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Tear Jerker / Twenty One Pilots

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Now I just sit in silence.
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Given the topics that Twenty One Pilots tends to talk about, it's no surprise that there are a lot of songs that fit under this category.


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    Self-Titled 
  • "Addict with a Pen"; the piano and Tyler's pained vocals about his struggles with faith and suicidal depression make the song difficult to listen to without shedding a tear.
    • This performance stands out as particularly heartbreaking, with Tyler appearing on the verge of tears throughout.
  • "Friend, Please" and its plea for a suicidal friend to not "take your life away from me".
    Regional at Best 
  • "Forest" is a pretty upbeat, communal song about hanging out and singing in the woods - that is, until the rap verse's desperate pleas for the listener to remember the singer as he's "supposed to be" reveal the singer's deep insecurities and inner darkness.
  • "Anathema" could possibly be one of the band's saddest songs. The song's name comes from a word that is essentially defined as a curse, and it deals with how feelings of depression can plague someone. Especially sad is the chorus:
    Won't you go to someone else's dreams?
    Won't you go to someone else's head?
    Haven't you taken enough from me?
    Won't you torture someone else's sleep?
  • "Kitchen Sink", especially the soft, agonized "go away/leave me alone" bridge. The latter line is then changed to "don't leave me alone", which is screamed by Tyler instead of quietly sung.
    Songs on both RAB and Vessel 
  • "Holding On To You" features Tyler struggling to regain control of his thoughts while struggling with depression. The context the song was written in makes it both more sad and, in hindsight, more triumphant, as Tyler started writing the song when the band was starting to fall apart and it seemed like his dream of making music wasn't going to come true.
  • "Guns for Hands," considering the lyrics are about a concerned person seeing teens killing themselves and unable to bear it.note 
  • "Car Radio," being about a person losing all distractions from life and coming to term with their problems.
    • The opening shots of the video showing Tyler in the bathroom don't help at all.
    • Tyler screaming the bridge near the end of the song. Partly terrifying and tearjerking.
    • The last shot of the video also doesn't help as it shows Tyler falling backwards off the stage. The video then ends...
  • "Ode to Sleep," despite the epic music; the lyrics are about an insomniac's scream of desperation while trying to go to sleep, but the malevolent voices in their head won't let them.
  • "Trees" has a generally euphoric sound, but the lyrics are incredibly sad. The singer feels close to death and goes out into nature yearning for someone (God?) to comfort them and "speak where I happen to be."
    • The even bigger tear jerker is why the song is so personal to Tyler: He began writing "Trees" in high school, well before he created the band and when he was only just discovering the therapeutic effect music had on his mental state. Ever since the first show he played as part of the group that became "Twenty One Pilots", "Trees" has been the final song of nearly every set because of the second wind of strength it give him to finish the show.
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    Vessel 
  • "Migraine," being about a suicidal person losing hope in life and trying to break out of it.
    • The last lines of the song before it ends in mid-sentence makes it even worse.
  • "Fake You Out," despite the bubbly/poppy sound, is about a person concealing their depression and feeling utterly isolated from other people despite their efforts to connect with them.
    I'll never be what you see inside.
    You say I'm not alone, but I am petrified
    You say that you are close; is "close" the closest star?
    You just feel twice as far.
    • Like "Guns For Hands," the song also reflects Tyler's compassion for those suffering from suicidal depression and hints that he has felt these same feelings.
    What kids are doing, they're killing themselves.
    They feel they have no control of the prisoner's cell.
    And if you're one of them, than you're one of me,
    And you would do almost anything just to feel free...
  • From the "Holding On To You" music video: Tyler and the noose. The video is sad enough on its own, with Tyler straining against the noose as a mob representing his demons pull it back on his neck. The real tear jerker, however, is in the behind the scenes video; Tyler is visibly uncomfortable around the noose and appears physically exhausted after taking it off. When considering his experience with suicidal thoughts, it's not hard to see why.
