Twenty One Pilots are one of my all time favorite bands making music right now. They have really interesting lyricism that’s usually unique, if not genuinely profound, and they blend genres in ways that are both engaging and genuinely pleasant to listen to. Not to mention, from what I can tell, both lead singer/songwriter Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun are genuinely great people who have made a shockingly positive impact on the world — and that’s not something you can often say about anyone with any degree of fame. Seriously, if you look into what Tyler and Josh have done over the years, they have a fantastic overall track-record.
However, that’s not to imply that they’re perfect, or anything like that, because they’ve recorded their fair share of shit over the years, as well as dozens of absolute gems, and today I’m going to be looking at both. So without further ado, join me in ranking all 95 Twenty One Pilots songs from worst to best. Let’s fucking do this.
95 — Trees, from Regional at Best (2011)
So….Regional at Best is Twenty One Pilots’ second album, and it’s just not very good. In fact, it’s so not very good that not only has the band officially discontinued it, but they rerecorded a handful of the songs from it on a different album and made them way better. Trees is one of the songs that was rerecorded, and thank god for that, because the Regional at Best version is fucking intolerable! Trees features some excellent lyricism from Tyler Joseph, as he explores his connection to his faith, while both doubting whether any of it is real and desperately hoping that it is. I’ll talk about this more as we move through the list, but both Tyler and Josh are Christians, and this is often reflected in their music. However, as an Atheist, this has never especially bothered me, and I think they do an absolutely fantastic job at discussing and exploring their faith without getting preachy or it feeling like they’re trying to convert people or any such bullshit. But despite the positives, the RaB version of Trees is fucking ruined by the instrumentation and vocal performance, especially the vocals. Tyler decided to layer fucking dozens of vocal effects onto his voice until it sounded so processed and fake that it creates a nails on a chalkboard effect, and as a result, I find this song to be genuinely unlistenable. I am unable to get all the way through it in one sitting. In my notes for this article, I gave this song a zero. Yeah, it’s that bad. Way to ruin something good.
94 — Be Concerned (feat. Jocef), from Regional at Best (2011)
Remember everything I said about them being good at discussing Christianity without being obnoxious? Yeah this song is one of the few examples of Tyler getting preachy. With lyrics that are somehow both annoyingly obvious and painfully vague, combined with a boring, poorly put together instrumental, this is easily one of the weakest songs they’ve ever written. While it’s a step up from RaB’s Trees — in that I’m able to actually sit down and listen to it — it’s pretty fucking cringey and annoying, and I imagine that this is what most Twenty One Pilots skeptics think the band sounds like. This one’s probably, like, a 3/10 or so.
93 — Before You Start Your Day, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Twenty One Pilots’ debut Self-Titled album features a lot of weird vocal performances on it, but this has to be one of the most whack of the bunch. It feature Tyler at his most voice-crackiest, while also singing about….presumably something? I don’t know, it feels like he’s trying to be poetic, but he’s singing about eyes and calling them “slits in your face”, and it’s just fucking bizarre. Not to mention, its instrumentation is drab and boring as fuck. Basically just a light piano. Nothing interesting to see here whatsoever, although I should mention that, again, this is another big step up from Be Concerned.
92 — House of Gold, from Regional at Best (2011)
This is another song that got rerecorded later on, and….wow, this original version sucks balls. This is so bad that it wasn’t even originally included on the album, it was a fucking bonus track, and I can completely understand why. This takes what should be a heartfelt, ukulele-driven ballad about Tyler’s mother and somehow ruins it with a weird effect on the uke and some of the worst compression on Tyler’s voice that I’ve ever heard. People joke that Regional at Best sounds like it was recorded in a microwave, and this song is a textbook example of that. While it’s not nearly as bad as Trees, this is another example of a song whose potential is squandered so horrifically that it’s borderline unlistenable for me.
91 — Lovely, from Regional at Best (2011)
Yet another track that was rerecorded on a later album, Lovely shows that no matter how sweet a concept you have, you still need good mixing and competent production for a song to work. The lyrics of this song are genuinely wonderful, as Tyler talks to a friend — or possibly a lover? — about how wonderful he thinks they are in an effort to talk them out of suicide, and it’s a shame that he layered twenty autotune effects on his voice in the chorus and went to full-on voice crack town in the verses. Not to mention, the electronics here sound tacky as fuck and do not work at all. God, I hope we make it out of the shitty demos section soon, cause I’m now ready to talk about some of their actual good music.
90 — A Car, A Torch, A Death, from twenty one pilots (2009)
This song actually has a really interesting instrumental going on. It’s got an interesting as hell beat behind it that had me snapping along from beginning to end, although the whole vibe was kind of ruined by both the lyrics and Tyler’s fucking voice. I’m comfortable calling this his worst vocal performance that doesn’t involve autotune, although it’s genuinely hard to tell whether the true culprit is the compression or his actual singing, although both do seem to be terrible. Combine that with some more tacky and obvious lyrics pertaining to Tyler’s faith, and this song is a skip for me just about every time.
89 — Trapdoor, from twenty one pilots (2009)
This song has a lot more going for it than any of the previous ones on the list. It has a genuinely good instrumental that consists of a fantastic blending of piano and electronics, and has some really interesting visual metaphors in its lyrics pertaining to trapdoors and mental health. Also, his singing in the chorus is genuinely great, and this song features the first excellent Tyler Joseph scream on the entire list (the House of Gold Demo’s doesn’t count). Unfortunately, this is balanced out by some pretty unbearable singing in the verses, which makes this one a skip for me most of the time. Still, they’re clearly getting better (which makes sense, as this is a worst to best list).
