I like a lot of different music – pop, slow rock, Christian contemporary, opera, musicals, even country (pretty much limited to Hunter Hayes and Taylor Swift, though). I’ve never loved blues or jazz because the winds hurt my ears. I’ve listened to rap my entire life, but didn’t really enjoy it up until about a year ago, when I was introduced to twenty øne piløts and Hamilton. (I’ve been a fan of Hamilton since like last February, though. #hipsterfan) Since I’ve started liking rap, I’ve branched out to include Heath McNease (kind of hip-hop rap) and… well that’s it, but I’m getting there!
I’ve really fallen in love with tøp, though, and have become such trash that I’ve even started listening to Tyler’s pre-tøp solo album, since I’ve memorized all of the songs from their other albums, including the unreleased songs. (‘Time to Say Goodbye’ included. “And I’m standing on a tower trying my hardest to make it to You but I built this tower out of mortal bricks, so break it. I truly will surrender my pretender, my disguise, and I’ll truly start to render to Your splendor so it’s time to say goodbye.” Listen to it. You know you want to.) I’m so glad they’re getting recognized now, and basically everybody knows who they are because of ‘Stressed Out’ slowly emerging on the radio. And now everybody’s in the sick-as-frick skeleton clique of ukulele screamo art.
I want to just list their entire discography for my favorite songs list, but if you only have a short amount of time (before getting totally obsessed and listening to all of their music), listen to these, my absolute favorites. (They’re ranked by order of release, not by favorite. Because you guys know I can’t do that.)
Drown || No Phun Intended (Tyler’s solo album)
Here I come again to You / Just to show that blood soaked through / Through my bones and all I own / Is there a way for me to grow? / I walk to You, rain falls from You / Can You wash me? Can You drown me? / Please?
This song actually has the beginning of a later tøp song (‘Fall Away‘) in it, starting from “Every time I feel selfish ambition is taking my vision,” which is probably why I love it so much. It’s so beautiful – a heart-wrenching plea for God and the waves of His mercy and grace to drown us. Another line really sums up where I am right now: “Back and forth between being me and who You call me to be.”
Addict with a Pen || twenty øne piløts
You specialize in dying / You hear me screaming Father / And I’m lying here just crying / So wash me with Your water
I discovered this album after I listened to all of Blurryface and Vessel (bless you, Amazon Prime Music), and this was the first song I fell in love with, partially because I’m a writer, but mostly because it’s just beautiful.
Air Catcher || twenty øne piløts
And I just don’t say what you want to hear / So I’ll write my fears / And I don’t believe in talking just to breathe / And falling selfishly // I won’t fall in love with falling / I will try to avoid those eyes / ‘Cause I’m not sure I want to give you tools that can destroy my heart
This song is kind of the antonym to ‘Tear in My Heart.’ I initially loved this song basically because of the words and the ending (that harmony – oh my gosh), but I really fell in love with it when I connected with it a few months ago.
Isle of Flightless Birds || twenty øne piløts
How frustrating and so degrading / His time, we’re wasting / As time will fly by and the sky will cry as light is fading / And He is waiting, oh so patiently / While we repeat the same routine as we will please comfortability / Please don’t think about why you can’t sleep in the evening / And please don’t be afraid of what your soul is really thinking / Your soul knows good and evil, your soul knows both sides / And it’s time you pick your battle, and I promise you this is mine
I’ve already talked to you guys about this song, but that’s why it’s on this list – I love it so much! It’s so great (once you get past the different styles). This one’s just amazing. The meaning really hit me when I listened to it a few months ago and it’s been a favorite ever since.
Kitchen Sink || Regional at Best
Are you searching for purpose? / Then write something, yeah it might be worthless / Then paint something then, it might be wordless / Pointless curses, nonsense verses / You’ll see purpose start to surface / No one else is dealing with your demons / Meaning maybe defeating them / Could be the beginning of your meaning, friend.
