Music: Twenty One Pilots

Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph
Twenty One Pilots is a rock duo from Ohio that formed in 2009. The two current members are Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. They released two albums, Twenty One Pilots in 2009 and Regional At Best in 2011, before being signed to Fueled by Ramen in 2012. They began their rise to fame with the release of their third album, Vessel, in January 2013, followed by Blurryface in May 2015.

Their lyrics commonly deal with heavy topics, such as suicidal depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and they have a unique sound that's hard to describe.


  • Adorkable: Both members, but Tyler especially.
  • Album Title Drop: After averting one in the first three albums, Blurryface gets one in "Stressed Out".
  • all lowercase letters: Their name is often stylized as twenty | one | pilots.
  • Alter Ego Acting: Blurryface. He had a Twitter accountnote  that would tweet surreal text, images, and occasionally livestreams, often relating to upcoming single releases.
  • 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
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both members are very eccentric. Tyler has been known to ask for live audience questions in the middle of concerts before, and actually call on people who raise their hand. This usually turns out about as well as you'd expect.note 
  • 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 are prone to wearing skeleton hoodies with zip-up hoods that serve this function. Josh also has worn a couple of different masks, including one styled like a green alien and even, in some early shows, a gorilla (with corresponding suit).
  • 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".
  • Cover Version: Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts", Katy Perry's "E.T.", The Isley Brothers's "Shout", among others.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for "Holding On To You".
  • 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 support for a person contemplating suicide.
  • The Everyman: The protagonist of "Johnny Boy".
  • Eye Color Change: Tyler's eyes turn red in the videos for "Fairly Local" and "Stressed Out" when singing in the deeper Blurryface voice.
  • 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
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: They avoid swearing not just in their music, but in general too. Tyler's pretty fond of the word "frick".
  • 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?"
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Slowtown" and "Stressed Out".
  • Hearing Voices: Alluded to in "Ode to Sleep", "Glowing Eyes", and "Anathema". The Blurryface character, representing as it does 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.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Josh Dun has had his hair dyed nearly every colour of the rainbow by now. See this post for a few examples.
  • Lead Bassist: Tyler for some songs, most notably "Ride".
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Migraine".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The biography on their official website talks about how joy can exist even without happiness, so this is probably to reflect that theme.
    • "Glowing Eyes", "Migraine", "Semi-Automatic", "Ride", and parts of "Ode to Sleep" and "The Judge" back up lyrics about depression, anxiety, and mental illness with upbeat music.
    • Lampshaded in "Not Today:"
    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
  • 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".
  • Mind Screw: The video for "House of Gold", which has both members upper halves playing the song while floating in mid air.
  • 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 a ridiculously happy chorus that almost sounds like an entirely different song altogether.
    • On Vessel, "House of Gold"note  is followed by "Car Radio"note .
  • Moral Dilemma: Their band name comes from the play "All My Sons" by Arthur Miller, in which a man indirectly kills 21 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.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Schizoid punk-pop rap with ukuleles thrown in every once in a while.
  • Not Christian Rock: Both members are Christian and their earlier work in particular is clearly influenced by this, but they are not an explicitly Christian band.
  • One Woman Song: "Ruby".
  • Rap Rock: Thanks to Tyler's lyrics being so long he had to start rapping to be able to fit them into their songs.
  • Rhyming with Itself: In "Migraine", Tyler rhymes "Friday" with "Fridays", then rhymes "Sundays" with "Sundays" and then with "days".
  • Running Gag: Kicking each other out of the band.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their first album.
  • 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": Don't call them 21 pilots.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    • In "House of Gold".
    So I just might beCOME SOMEONE
    • In "Fake You Out:"
    Our brains are sick bUT THAT'S OKAY!!
  • Surreal Music Video: The video for "Holding Onto You", which involves dancers wearing skeleton make-up and Tyler looking incredibly nervous.
  • Take That: In "Heavydirtysoul",
    Mindless zombies walking around with a limp and a hunch,
    saying stuff like "you only live once"
  • 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: Nealry every song. The only tracks to avert an explicit title drop are "Implicit Demand for Proof", "A Car, a Torch, a Death", "Ode to Sleep", "Anathema", and "Truce".
  • Three First Names: Tyler Robert Joseph.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Tyler and especially Josh are prone to going shirtless in live shows.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: From the famous "Happy Wheels" video; Josh one time had this job on a cruise ship,note