88 — Polarize, from Blurryface (2015)
Ah yes, the first “modern” Twenty One Pilots song to show up on the list. This one’s pretty straight forward for me, cause there’s a lot to like about this song. First of all, it fucking slaps. It takes a minute to pick up, but once it does, you will be bopping your head along to the music, and I found myself humming along a couple times. This song also has some interesting significance to the whole concept that Blurryface was going for, which makes picking apart the lyrics super rewarding. Unfortunately, this song’s chorus is monotonous as fuck, and that kinda kills the whole experience for me. It’s just the same phrase repeated in a monotone over and over again, and it comes up really fucking often. So while this song is far more listenable than a lot of the ones I’ve discussed so far, I don’t really listen to it all that often cause I expect better from them, and I have many better songs to choose from.
87 — Implicit Demand for Proof, from twenty one pilots (2009)
This song is pretty inoffensive, honestly. It has an absolutely gorgeous opening piano melody, that transitions pretty smoothly into the almost jaunty feeling that this piano/electronics-driven song has. In terms of lyrics, it’s an interesting piece about Tyler begging any god that does exist to reveal themself to him, even if it means taking his life to do so. It’s pretty subtle, mostly uses metaphors, and….is completely ruined by Tyler’s vocal performance in the verses. He’s pretty good in the chorus, but in those verses, man oh man is he not good. I listen to this song every once in a while, but it has some flaws that are pretty hard to swallow, even if it’s a decent step up from the previous few songs on this lsit.
86 — Johnny Boy, from twenty one pilots (2009)
This song is boring. The lyrics are too vague to really pull any meaning from, the singing is monotonous and generally bad, and the chorus sounds like it was compressed in the microwave that they recorded Regional at Best in. The instrumental is just some piano chords played over and over, and I would be comfortable calling this the single most forgettable song Twenty One Pilots have ever recorded.
85 — Ode to Sleep, from Regional at Best (2011)
Even though this is another demo that later got rerecorded, it’s an unambiguous step up from the previous one. Even though Tyler’s vocals sound like shit in the pre-chorus, and the instrumental sounds like shit in everything but the chorus, the chorus actually comes together really well. The instrumental is just the right amount of sweet, and Tyler’s vocals genuinely soar. It also has a really nice ending that leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth. While it’s got nothing on the version recorded for Vessel, I can totally vibe to this version every now and then.
84 — Choker, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Not everyone’s a fan of the more upbeat and poppy direction Twenty One Pilots went with Scaled and Icy, but I generally dig it. Unfortunately, Choker is the one exception. It’s just too fucking boring and one-note for me to get over it. The rest of it sounds pretty decent, and it’s got some nice soaring vocals here and there, but there’s just nothing going on here at all, either lyrically or sonically. I will stand up and fight to defend a lot of the tracks on this album that people seem to hate, but I won’t even deny how skippable and boring Choker is.
83 — Not Today, from Blurryface (2015)
Not Today has a lot going for it. First of all, it’s an absolute, undeniable vibe. Second of all, it has some great metaphors going on in the chorus and bridge, and third of all, it’s catchy as fuck. Unfortunately, the first verse is kinda whatever, and the second verse is cringey as hell, and these hold it back a lot. Still, I won’t lie to you, I jam to this song fairly often. Think of it as my Twenty One Pilots guilty pleasure.
82 — Doubt, from Blurryface (2015)
Doubt is a perfectly alright song. It has a nice electronic riff to it, it’s got some kinda interesting lyricism, and it comes together into a song that I’ll jam to once every few months, and otherwise pretty much forget. I’ll be honest, this track was lower down, but then I heard them perform an absolutely fantastic version of it live, and that improved my perception of it a bit.
81 — Slowtown, from Regional at Best (2011)
Slowtown is a song about Tyler Joseph’s nostalgia for his childhood, and how he feels like his life is getting away from him and moving too quickly to keep up. For what it is, it works, although his singing can get a bit rough at points. It also has what I consider to be one of the worst rap breakdowns Tyler has ever written, including the line “when using Pokémon cards, please do not use the holographics”, which like…..I get what he was going for, but the delivery is fucking terrible and makes me cringe every time. Other than that, it has a great buildup to a patented Tyler Joseph scream at the end, and I vibe with a good portion of the song. At the end of the day, I think Stressed Out did this concept a bit better, but I do not mind Slowtown at all.
80 — The Pantaloon, from twenty one pilots (2009)
This song is probably my textbook definition of an “alright” Twenty One Pilots song. It’s got lyrics that are interesting enough to be engaging without really saying anything all that deep, and a pretty solid electronic instrumental to back it up. As this is from the first album, Tyler’s singing ranges from mediocre to pretty good, and….yeah that’s it. I have nothing against this song, really, it’s just that nothing sticks out either. This is the embodiment of the early Twenty One Pilots formula, right here.
79 — Clear, from Regional at Best (2011)
Like many songs from Regional at Best, this song desperately needs some subtlety. Tyler really wants you to know what he thinks about his religion, and as a result, this song also gives off some really annoying preachy vibes. However, it also has a great instrumental backing it, and Tyler’s singing/rapping actually sounds pretty good here, especially for Regional at Best. I don’t come back to this song very often, but I don’t mind it either. It’s also a weird as fuck ending to the album, which is why I always include the two bonus tracks when I listen to it all the way through.
78 — Guns for Hands, from Regional at Best (2011)
This is the first of the tracks to later be rerecorded that I can actually kind of vibe to. Like don’t get me wrong, it has many of the same problems that this album has in general, but I feel like they’re tempered by this being a fucking gem of a song. It’s a love letter from Tyler to his fanbase, offering his music as an escape from any physical or emotional pain they may be feeling, and reflecting on his hopes that it can be used to help save people from taking their own lives. It’s extremely heartfelt, and the writing is genuinely excellent. Tyler’s performance on the track — even in this earlier version — is also fantastic, and it’s only really held back by the standard shitty mixing and electronics you can expect from this album. It should say something about how strong the writing is that I’m able to overlook that and place it this high, and as for the rerecorded version, well…let’s just say that you probably won’t be seeing it for quite awhile.