This song doesn’t have many words, but when it does… they’re amazing. The verse above really inspires me to write when I feel like nobody cares about what I write, and to write about the things that I’m personally struggling with. (Plus, I’ve almost got Zack’s rap down. *sunglasses emoji*)
Glowing Eyes || Regional at Best
I know there’s someone at the door / They called for help, of this I’m sure / But do I want to say goodbye to all the glowing eye / I’m holding on to what I know / And what I know, I must let go / But I would rather play a song for the eyes to sing along.
“This one’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds, but the lyrics are so down.” This is the song I dance to at three in the afternoon when I’m the only one at home. I had it stuck in my head a few weeks ago when I was taking a final, and I rewarded passing by going home and dancing to it again. The part where Tyler sings, “Redemption’s not that far, and darkness is going down” always makes me so happy. And the line that goes, “We all know somebody who know somebody who’s doing great; I know some people who know people who are flying straight” is SO ACCURATE. And Josh sings part of it (listen at 1:34 for him in the background), so YAY.
Lovely || Regional at Best
Won’t you stay alive? / I’ll take you on a ride / I will make you believe you are lovely.
This is one of those songs I wish I could sing to certain people late at night, accompanied by some sick ukulele. (And sometimes that person is myself.)
Clear || Regional at Best
I’m the son of all I’ve done / Impostor, been fostered, then my new father drained my dirty blood // I will tell you what I can / But your mind will take a stand / I sing of a greater love / Let me know when you’ve had enough.
This is the song I tell people to go listen to when they say that tøp isn’t Christian. (I mean, we can get into that debate in the comments, but the way I see it, it’s a band by Christians with subliminal Christian messages – “cleverly masking [His] words,” if you will. And that’s good enough for me.) It’s about witnessing and sharing the Gospel with people. I especially love the last chorus.
Holding Onto You || Vessel
Fight it / Take the pain, ignite it / Tie a noose around your mind / Loose enough to breathe fine and tie it to a tree / Tell it, “You belong to me / This ain’t a noose, this is a leash. / And I have news for you: you must obey me.”
This is the first tøp song that made me cry. We’re talking ugly sobbing in the car while I’m driving to the preschool to pick up the kids I nanny. It was not a pretty sight – but it changed me forever. (Go watch the official music video, then the behind the scenes video and try not to cry. And then come listen to the song again and let yourself cry because this is a beautiful song.)
Screen || Vessel
I do not know why I would go / In front of You and hide my soul / Cause You’re the only one who knows it.
This is the second song from Vessel that I fell in love with, and I think it’s pretty accurate. It’s about coming to God, totally opened to Him, and letting Him take control. The “we’re broken people” chorus in the end is Oceans-Spirit-lead-me levels of glory and wonder. And the snarkiness behind the line, “While you’re doing fine, there’s some people and I who have a really tough time getting through this life, so excuse us while we sing to the sky” is just unreal. This is why I love Tyler Joseph.
Polarize || Blurryface
Polarize is taking your disguises / Separating them, splitting them up from wrong and right / It’s deciding where to die and deciding where to fight / Deny, deny, denial.
I sang this song the other day as I was trying to keep myself from getting into a meaningless argument with a friend, and it was kind of crazy how much it helped. Plus the screamo part totally lightened my mood. (And I can’t sing this song without thinking of this Vine. “Help me bowl o’ rice, help me bowl o’ rice…”)
Goner || Blurryface
Though I’m weak and beaten down / I’ll slip away into this sound / The ghost of you is close to me / I’m inside-out, you’re underneath // Don’t let me be gone // I’m a goner, somebody catch my breath / I wanna be known by You.
Yes, this is a cover, but it’s Dodie and I love her, so in the words of Anthony Mackie, “Deal with that.” (Here’s the tøp version, complete with screaming.) This is such a beautiful song, it deserves a beautiful piano-only cover, sung in the most pleading, heart-wrenching way possible.
Two more random favorites that don’t really count are Tyler’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (which may be my first dance song at my wedding) and “Twenty One Pilots Down on the Farm” (you know you want to watch it). (Oh, and “The Judge,” which I just learned to play on the ukulele. *sunglasses emoji*)
Again, I love all of their songs, but these are my absolute favorite. So what about you guys? See any you like? What about ones you LOVE?! Let’s talk!