly due to their apparent firm belief that Growing Up Sucks. They frequently use phrases associated with children, such as "playdate" or asking their mothers for permission for things. These personas make an appearance in the video for "Stressed Out".
    the only reason I don't look so thrilled in this photo is cause Rocky is giving the middle fingers. my mom will NOT think that's cool, gang. not cool.
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: This finger sign, which forms the logo.
  • Midword Rhyme: "Migraine" has some of this, with Tyler rhyming many words by their stems.
    It's me defending in suspense/It's me suspended in a defense/less test/Being test/ed by a ruthless examinant/that's represent/ed best by my depress/ing thoughts.
  • Mind Screw: The video for "House of Gold", which has both members' upper halves playing the song while floating in midair.
  • Momma's Boy: Both Tyler and Josh. They tweet about their mothers and talk about them in interviews all the time, and Tyler even wrote “House of Gold” for his mother. He's even referred to himself and Josh by the trope title on a few occasions.
    Tyler: i løve chord progressions and my mom.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • "Ode to Sleep", which has dark verses followed by an upbeat chorus that almost sounds like an entirely different song altogether.
    • On Vessel, "House of Gold"note  is followed by "Car Radio"note .
    • On Blurryface, "Not Today"note  is followed by "Goner"note .
  • Moral Dilemma: Their band name comes from the play All My Sons by Arthur Miller, in which a man indirectly kills twenty-one pilots by selling plane parts which he knew were faulty, but had he not sold them he would have lost money (which he needed) and tainted his business's name. The band's website says the name was chosen because we are all facing moral dilemmas frequently, and that the "right" answer is usually the one that seems tough at the time but will ultimately end up for the better.
  • Motor Mouth: There are several instances where Tyler shows off some serious technicality in his rapping skills. See here for good examples.
    • His brother Zack's verse in "Kitchen Sink" is also famous for this.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Pop punk/electronica/alternative rock/rap with ukuleles, screamo, baroque pop, and reggae thrown in every once in a while just for good measure.
  • No Ending:
    • "Migraine" ends by cutting Tyler off mid-word ("Made it this f—").
    • "Anathema" similarly ends rather abruptly.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Implicit Demand For Proof", "Anathema", "Ode to Sleep", "Truce". Also, every album except Blurryface.
  • Not Christian Rock: Both members are Christian, and their earlier work (pre-Vessel in particular) is clearly influenced by this, but they are not an explicitly Christian band. However, this hasn't stopped people from interpreting their newer work under this light.
  • Not Quite Dead: Blurryface ends with the titular Big Bad character (a personification of Tyler's insecurities) being defeated. However, on "Heathens", he returns after the second verse and during the final chorus, only saying "Watch it".
  • Oh, Crap!: Tyler pulls off a pretty great "oh, crap" face in the music video for "Tear In My Heart" (complete with dramatic zoom) before Jenna picks him up by the neck and throws him around a public restaurant.
  • One-Woman Song: "Ruby".
  • One-Word Title: On the album side, Vessel and Blurryface. The song list is a bit longer:
    • From Twenty One Pilots: "Trapdoor"
    • From Regional At Best: "Anathema", "Slowtown", "Forest", "Lovely", "Ruby", "Clear", "Trees"
    • From Vessel: "Migraine", "Screen", "Truce"
    • From Blurryface: "Heavydirtysoul", "Ride", "Doubt", "Polarize", "Hometown", "Goner".
  • Parental Love Song: "House of Gold" is about Tyler's love for and dedication toward his mother.
  • Performance Video: Although they have lots of videos that technically count as this, "Guns for Hands" is probably their most straightforward example of this trope.
  • Precision F-Strike: Although the band avoids swearing in pretty much all their songs, there is one instance in "Ode to Sleep" where Tyler calls himself a "whore".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Slowtown".
  • Rap Rock: Thanks to Tyler's lyrics being so long, he had to start rapping to be able to fit them into their songs.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • In live performances, "Heathens" is usually started using a piano rearrangement, while "Stressed Out" and "Holding On To You" usually close with one.
