The first album of the alternative-rock band, Twenty One Pilots, is a self titled piece that fans commonly refer to as, well, Self Titled. The progression of the band has grown all the way since 2009 when the band played for 10 people, now selling out entire arenas in minutes.
Their first true hit, “Stressed Out,” was released in 2015 and became popular on the radio the following year. Since then, their fanbase has grown tremendously.
Twenty One Pilots is full of experiments and didn’t even include the current drummer, Josh Dun. The singer, Tyler Joseph, used to play with other friends before Dun joined in 2011. While this album may not feature this iconic duo, Joseph and co.'s skills did not disappoint for a first group project. Here is every song on Twenty One Pilots, ranked:
14. “The Pantaloon”
This jiggy song comes in last because of it’s almost eerie feel. Not that it’s a bad thing, but a lot of the song goes up and down and has a childish tone. A common theme with Twenty One Pilots’ songs is that they have a deeper meaning and a happy feel, but if you didn’t know that, this song would seem pretty silly. The band typically aims for the message of suicide prevention and dealing with inner struggles and insecurities. The repetition plays well in this song, though, with a lot of emotion.
13. “March To The Sea”
Although it's nearing the end of the list, “March To The Sea” contains a lot of good redeeming qualities. With whimsical background vocals/sounds and powerful drumming, this is a great song to listen to when you feel like you need to chill out. On the other hand, out of all of the songs in this album, it isn’t too memorable and there are many other songs that top it. It sounds pretty similar to other Self Titled songs and doesn’t stick out.
12. “Johnny Boy”
The catchy piano and chorus pulls this song to be a likeable one. Another great feature of the song is the bridge near the end, “I will carry all your names and I will carry all your shame” builds this track perfectly. Any fan will tell you what an emotional aspect this part of the song is.
11. “Isle Of Flightless Birds”
A common theme with this album is a lot of instrumental room for the listener to ponder, and the end of this song lets you do just that. For about the last minute, the piano turns slower and slower, after a song filled with heavy content. The recognizable beginning was constructed by using a harpsichord, topping the other 3 songs. Again with “Johnny Boy,” to an average listener, Tyler’s voice used to be a bit whiny, but using his full voice in this song tops it.
10. “Taxi Cab”
A passionate favorite, “Taxi Cab” is more of a slower song where the singer wants you to focus on the lyrics more than the instrumental. The best lyrics are “don’t be afraid,” where it seems like Tyler sings a bit weaker, which is to construe a helpless feeling. He sings with power at the end after the bridge, telling a story, therefore making it rank higher than the others.
9. “A Car, A Torch, A Death”
“A Car, A Torch, A Death” is one of the fewer Twenty One Pilots songs that focus on Tyler Joseph’s battle with religion. In his first solo album, he had more songs focusing on the heavy topic. This song ranks at No. 9 because Joseph was able to gracefully carry it over through metaphors into this piece. The use of symbols and whistles consistently throughout the song also wraps the song together as well.
8. “Oh Ms Believer”
This song is a slower one with “christmas-y” imagery, but the lyrics have always made fans shed a tear. “Oh Ms Believer” battles one's insecurities while again, comparing it to other objects with figurative language. The angelic and calm-paced singing ties it all together. Since it is unlike most other Twenty One Pilots’ songs, it takes a higher place.
7. “Implicit Demand For Proof”
The long intro in this song is what truly builds the emotion and connects all of the instruments together. With a soft introduction on the keys, comes a loud jump into the lyrics that makes this one a song for when you’re in a mood. The ending also is one you can scream to, a perfect song to let some anger out through.
6. “Before You Start Your Day”
Sad song, yet, so good. The idea behind this song is to show how hard a morning after a bad night can be, going back to how the band sings a lot about deeper issues with more commonly “happy” instrumentals. This song is a personal favorite because the emotion, insecurity and battle with suicide is very prominent and almost transparent in Joseph’s words. The build in his vocals also make for a very impactful feeling before it slows down again in the end.
5. “Friend, Please”
Honestly, everything about this song is just loveable and the singer’s use of glissando is almost addicting. “Friend, Please” is a very catchy song with a lot of great instrumental work behind it. This song is about encouraging someone to think about other ways to go on instead of contemplating suicide, which helps a lot of fans and sends a powerful message through the music.
4. “Air Catcher”
Another song with what seems a slow start, but jumps into heavy drumming. “Air Catcher” is another one of those classic TØP songs with an addictive feel and one everyone loves. The bass drum is also strategically placed behind the lyrics in this which helps build the song even more. While the use of autotune may seem corny, it adds a techo feel which contrasts with the end of the song, acoustic vocals with backing vocals, which is very uncommon for the band at the time.
The message behind “Trapdoor” has always hit close to home and depicting the lyrics is a great part about what this band does. Partially going along with “Before You Start Your Day,” this song also conveys insecurity and hiding oneself.
The best lyric(s) would have to be, “Finish his waste of a life / everyone gather around for a show / watch as this man disappears as we know / do me a favor and try to ignore / when you watch him fall through a bleeding trapdoor.” The idea of putting a “mask” on to hide oneself because they are too unsure of themselves is depicted very well on this track.
2. “Addict With A Pen”
An infamous underrated Twenty One Pilots song. Every fan could tell you how well written this piece is and how amazing the imagery the singer uses connects with the band and its message as a whole. This song is a truly vulnerable collage of words full of desperation and regret.
The movie you create in your mind to this song will make you go deep into thought. Tyler uses water as a symbol for life, “I haven’t found a drop of water” compared to “I haven’t found a drop of life,” while he, once again, battles suicidal thoughts. He again uses metaphors to compare an actual desert with the “desert of [his] mind” in order to portray loneliness.
1. “Fall Away”
Tyler Joseph reuses a rap from his solo album, No Phun Intended that was released and then unreleased a decade ago. Connecting that album to his first group album proves how much that verse meant to him. Tyler repurposed this song with the same religious aspect and struggles with his spirituality.
The boys have also played this song special in concert as well and the energy is always very hyped up. Everything about this song is just perfect, from the trumpet in concert played by Dr. Blum to the intensity throughout.