77 — Stressed Out, from Blurryface (2015)
Ah yes, Stressed Out. The song that is largely responsible for Twenty One Pilots’ success is…..alright, I suppose. It does a lot to further the concept of Blurryface, with it being the first time on the album that we hear Blurryface speak directly to us, and also has a pretty catchy chorus. I guess my main issue is that the first verse really doesn’t work for me, and the whole song feels a bit….bland, I guess. This song is essentially responsible for getting me into Twenty One Pilots, and while I’ll be forever grateful for that, it doesn’t really stack up against most of their other songs.
76 — The Run and Go, from Vessel (2013)
Oh look, the first song from Vessel! That definitely says something about the overall quality of that album, even if I personally don’t dig this song all that much. Even though it has a great hook and an insanely catchy breakdown — as well as some interesting lyrics and a patented Tyler Joseph scream at the end — I just can’t fully get into this song because of the repetitive, boring nature of the verses. Seriously, that kick drum is way too fucking loud! It’s practically unbearable at times. I don’t often skip this song when listening to Vessel, as it contributes to the full album experience, but I almost never listen to it outside of that context.
75 — Tear in My Heart, from Blurryface (2015)
To start with positives, Tear in My Heart has incredibly heartfelt lyrics, and a stunningly well-done bridge. Seriously, that catchy little base-riffs that play as Tyler sings about trying to avoid potholes while driving to not wake up his wife is a combination that I didn’t think I needed. How does it work that well? Mostly because Tyler’s voice sells it perfectly. Unfortunately, the rest of the song is kind of whatever. The piano clashes with the feeling the song seems to be going for, and when synths are finally added at the end, they feel over-produced and kinda corny. This song has some great stuff to enjoy, but the overall product is kinda whatever.
74 — March to the Sea, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Let’s get one thing out of the way. This song’s lyrics are fucking incredible. They tell this story about this dreary march into the ocean, where everyone’s just trecking lifelessly forward to their demise, and then Tyler’s offered an alternate path, which he takes, but then realizes that this path is just an alternate march to the sea. It servers as both a metaphor for life, and a metaphor for the conformity of society, and I just absolutely love it. I also think the understated instrumentation works really well, and Tyler’s vocals tie the whole thing together sonically. My only gripe is that this song should have been shorter. There are too many choruses, and they all go on for too long, and it kinda kills the pacing of the overall experience. Still, I really respect this song for its ideas, and it’s never one I skip when it comes on.
73 — Air Catcher, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Air Catcher comes tantalizingly close to greatness before fucking it all up right at the end. It’s about the anxieties that can come with falling in love, and how it can feel like giving somebody the tools to destroy you if they were to choose to do so, it has a great heavy piano-driven instrumentation, and both the choruses and verses work really well for me. My only gripe, really, is that the instrumentation can come off a bit flat every now and then, but that’s really just a nitpick. And then the bridge happens, and holy shit is that autotune irredeemable. It just….it takes everything good and shits on it, until the song is a 6/10. What a fucking disappointment. Oh well, at least the alternate version’s better.
72 — Heathens, from Suicide Squad: The Album (2016)
Considering it’s a song written for 2016’s Suicide Squad, Heathens is an impressively good song. Not only did Tyler Joseph basically refuse to write lyrics about the actual movie, instead choosing to write it about his fanbase and tie it into the Blurryface lore, but it also just sounds really nice. It’s got an ear-wormy melody, a great buildup to a fun payoff, and it’s really fun to sing along to it during live shows. With that being said, it’s pretty basic (as is often the case with singles written for movies), and I just don’t think it can stack up against the rest of Twenty One Pilots’ discography.
71 — Holding On To You, from Regional at Best (2011)
Pretty much everything positive I said about Guns for Hands applies here as well. Is this version infinitely version to the rerecorded version on Vessel? Yes. But that honestly doesn’t matter. The ideas here are too strong, and Tyler gives a pretty damn good vocal performance on this track. The synths are still tacky tho. I’ll go more in-depth on the version that I adore from Vessel.
70 — Never Take It, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
This here is a pretty solid light rock song. It’s the first proper guitar-driven Tyler’s ever written, and it’s a novelty in that sense, and in the context of their discography. Unfortunately, while the lyrics do definitely tie into the concept that runs throughout both Scaled and Icy and Trench, I don’t think it’s explored as elegantly as it could have been. So while it’s a decent listen that I don’t ever skip, it’s not one I come back to all that often either.
69 — Ride, from Blurryface (2015)
Ride has a lot going for it. A catchy hook, a fun instrumental, and some rather interesting lyrics about taking a step back and trying to enjoy life, anxiety be damned. Unfortunately, it’s kinda ruined by the shitty effects placed on Tyler’s vocals for a good 2/3 of the song. Honestly kinda reminds me of the issues a lot of the music on Regional at Best had.
68 — Kitchen Sink feat. Zack Joseph, from Regional at Best (2011)
This song is so fucking weird. It goes between these really strange verses in which Tyler raps about finding meaning through creating art that only he can understand, and then switches into this ethereal chorus where Tyler pleads for….someone….. to just go away and leave him alone. It’s an odd combination, made even odder when Tyler’s brother Zack raps a verse out of the blue near the end of the song. It’s not really that any of these parts are bad on their own, it’s just that they kinda clash and make for a very disjointed and strange-to-listen to song that I don’t often have the desire to put on.
67 — Semi-Automatic, from Vessel (2013)
Awhile back, I described The Pantaloon as the definition of an alright Twenty One Pilots song, and I think this is the slightly better equivalent of that. This song does absolutely nothing wrong per-say, it’s just not as fun or interesting to listen to as the songs above it. Still, a fun vibe nonetheless.
66 — Laneboy, from Blurryface (2015)
This right here is a super mid Blurryface song. It’s got a great underlying groove, an absolutely fantastic drum solo as an outro, and Tyler does a good job exploring the difficulties of keeping his artistic freedom intact under the pressures of the music industry. In between all of this, we’re forced to deal with a pretty monotonous and uninteresting chorus, and a weird rap verse that feels like it was created by the Twenty One Pilots rap AI. I jam to this song quite frequently, but it’s definitely not without its faults.
