You need only take a cursory glance at the streaming figures that accompany any one of Twenty One Pilots' chart-busting singles to realise they're one of the biggest bands on the planet right now. But to describe the Ohio duo – made up of vocalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun – as simply a rock band is to do their genre-blending signature style a disservice. One of their most distinctive talents is their ability to combine club-ready basslines and catchy guitar riffs with soulful, calming vocals and killer hooks, cherry-picking the best of myriad genres as they go.
With everything from film score credits to Grammy awards under their belts, the band's accolades help to showcase just how diverse they really are – and make it even more difficult to pigeonhole them as any one genre or style. With hints of Linkin Park’s penchant for combining techno, rap and rock, along with a healthy dose of reggae and house influences, their best songs are both technically brilliant and ageless hits.
Their most successful album to date, 2015's Blurryface, had every single go Gold, so we eagerly await the launch of their fifth album, Trench, in October. Here, to celebrate the new album, we take a look back at their best 10 songs yet.
10. Levitate (Trench, 2018)
The third single from upcoming album Trench sticks with the same vibe as previous singles Jumpsuit and Nico And The Niners, placing itself in the middle of the dystopian Trench universe Tyler and Josh have created within the album's narrative – it’s really worth watching the music videos to really engulf yourself in the album’s story. With a strong rap focus and sombre tones, its great beat will be sure to get you dancing.
9. Truce (Vessel, 2013)
This vulnerable, mellow track is an entrancing lullaby which provides a haunting end to third album Vessel. It’s just Tyler and a piano, ballad-style, allowing the song's raw emotion to shine through. Stylistically, it’s very different to a lot of the band’s other music, but their ability to experiment within multiple genres is part of what makes them to special. The song's simplicity allows you to really focus on what Tyler's trying to express.
8. Ride (Blurryface, 2015)
This powerful, catchy tune spent six weeks at number one on the Billboard chart, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s packed full of riffs and synth lines that will stick in your head for days, and is full of creative, slightly cryptic, lyrics. Bonus points for all those who manage to nail the rap section!
7. Holding Onto You (Regional At Best, 2011)
Arguably one of the shining stars from the duo’s second – and now hugely hard to find – album, Regional At Best, this song is another great example of the band’s upbeat introspection. It almost feels as if we’re being talked through Tyler’s writing process; an intriguing insight. The song was also partially re-recorded for follow-up album Vessel, and released as its first single in 2013.
6. Lane Boy (Blurryface, 2015)
The slightly lumbering, off-kilter beat of this song has a hint of reggae to it, and is a great backdrop to the self-aware and reflective lyrics which poke at the music industry. A great track for both laid-back afternoons in the park and letting out a bit of angst.
5. Migraine (Vessel, 2013)
Upbeat and sunny melodies combine with hopeful lyrics in this fun and energetic track. This feel is somewhat surprising, considering the lyrical focus on mental struggles that make it instantly relatable. It’s one of many great tracks from their album 2013's Vessel, but is still as relevant and fresh-sounding today.
4. Car Radio (Vessel, 2013)
A rhythmic delight with a rawness in the lyrics that is rarely found in this genre. This song has a delicate melody played on the keys that is gradually built over with synth and increasingly complex drums. It is a prime example of the duo’s genius, as it builds in just the right places but retains a poetic simplicity.
3. Jumpsuit (Trench, 2018)
This was the first teaser from upcoming album Trench, and it is already a firm fan favourite. Tyler's distinctive vocals, the heavy, brooding guitar parts and well-placed lulls and crescendo combine with Josh’s virtuosic drumming to make this an instant hit.
2. Heathens (Suicide Squad: The Album, 2016)
Perfectly representing the dark undertones of Suicide Squad on the movie’s soundtrack, this song is full of moody lyrics underpinned by strong rhythms and some unexpectedly delicate keyboard work. In fact, the film's entire soundtrack is full of quality music, such as Sucker For Pain by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Imagine Dragons, and AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
1. Stressed Out (Blurryface, 2015)
The band’s break-through single won the duo a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and is still, in our opinion, their best song to date. It’s the kind of complex melody, with its slew of catchy hooks, that will get caught in a loop in your head, and have you humming along for hours after you’ve heard it.
Twenty One Pilots' new album, Trench, will be released on October 05 via Fueled By Ramen. They head out on tour in October – check out the full dates now.