  • "Truce", a song about asking for mutual companionship in the face of approaching hardship and a plea for the listener to stay alive for the singer's sake, is sad from start to finish. Tyler's emotional performance in the music video only adds to the heartbreak.
    • The echo on Tyler's voice that sounds as he sings "I hope I'm not my only friend" amplifies the desolation of that line, and is made sadder in the video since it is paired with a shot of a jumping audience at one of the band's concerts.
  • "Screen", which is about a person struggling to keep up a facade of happiness while realizing there's no point in hiding from the truth, gets especially hard to listen to once it reaches the "we're broken people" bridge.
    Blurryface 
  • Both versions of "Goner".
    • The original version that was released in 2012 sounds a lot more vulnerable and isolated, using only an accordion and a piano. Additionally, as the song was incomplete at the time, the only lyrics Tyler sings are "I'm a goner, somebody catch my breath/I wanna be known by you". The hope of the second verse and chorus that were added to the album version is absent, and it seems like Tyler has accepted his fate as a slave to Blurryface. The song ends with distorted noises representing Blurryface, which many see as symbolizing Blurryface winning. And it should also be said that the accordion throughout the song produces creaking noises not dissimilar to a noose tightening around someone's neck...
    • The album version is still sad, considering it has more ambient noises in the background that represent Blurryface, tormenting Tyler as he sings desolately. The only solace that can be found in the song is the Big Rock Ending that symbolizes Blurryface being defeated.
  • "Stressed Out" has grown a negative reputation among the Clique due to how overplayed it got and the Hype Backlash it caused as a result, which Tyler finds saddening since it was a song he wrote for the fans and when it's played live, the reaction is far less enthusiastic than with other songs. All of these feelings culminated in a live performance of the song in Cleveland where Tyler changed the lyrics to voice his thoughts (people have grown sick of the song, but he hopes his fans still enjoy it). A lot of fans saw it as an act of Tranquil Fury and were generally saddened by how he had grown to dislike the song.
    YouTube comment: I feel so sad now... he wrote this about his insecurities and now it's one of his insecurities...
    • However, in this interview, Tyler adds a heartwarming silver lining by stating that the online response to the lyric change showed overwhelming love, with lots of fans telling him that they still loved the song.
  • From "Ride": "I've been thinking too much. Help me."
  • "Heavydirtysoul". While the overall tone is exhilarating, it's still sad to listen to Tyler's cries for someone to save him from himself.
    Trench 
  • The final verse of "Chlorine" is haunting, as Tyler tells someone that he hasn't spoken to in awhile (A loved one? The audience? God?) about his trials and asks for help rebuilding his life:
    I'm so sorry I forgot you. Let me catch you up to speed.
    I've been tested like the ends of a weathered flag that's by the sea.
    Can you build my house with pieces? I'm just a chemical...
  • "Neon Gravestones" is a song decrying trends of romanticizing famous suicides that becomes even more dour when Tyler notes that he might one day be counted among their number.
    Promise me this: if I lose to myself
    You won't mourn a day and you'll move on to someone else.
  • "Legend" is a tribute to Tyler's grandfather, Bobby, who is featured on the cover of Vessel and passed away during the writing of the album. On the song, Tyler expresses regret that he couldn't bear to visit his grandfather once he no longer recognized him and mourns that his wife never got to meet him as he was prior to his diagnosis with dementia.
    I look forward to having a lunch with you again.
    • Late in his life, Bobby constantly asked what his grandson was doing. When Tyler's dad replied that he made music, Bobby asked to hear one of his songs. Tyler's dad didn't have any copies in the car, but he didn't need any; he was able to just turn on the radio and find one in moments. (Full story here.)
  • "Leave the City" ends Trench without ever reaching a full emotional release or providing answers to the questions Tyler asks throughout the project, only a promise that he will continue to "stay alive". This becomes even sadder when Tyler revealed in an interview that the track reflected his own Crisis of Faith.