65 — Bounce Man, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Bounce Man is a fun vibe, and that’s about it. It has no lyrical depth, and it doesn’t need to, and it just….goes for a couple minutes, being a fun and catchy pop song, until it ends. Seeing as that’s basically the entire point of Scaled and Icy, I think it works pretty well. It also has a few fun nods to the lore here and there, and…yeah I have nothing against this song. I just wouldn’t really pick it over any of the songs I rank above it.
64 — Car Radio, from Regional at Best (2011)
I believe this is the last of the demos that were later rerecorded, and…yeah I don’t mind this one. It probably has the fewest noticeable changes in it, and even though it undeniably sounds worse than the Vessel version (seriously, how do you fuck up the mixing this bad?), the ideas are very strong and it works for what it is.
63 — Heavydirtysoul, from Blurryface (2015)
I really like this song. The rap verses are super fun, it has a super engaging beat, and the lyrics are, for the most part, super interesting. Even though I don’t think this is their best work, I listen to it fairly often and always have a good time with it. I think it works really well as Blurryface’s opening track, and my only gripe with it is the line about how “gangster’s don’t cry”, which just doesn’t work for me at all. Congrats folks, we’ve made it into the realm of the songs that I unequivocally like.
62 — Formidable, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Formidable is a cute, fun song that Tyler wrote for his wife. It’s a vibe, and I love it, even if it’s not particularly interesting or anything like that. Yeah, I have nothing to say about this one, really.
61 — Fall Away, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Fall Away is an interesting one for me. I absolutely love the lyrics, and I think the verses and instrumentation are really, really good. It explores the standard themes of their Self-Titled album, about struggling with faith and battling with inner demons, and all that stuff, and I just…generally like it. Unfortunately, the chorus can be kind of hit or miss depending on where in the song it happens, and that really holds it back for me. A lot of my issues here are fixed in the live version featuring Dr. Blum though, which can be found on Youtube and is 100% worth listening to.
60 — Christmas Saves the Year – Single (2020)
This is the only Christmas themed pop song that I’ve ever enjoyed. It has a great bittersweet feeling to it as Tyler reminisces about all the shit we had to put up with in 2020, yet how the holidays bring an uplifting feeling to him despite that. It’s a quite touching song, and it was just what I needed to listen to back when it came out. I highly recommend giving it a listen this Holiday season if you’re looking for a new Christmas song to add to your rotation.
59 — The Judge, from Blurryface (2015)
The Judge is an interesting ukulele ballad placed in the middle of Blurryface. In the song, Tyler contemplates whether God would be willing to accept him if he were to die today, or whether he’d be cast into hell. It’s a pretty well-written song — never particularly obvious as to the subject matter, unless you know where to look — and it’s got an insanely ear-wormy hook as well as a great vocal performance from Tyler. This is just a super well-rounded, good song, and the only reason it’s not any higher is it doesn’t have that extra oomf that so many Twenty One Pilots songs have.
58 — Can’t Help Falling in Love (Cover) – Single (2012)
There’s nothing to really say here. This is just cute, and that’s all there is to it. Hating on this is like hating on a puppy.
57 — Truce, from Vessel (2013)
This is beautiful, tranquil closer to Vessel. It really feels like Tyler’s found temporary peace with himself, and his heartfelt plea to his audience to “stay alive for me, take pride in what is sure to die” really resonates with me whenever I hear it. Unfortunately, I only ever really listen in the context of the album, as it’s quite short and simple, which is what holds it back for me.
56 — Good Day, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Good Day does a perfect job setting the tone for the rest of the album, which is what a good opener should do. On the surface, it’s super light and peppy, but the lyrics are dark as fuck and it produces this fantastic sense of wrongness to this whole thing. Not every song on this album manages to pull that off, but this one absolutely does, and honestly the only thing holding it back is just other songs being better.
55 — Glowing Eyes, from Regional at Best (2011)
Glowing Eyes a great cut from Regional at Best. One of the better ones on the album, I think. It’s got some great vocals, a really bouncy and fun instrumental, and some great metaphors and symbolism in the lyrics. It’s also catchy as hell, and features the only time in Twenty One Pilots history that drummer Josh Dun has contributed vocals to a song, which is cool.
54 — Fairly Local, from Blurryface (2015)
This right here is one that I’m conflicted on. On the one hand, I absolutely love the instrumentation and vibe of this song. On the other hand, some of the lyrics are….really bad, and Tyler’s vocal performance, while not bad, isn’t especially impressive either. At the end of the day, the deciding factor for me is that this song does a lot to advance the concept of the album. Like, more than pretty much every other song on the album. This song sees Tyler and Blurryface arguing with each other directly throughout the entire song, and when put in that context, the lyrics all make a lot more sense. So yeah, I really like this song, but a large chunk of that enjoyment comes from me finding the whole execution of the concept to be really impressive and interesting.
53 — Level of Concern – Single (2020)
This is a charity single that Tyler Joseph wrote during the height of the pandemic about his experience and worry during quarantine. It’s simple and effective, and does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s a vibe, and it was written for a good cause, and I like it.
52 — Lovely, from Vessel (2013)
So here we are, the first of the rerecorded Regional at Best tracks. Let’s start by clarifying that this was not actually released on Vessel, but it was released as a bonus track in Europe, so I’m counting it. This version takes basically everything I liked about the original version, and then places it in the context of genuinely fantastic electronics and a great vocal performance from Tyler. Putting all that together, the song is genuinely great, and it just shows how important something like production can be for a song. Also, they removed all the autotune from the chorus, which was a fantastic decision. All in all, if this is the worst of the rerecorded Regional at Best cuts, that’s pretty fucking great, and is a great indicator of Vessel’s overall quality.