    • The original 2012 version of "Goner" was rearranged and expanded quite a bit before it became the final song on Blurryface. The original had less instrumentation (only an accordion, piano, and background strings) and less lyrics.
  • Recycled Lyrics:
    • Tyler reused verses from the solo album he made in high school, No Phun Intended, for some later songs; a verse from "Drown" for "Fall Away", part of "Just Like Yesterday" for "Ode To Sleep", and the opening of "Blasphemy" for the closing of "Anathema".
    • Many of the lyrics for "Heavydirtysoul" were used by Tyler in a street poetry video released two years before the song.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The character of Blurryface; at least, how Tyler portrays him, with red and black clothing (as well as the occasional red eye) as well as black paint on his hands and throat. The album's era was marked by the band colors changing from red and blue to red and black, as Tyler discovered that blue was not a part of Blurryface's persona.
  • Re-release the Song / Updated Re-release: After being picked up by Fueled By Ramen, six songs from Regional at Best ("Guns For Hands", "Holding On To You", "Ode To Sleep", "Car Radio", "Trees", and "House of Gold") were rerecorded with some changes for Vessel. "Lovely" was also rerecorded and released as a promo single in Japan. This led to the pulling of Regional at Best from circulation by Fueled By Ramen and the resulting dilemma of Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tyler and Josh, respectively.
  • Rhyming with Itself:
    • In "Taxi Cab", "cab" is rhymed with itself three times in succession.
    • In "Migraine", Tyler repeatedly rhymes "Friday", "Sunday", and "days".
  • Running Gag: Kicking each other out of the band.
  • Sampling: One of the band's first tracks, "Time To Say Goodbye", sampled off the song of the same name by Andrea Bocelli. For this reason, it was pulled from the first album at the last minute and was only available to download on their website for a brief period.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: "The Pantaloon", dedicated to Tyler's grandfather, is about the cyclical process of watching your parents and grandparents become this and knowing that one day you'll join them.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Tyler on most tracksnote .
  • Self Empowerment Anthem: "Not Today" is their most played-straight example.
    • "Car Radio" and "Migraine" both play with this trope; although the singer is struggling with depression and mental illness, both songs ultimately emphasize his choice to keep moving forward regardless.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their first album.
  • Signing-Off Catch-Phrase: At live shows: "We are Twenty One Pilots and so are you."
  • Silly Love Songs: "Tear In My Heart" is the only song in their discography that definitely fits the label of "love song".
    • "Lovely", "Ruby", and "We Don't Believe What's On TV" could be either this or friendship songs. note 
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The video for "Tear In My Heart" depicts this as Tyler and Jenna's relationship (though the reality of it is quite different).
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: From "Implicit Demand For Proof":
    Strike me down,
    I am calling your lightning down from your dark hiding place.
    Go ahead and show me your face.
    Rain down and destroy me.
  • Something Completely Different: "Time to Say Goodbye" is an Andrea Bocceli sample-based song (which is probably the reason why it wasn't featured on an album) that mixes electronic beats with operatic Italian music. It's weird even by the band's standards.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Their songs are very prone to this considering just how quickly Tyler can rap, but notable offenders include "Kitchen Sink"note and "Ode to Sleep" note 
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Played with in the video for "House of Gold". Both members are playing while cut in half and their organs are visibly spilling out of them, which is far more disturbing than one would expect for such a happy song, but neither member seems bothered by this at all.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": They're always "Twenty One Pilots", never "21 Pilots". Despite this, it's still generally acceptable to abbreviate their name to either "top" or "21p".
  • Stop and Go:
    • In "Ode to Sleep", when Tyler says "I go up, up, up, up", all sound between each "up" cuts out.
    • On the "represented best by my depressing thoughts" line from "Migraine", the song stops as Tyler holds the "s" in "depressing" for three counts (as counted by Josh in the background).
    • Near the end of "Car Radio" (directly following the bridge; 4 minutes in), the piano starts precisely cutting out after the drum hits.