    Other 
  • As mentioned under Nightmare Fuel, "Heathens" from the Suicide Squad (2016) soundtrack is this when it isn't being terrifying. Between Tyler's dreary, depressed-sounding voice, the haunting minimalist production and the threatening lyrics, it sounds like the musical equivalent of a loss of innocence.
    • The ending of the music video is sad to watch as it shows a slumped and dreary Tyler in a prison outfit all alone as prison guards surround him with rifles.
  • "I Need Something", the 30-second unreleased song from the sixth episode of the Regional at Best webseries, may very well be one of their saddest songs despite being the shortest. You can tell that Tyler was obviously in a very bad place when he made it; his vocals bleed with despair and fragility, not to mention the lyrics:
    I need something to kill me
    I'm tired of taking my own life
  • Their cover of MCR's "Cancer" in all of its beautiful yet sad glory.
  • Some of Tyler's old songs, such as "Save" and "Drown", to this day are powerful listens because it's very obvious that he was in a dark place and desperate for help.
    Non-Music 
  • The 2016 Emotional Roadshow stopped in Dallas the day several local police officers were killed at a protest over the killings of innocent black civilians by police elsewhere in the country. At the concert the next day, Tyler expressed hope that music could help inspire kindness and a sense of community, but he also voiced frustration over his feelings of helplessness to really do anything to stop future violence. (The full speech here.)
    Tyler: What is going on? Why does this keep happening? This is wrong. Something's broken, and I don't know how to fix it; I just write songs. I don't know how to fix it, guys. I wish I had the words to fix it. But I don't.
  • During their performance at Reading Festival, while they were playing "Car Radio", security guards wouldn't let Tyler get to his platform, so he had to crowdsurf to it. The crowd then proceeded to almost completely tear off his shirt, steal his shoes and mask, drop him multiple times, and refuse to let him go. At one point, you can even hear him cry out for Josh. Once he finally got to the platform, long after the song finished, he immediately ended the show.note  The Clique has reacted with a general horror to this news. However, there is a silver lining: "#RespectTylerJoseph" became the #1 top trending hashtag on Twitter.
  • A majority of the fanfics people write about the band.
    • The Forest fic. It's extremely emotional, intense, and well-written, and has had such a huge following that it's basically an emotional trigger for the entire Clique, and once you read it, you'll know why. If you can't or won't, here's a summary: Josh is initially portrayed as a figment of Tyler's imagination. He tries convincing his family and doctor that he's real, but to no avail, and they try to stop his thoughts. Eventually, Tyler and Josh confess their love for each other and have sex. Tyler ends up having a breakdown, trying to proclaim that Josh isn't real, only for Josh to slap him in response. Tyler runs home crying. Later, he and his mother visit his doctor, where Tyler tells his doctor about his sex with Josh, eliciting a similar reaction of bewilderment. It's then revealed that Tyler was sexually abused as a child by another doctor, and Josh was merely a coping mechanism. He blacks out, wakes up at home, and runs into the woods, crying out for Josh while simultaneously recognizing his own deteriorating mental state. Tyler goes into the treehouse that he and Josh used to hang out in, picks up Josh's lighter, and commits suicide by lighting the treehouse on fire and falling asleep inside. And then, at Tyler's funeral...
      The priest conducting the ceremony asks if anyone would like to say a few words. A boy with bright blue hair and mocha eyes (and C major lips and blue-sky hands and tiger-growl teeth) stands up.
  • "No one really cares about the drummer, but that's okay."
  • While the Blurryface album's ending insinuates the defeat of the titular character, some disconcerting information began to surface around the end of the album's era that suggests the character will always still be around. Primarily, a magazine interview with Tyler was released where he was quoted saying "Blurryface won't leave until I'm in the ground", and his pre-"Trees" speech at the final Blurryface-era show ever implied at one moment that although Tyler would stop dressing as Blurryface, it probably wouldn't be the last time he'd ever see him. It's equal parts haunting and sad.
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