51 — Cancer – Single (2016)
So here we are with one of my most controversial placements, but what can I say? I really dig the Twenty One Pilots Cancer cover. I am of the opinion that the best covers are the ones that do something radically different, and while you may not like what they’ve done with the track, my personal view is that they successfully kept the heart and emotion that the original had, while taking it in a fresh and interesting new direction. Also just for context, this is the first track on this list that I’d give an 8/10 to, so that’s where we are in terms of number scores.
50 — Smithereens, from Trench (2018)
Look at that! We’ve finally made it to the first song from Trench, and we’re also in the top 50 now! Smithereens is a cute and fun interlude on the masterpiece that is Trench, talking about how Tyler loves his wife so much that he’d be willing to get beat up for her. There’s some self-awareness on the track about how he knows it doesn’t really fit with the concept but he’s putting it on anyway, which I actually think was a good call, as it makes for a much nicer tonal transition from Chlorine to Neon Gravestones, and while I definitely think it’s the worst song on Trench by a fair margin, it’s hard to really be mad at it cause it’s genuinely great.
49 — Fake You Out, from Vessel (2013)
Fake You Out is a fantastic deep-cut from Vessel. It opens with a nice, mellow electronic riff that slowly builds over the course of the song, as the lyrics get more and more intense, and it all culminates with a fantastic rap verse that leads into a powerful Tyler Joseph scream. Yeah, I don’t really have any major gripes with this song, I just think it’s great. Good stuff all around.
48 — Two, from Regional at Best (2011)
Two is one of the most singularly unique songs Tyler Joseph has ever written. It’s very lyrically sparse, and is primarily just a few minutes of both beautiful and haunting piano, with a few electronics and drum beats sprinkled in near the end. Tyler Joseph does do a little bit of singing, but it’s primarily high up in his falsetto and almost unnoticeable in the sea of dissonant piano chords resolving into one another. Listening to it is a fucking experience, and I think that it’s a damn shame that this song has never been officially released, because it really deserves more recognition.
47 — Time to Say Goodbye, from Johnny Boy (EP) 
The Johnny Boy EP is one of the first pieces of music Twenty One Pilots ever released. It consists of six songs, five of which were later released on their Self-Titled album, but the one left behind is Time to Say Goodbye. Now to be fair, they had a good reason to leave it behind: copyright law. You see, this song uses a pretty extensive sample of Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s Con te partirò (which translates to Time to Say Goodbye), and even though most of the song is Tyler’s original work, they relied on this sample enough for it to not be possible to release this song on the album and not get sued, which is a damn shame cause the song fucking slaps. It’s got this super raw, vulnerable quality to it, and features some genuinely heart-breaking lyrics from Tyler. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best songs from that era of the band, and it’s a damn shame that so few people seem to know about it.
46 — Addict With a Pen, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Yeah this is a pretty big jump in quality from Fall Away. In fact, this is probably one of the most powerful songs Tyler’s ever written. The shear amount of anguish and longing that he pours into the lyrics is genuinely impressive, and the earnestness with which he sings this song makes up for the weird, scratchy thing he’s doing with his voice throughout a large portion of it. I didn’t properly appreciate this song until recently, but when it finally clicked, it jumped up a lot in my rankings. I think it’s great, and definitely one of the highlights of the Self-Titled album.
45 — Hometown, from Blurryface (2015)
Hometown is an absolute bop with its slick production and eerie vocals. It’s got a super catchy chorus, and a lot of interesting chorus as Tyler reminisces about his hometown — Columbus, Ohio. Seriously, this song is about fucking Columbus, Ohio, and it’s both interesting and fantastic. It should be impossible to write an interesting song about any part of Ohio that’s this good, and yet he somehow pulled it off. Colour me impressed. While not my favorite from Blurryface, Hometown is definitely up there for me.
44 — Isle of Flightless Birds, from twenty one pilots (2009)
Isle of Flightless Birds is the Self-Titled album’s closing track, and I think it works pretty well. It offers closure on a lot of the themes the album explores, and beyond that, I think referring to humanity as an “isle of flightless birds” is just a really interesting idea. Not to mention, it has a fantastic instrumentation and Tyler’s vocal performance on here is pretty damn great. While it’s probably a bit more blunt than modern Twenty One Pilots, I think it fits the tone and style of the album, so I can’t really complain about that.
43 — House of Gold, from Vessel (2013)
The rerecorded version of House of Gold is genuinely great. Tyler’s voice contrasts wonderfully with the ukulele, and he generally sounds fantastic. It’s this nice slow build, as more and more drumming is integrated, along with several other strings, until we get to that wonderful scream at the end. The chorus is also beautiful, and Tyler really gets to show off his vocal range in it, which is awesome. House of Gold is a touching tribute to Tyler’s mother that never really gets old for me. It’s almost incomprehensible how much better this version is, but the difference is genuinely night and day.
42 — Forest, from Regional at Best (2011)
Forest is one of my absolute favorite tracks off of Regional at Best, and for good reason. Its lyrics are incredible — seriously, that bridge gets fucking intense — and it has a really pretty sounding instrumentation on top of that. One particular line that’s always stood out to me in this song is “the stomach in my brain / throws up onto the page”, which I just think is a really interesting way to talk about writing, and the way it tackles emotional detachment in general is really well done. This is one of the few Regional at Best songs that’s genuinely pretty well-done in the production department as well, which is nice.
41 — Anathema, from Regional at Best (2011)
Anathema is just this absolutely incredible slow build into a furious, passionate frenzy at the end of the song. It mostly consists of him asking his anxiety to leave him alone for just one single night, and the requests just turn more and more desperate as the song goes along, until he breaks out into a pained final rap verse at the very end that feels as though he’s throwing every bit of himself into it. The effect it creates is genuinely moving, and…yeah, this song is an absolutely underrated gem. I highly recommend checking it out.