  • Studio Chatter:
    • The laughter at the end of "Johnny Boy".
    • Some mumblings from Tyler in "Be Concerned".
    • In "Migraine", as Tyler holds the "s" sound in "depressing", you can hear Josh counting off in the background before the song resumes.
    • In "We Don't Believe What's On TV", Tyler can be heard clearly saying "Alright, second verse" before said verse starts.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Done humorously in "Stressed Out".
    I wish I found some better sounds no one's ever heard.
    I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words.
    I wish I found some chords in an order that is new.
    I wish I didn't have to rhyme every time I sang.
    • Also done in the new verse Tyler performed in Cleveland:
    I wish I wrote a different song no one's ever heard.
    I wish my mom would just admit she's sick of every word.
    Overplayed, overstayed, it was a smash hit.
    Funny how overplayed songs sound like crapnote .
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    • In "Migraine", which is immediately lampshaded and apologized for:
    I AM NOT AS FINE AS I SEEM!
    Pardon/me for yelling...
    • In "House of Gold":
    So I just might beCOME SOMEONE
    • In "Fake You Out":
    Before you walk away/there's one more thing I want to say
    OUR BRAINS ARE SICK BUT THAT'S OKAY!
    I WANNA BE KNOWN BY you.
    • In "Polarize":
    I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE! YOU'LL HAVE TO COME AND FIND ME, FIND ME!
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • "Holding Onto You": Deliberately Monochrome, involves dancers wearing skeleton make-up wrapping a noose around Tyler's neck until he and Josh become skeletons as well.
    • "House of Gold": Tyler and Josh are cut in half on a farm, but their floating torsos and disembodied legs keep playing the song until the sun goes down.
    • "Tear In My Heart": Chinatown explodes in slow-motion, passerby's faces randomly distort, and Tyler gets beaten to a pulp by his wife in a restaurant.
    • "HeavyDirtySoul": A hooded stranger drives past Josh repeatedly on the same stretch of highway while Tyler sings in the back seat. The car falls apart and eventually explodes, only for Tyler to wake back up where he started.
  • Take That!:
    • Judging by some information, Tyler's not the biggest Drake fan.
      • This moment in "Heavydirtysoul":
      Mindless zombies walking around with a limp and a hunch,
      saying stuff like "you only live once"
    • In "Lane Boy":
    All these songs I'm hearing are so heartless
    Don't trust a perfect person and don't trust a song that's flawless.
  • That Man Is Dead: Implied in "Trapdoor", which is about a man taking on a new identity to escape from his past.
  • Those Two Guys
  • Title Drop: Nearly every song features one. "March to the Sea" merits a special mention for its position in the final line of the song.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Josh has an affinity for Oreos and enjoys treating himself to "Encoreos" at concerts in the brief break between the main show and encore.
  • Two First Names: Tyler has three in his full name, Tyler Robert Joseph.
  • The Voice: Nigel, an ancient being with a British accent who occasionally makes appearances in concerts to act as narrator and request covers from Tyler.
  • Voice of the Legion: Tyler's voice is drastically deepened in "Stressed Out", "Fairly Local", and "Message Man" when singing as Blurryface. note 
  • Unflinching Walk: Averted in the "Heavydirtysoul" video, where both Tyler and Josh watch the exploding car. The behind-the-scenes video even shows Tyler debating on whether or not he should look at the explosion.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Tyler and especially Josh are prone to going shirtless in live shows.
  • Wham Line: After the second verse of "Heathens", Blurryface returns.
    After all I've said
    Please don't forget
    WATCH IT.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: From the famous "Happy Wheels" video; Josh said that he one time had this job on a cruise ship, but never finished that story.note 
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Kitchen Sink" is in some ways about this trope. Tyler refuses to explain what he was referring to when singing about his kitchen sink. Since the song is about how there are some perspectives and ideas unique to every individual, explaining his views on "kitchen sinks" would take away from its power as a metaphor.


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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/TwentyOnePilots