40 — My Blood, from Trench (2018)
My Blood is the fourth track on Trench, and the song actually has a double meaning to it. The first, and arguably more important, meaning is the one with real life significance. Tyler wrote this song for his niece, and it’s apparently inspired by a real scenario that once played out that she and her brother only avoided because they relied on and trusted each other. However, it also plays into the concept of the album, and can definitely be interpreted as Tyler singing about his loyalty to his fellow Banditos as they continue their journey away from the city of DEMA and into the Trench. Either interpretation makes sense and has some power behind it, and that’s part of what I love about this song (and album). Beyond the lyrics, though, this song also has some excellent instrumentation that balances its tone really well. This song honestly doesn’t do anything wrong, there are just 38 other Twenty One Pilots songs that I prefer it to. But for context, this is an 8.5/10 in my book.
39 — Pet Cheetah, from Trench (2018)
Pet Cheetah sees Tyler comparing the creative process that he goes through when writing his songs, and…..it’s a cool idea, but it’s also underdeveloped in the song itself. What saves this song for me is the production and instrumentation going on, because it’s genuinely fantastic. It opens up with this fantastic baseline groove, and then just builds on that as the song goes. This is the rare song where I’m willing to just completely ignore the lyrics, and just vibe with the sound, because it sounds so fucking good.
38 — Saturday, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Saturday is a vibe, and that’s the only reason it’s up here. Its lyrics are bland and pretty whatever, but it’s a fun, poppy dance song on a album of fun, poppy songs, so I just can’t bring myself to be annoyed, especially when it’s this much fun to listen to. I know there’s a lot of hatred in the fanbase for this song, but I just don’t see it. It’s a bop. Also, it has a lot of really fun but subtle instrumental switch-ups throughout the song which I can always appreciate.
37 — Chlorine, from Trench (2018)
Chlorine is over five minutes long, but it feels much shorter. This song is great at throwing enough interesting switch-ups at you to make you feel like it’s always unique and interesting. Combine that with a great overall vibe to the song and some really interesting metaphors sprinkled throughout the lyrics — not to mention the interesting development of lore throughout the song — and you’ve got yourself another fantastic song. It blows my mind that this is actually one of the weaker songs on Trench, but yeah, that album is just that good.
36 — Level of Concern (Live from the Outside), from Location Sessions (2021)
This is a recording of a performance of Level of Concern that Twenty One Pilots (and several extra band members) gave on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon through some sort of remote concert technology, and it honestly blows my mind how fucking amazing it is. It’s got a way more interesting sound than the original version, and has a fucking groove to it that the original lacked. Not to mention, Tyler’s vocals are more interesting as well. Also the horns are so good! It’s a fantastic performance, and I’m really glad it was released as a single, because I basically always choose to listen to this one over the original version.
35 — The Mutemath Sessions – EP (2016)
This EP is a recording of a 30 minute live collaboration Twenty One Pilots did with the band Mutemath, in which they recorded spruced up versions of five Twenty One Pilots songs: Heathens (feat. Mutemath), Heavydirthsoul (feat. Mutemath), Ride (feat. Mutemath), Tear In My Heart (feat. Mutemath), and Lane Boy (feat. Mutemath). I had a lot of difficulty ranking them against each other, so I decided to just put the whole EP here, because basically, they’re all enormous improvements on the original versions. There are none of those annoying effects on Tyler’s voice, the instrumentation is more dynamic, and they’re all just way more fun to listen to. I highly recommend this entire EP, which is why number 35 is a 5-way tie.
34 — Car Radio, from Vessel (2013)
I know this is the boring opinion to have, but fucking hell man, Car Radio is a god damn masterpiece. From the understated piano riff that Tyler tells his story over during the verses, to the soaring, stuttering electronics in the finale, to Tyler’s fucking gorgeous, pained screaming at the end, to the lyrics, to the metaphors, to just….everything. It’s incredibly well-done, and there’s a reason this remains one of the most successful Twenty One Pilots songs ever recorded to this very day.
33 — Shy Away, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
A heartfelt song Tyler wrote about his brother, doubling as the first taste of DEMA propaganda that we received? Yes please, sign me up! This song has a great energy to it, that never feels over-the-top, and yet never flags either, combined with Tyler telling his younger brother Jay to shed his modesty and make the music he wants to make creates a heart-felt, yet oddly danceable experience, which I think was probably the goal. The entire concept of Scaled and Icy is that, until the end, all of the songs sound very Twenty One Pilots-esque, while also sounding fundamentally off at the same time, and I think this song captures that essence perfectly. It was great as a lead single, and it’s even better in the context of the album. (Quick Note: Shy Away (Livestream Version) was released as a single, and while I’m not going to rank it separately from the original, it’s also excellent and well-worth checking out)
32 — Mulberry Street, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Mulberry Street is a vibe and a half. It’s got this slow, plodding groove to it that slowly gets faster as the song goes on, and it just has a celebratory feeling to it that I love. It’s not especially deep or profound, but it does have a lot of DEMA lore in it, if you know where to look. Not to mention, the whole “Keep your bliss, there’s nothing wrong with this” line sounds mind-control-y as fuck, and I love it. That fits right in with the theme and concept of the album. Great stuff all around.
31 — Chlorine (Mexico City), from Location Sessions (2021)
Over the course of two years, Twenty One Pilots created live reimaginings of several of their newer songs and released them as singles. The four songs were Chlorine, Cut My Lip, The Hype, and Level of Concern. The first three were stripped down, slower versions of the songs, and Level of Concern was super spruced up and more energetic. All four were large improvements over the original versions. The Mexico City version of Chlorine is a slow, piano-driven jam. Tyler pours a lot of emotion into his vocal performance, and it’s just a fantastic vibe from start to finish. Despite being way slower than the original, I find myself wanting to dance to this track way more than the other version, and it’s just….it’s great. Not to mention, it’s insanely impressive that they put this together live. Like god damn, Tyler and Josh are talented as hell.
30 — The Outside, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
Kicking off the top 30, we have The Outside, which somehow manages to distill the phrase “mind control” into a cohesive sound, and turn it into a song. The whole vibe feels hypnotic, and that’s before you even mention that fantastic rapping that Tyler does here. Some of his best ever, to be honest. This song is crucial in terms of selling Scaled and Icy’s whole concept to the listener, and I think it absolutely nails it.
29 — Air Catcher (Alternate Version) – Single (2011)
Originally uploaded to their website in 2011, the official “studio” version of Air Catcher fixes literally every gripe I had with the original, and as a result, it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever written. The instrumentation is properly fleshed out, Tyler’s singing is absolutely beautiful, they got rid of the autotune in the bridge, and they just made the whole thing flow together far smoother than it did before. It’s great, it’s a perfect example of what this band were capable of, even in the earlier days, and I love it.
28 — Ruby, from Regional at Best (2011)
And here we are: the final song from Regional at Best. Ruby is a heartfelt, piano-driven ode to a young, sick girl who went to Tyler’s church. The instrumentation has a dreamy, almost ethereal feeling to it, and Tyler’s vocals are honestly pretty great here. It all culminates in some absolutely fantastic Tyler Joseph screams, and just left me feeling immensely satisfied and moved by the end of the song. This is the best thing to come off of Regional at Best, its exclusion from Vessel is a crime, and I will die on both of these hills.
27 — We Don’t Believe What’s On TV, from Blurryface (2015)
What a fun song. An upbeat, ukulele-driven jam about….the death of optimism. This was clearly written to be a crowd-pleaser when performed live, and not only is it definitely that, but it’s also honestly a crowd-pleaser at home coming out of my speakers as well. It’s got so much energy, and I just can’t help but want to sing along whenever I hear it. This is truly one of the best songs Blurryface has to offer.
26 — Goner – Single (2012)
The 2012 version of Goner is a short and sweet accordion-driven journey, as Tyler sorrowfully sings a set of powerful and interesting lyrics. While it doesn’t have the same punch as the 2015 cut that made it onto Blurryface, it’s still a very powerful listen, and it portrays total and utter defeat better than practically any other song I’ve ever heard.
25 — Cut My Lip, from Trench (2018)
Cut My Lip is an interesting song on Trench, as it basically serves to pivot the tone of the album from the pretty lore-heavy fast-paced second third of the album, to the slower build to the finale that is the last leg of the album. It sets a steady, if not particularly fast pace, yet still has a lot of the vibrant energy that emanated from tracks like The Hype and Nico and the Niners. Yet in tone, it definitely feels a bit more like the finale. It’s a bit more somber, and almost feels like Trench’s equivalent of Not Today: a cheerful, up-tempo song with some pretty sad and somber lyrics when you really stop to think. Either way, it’s absolutely fantastic.
24 — Screen, from Vessel (2013)
Screen exists on Vessel right between Semi-Automatic and The Run and Go, and it’s so good that it somehow makes them both look worse by comparison. It starts out with a pretty chill ukulele driven beat, before slowly layering on other sounds until the excellent conclusion that is the bridge combined with the final chorus. It creates a really interesting vibe throughout, and the lyrics are really interesting. This is one of my absolute favorite “Tyler struggles with his faith” songs that he’s ever written, because of the poetic and introspective feeling he offers, without ever feeling like he’s pushing anything on his listeners. It’s a great time, and you should definitely give it a listen. I should mention that everything from here on is firmly a 9/10 or higher.
23 — Bandito, from Trench (2018)
Bandito is a slow-burn that leads into an intense, satisfying conclusion that never lets up for even a moment once it really gets going. This song takes its sweet time getting to wear it needs to go, being five and a half minutes long, but every moment feels deliberate and worth it. Tyler’s vocals are genuinely beautiful for the entire thing, the various electronic layers blend perfectly with Josh’s drumming, and it all comes together to create an almost surreal listening experience. The lyrics are powerful and well-thought out, and this song furthers the concept of Trench more than any other song on the album (except for Nico and the Niners and Leave the City). I absolutely love this song and what it conveys, and it’s one of my favorite songs off of Trench, despite it only being my seventh favorite, or something like that. Yeah, Trench is just like that.
22 — Message Man, from Blurryface (2015)
In my humble opinion, Message Man is the best song on Blurryface. I know that might surprise basically anyone who’s familiar with the band, but this song just gets so much right. It’s catchy as hell, it has a fantastic rap verse in the middle, and it has a really engaging and interesting instrumental going on. Not to mention, it gets kinda meta at points, and I always love when songs do that. Seriously, give this song a listen! I know it’s kind of a deep cut, but I think you’ll probably have some fun with it.
21 — The Hype, from Trench (2018)
A very floaty track that blends electronics with the ukulele in a really interesting manner, The Hype is just a really fun song. It has a great sense of triumph to its sound, that is kinda both complemented and contradicted in the lyrics, and it’s honestly just a jam. I don’t really have much more to say about this one besides that. I just love it.
20 — The Hype (Berlin), from Location Sessions (2021)
Takes everything good about the tone of the original, and somehow improves it by stripping it back, making it piano-driven, and layering vocal effects onto loops of Tyler’s voice. I don’t know how they managed to improve on the original The Hype by doing this, but they did, and I’m not going to question it. Also from this point onward, since we’re in the top 20 and you basically know that I love everything about these songs, I’m going to be trying to limit my thoughts on each one to two or three sentences each. This’ll probably last until the top 5.
18 — Ode to Sleep, from Vessel (2013)
Elegant and interesting switch-ups: the song. Takes everything great about the original and fixes everything that didn’t work; holy shit Tyler’s singing sounds amazing on here, and that fucking opening riff is just….chef’s kiss.
17 — Guns for Hands, from Vessel (2013)
Takes everything amazing about the original, leaves all the shit behind, and makes one of the most powerful songs the band have ever created. Also that transition into the bridge is fucking seamless, so well done on that front as well.
16 — Legend, from Trench (2018)
A heartfelt ode to Tyler Joseph’s late grandfather. I wish more songs took this approach to death, as it had this fantastic bittersweet celebration vibe going on, and that last line was both adorable and sad.
15 — Neon Gravestones, from Trench (2018)
The single greatest set of lyrics Tyler Joseph has ever written. A careful, deliberate spoken word piece that sees Tyler picking apart the way our society tends to romanticize suicide. This song could have broken the band’s entire career if handled poorly, and the fact that it’s as great as it is is a testament to Tyler’s skill as a lyricist.
14 — Nico and the Niners, from Trench (2018)
A rebellion song so good that it makes you forget how DEMA is a metaphor for mental health, and not an actual evil organization. Also, that production is so fucking good, holy shit.
13 — No Chances, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
The payoff to nine songs of buildup, and the crux of this album’s entire concept. If this song didn’t work, Scaled and Icy would be the worst project Twenty One Pilots have ever made, and I’m very much including Regional at Best in that assessment.
12 — Migraine, from Vessel (2013)
The single most interesting metaphor Tyler Joseph has ever constructed, and considering how he created a whole secret society with its own religion, that’s a field with some pretty stiff competition. The entire second verse is a masterpiece, and the final verse is one of the most uplifting, yet kinda sad things I’ve ever heard sung.
11 — Redecorate, from Scaled and Icy (2021)
God damn, this song fucking hits. Ending a pop album with a contemplative track about deciding what to do with the room and possessions of a loved one who has taken their own life is a ballsy as fuck move, and what’s even more crazy is how well they pull it off. This song is a real tear-jerker, and impressed the ever-living shit out of me.
10 — Morph, from Trench (2018)
Here we are in the top ten, and it should be noted that every last one of these songs is a 10/10. Everything about this song clicks so fucking well, it’s unbelievable. The verses and the chorus sound very different from each other, yet they flow into each other masterfully, plus that drum solo near the end? Yes please, do more of that! Not to mention the really interesting lyrics and the great underlying groove, and you’ve got yourself a masterpiece of a song right here.
09 — Friend, Please, from twenty one pilots (2009)
A slow and noisy track oozing with desperation about pleading with a close friend not to take their own life is somehow even more moving than you’d expect from this band. Also, how the fuck did they make a metallic synthesizer convey desperation? Can I remind you that Tyler Joseph was probably only 19 or so when he wrote this song? Like holy shit, how was he already writing masterpieces at that age? This song has the raw feeling that a lot of their early work does, but the subject matter makes it work perfectly in a way that not many other tracks on Self-Titled did.
08 — Cut My Lip (Brooklyn), from Location Sessions (2021)
This sounds so good it’s practically illegal. How does someone make this masterpiece in a fucking live session? I do not understand, but what I do know is that this somehow improves on the already stand-out track that was Cut My Lip.
07 — Oh Ms. Believer, from twenty one pilots (2009)
The best Christmas song to ever be written that isn’t about Christmas. It’s got a wonderfully chilly atmosphere with the only instrumentation being some light drumming, a floaty synth, and some jingle bells, and Tyler’s singing on this track is just beautiful. Not to mention the lyrics that tie the whole package together. I thought that this was the best song on Self-Titled for a long as hell time, and I still stand by it being one of the best things the band has ever done.
06 — Leave the City, from Trench (2018)
The perfect album conclusion. It ties the themes and concept of Trench up perfectly by ending on a truly bitter-sweet note, and leaving it up to the audience to decide what truly became of this world. Not to mention the gorgeous instrumentations and Tyler’s fantastic vocal performance, especially near the end. One of the most satisfying album conclusions I have ever listened to.
04 — Jumpsuit, from Trench (2018)
This is how you open an album right here. The baseline, switch-ups, the beautiful outro that transition perfectly into the next song, the fucking screams, they’re all perfectly done. This song will instantly pull you into the album, and that’s exactly what it’s intended to do. Not to mention, it just sounds absolutely fantastic.
03 — Levitate, from Trench (2018)
If Jumpsuit is a vortex sucking you in, Levitate is a tunnel that you’re flung through once you’ve been fully ensnared. It moves a mile a minute, it’s only two minutes long, and by the time it spits you out into Morph, your head is spinning and you’re already excited as fuck to hear what’ll come next. Jumpsuit + Levitate is a real 1-2 punch of an opening, and these two fluctuate in my rankings depending on the day.
02 — Holding On To You, from Vessel (2013)
The perfect distillation of everything that made Vessel fantastic. Tightly written, impeccably performed rap verses, a beautiful chorus, a bridge that slowly builds in intensity until it spits you out into one of the best outros I’ve ever experienced in a song. Not to mention, the lyrics are extremely well done. I won’t even explain why, just go listen to the song and figure it out for yourself.
01 — Trees, from Vessel (2013)
Isn’t it poetic, that the two different versions of Trees are my respective least favorite and favorite songs by this band? Trees somehow combines the somber lyrics of Vessel with the chaotic frenzy of electronic dance music, and created a song that impacted me like practically no other has. Listening to Trees is an indescribable experience for me, listening as it goes through rises and falls of intensity and speed, until you finally hit that ending, and it just starts building, and building, and building, until its reached a height you didn’t think was even possible, and then it crashes over you like a wave in the last 30 seconds or so of the song, and it’s like being hit by a tidal wave of pure, unvarnished energy. That’s probably a shit description, but it’s really the best I can do. Just listen tot he song and experience it for yourself if you don’t believe me.
Final Thoughts: Well look at this, we made it to the finish line! Wow, that was really a trip to put together, let me tell you. It took a fair amount out of me, so….I’m probably going to take a day off before jumping back into your regularly scheduled review content. Also before you go, do keep in mind that this is all just my opinion, and if you disagree, then that’s both valid and awesome! Differences of opinion make the world go round, especially when it comes to the analysis of any kind of art. So….yeah, if you made it all the way down here (and actually read through everything I had to say), thank you for taking the time to read, and I’ll hopefully be back with another review soon.