As Twenty-One Pilots becomes more well-known, it has become a question between fans and non-fans if the group is now mainstream or if their fans are in it for the long run due to the fact that they are being played on radio stations.
Twenty-One Pilots is a duo group that consists of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. They are a small band that formed in Ohio in 2009 and debuted with their first album, “Vessel” in 2013.
In 2015, they released a follow-up album, Blurry Face. This was the first. with their songs, playing on the radio. “Their success is underrated. People don’t know their back story. It takes a lot to stand out in the musical crowd,” Ali Hill, a freshman at Young Harris College, said.
Their songs “Stressed Out”, “Ride” and “Heavy Dirty Soul” are all certified Platinum. Stressed Out made its highest peak on the billboard charts at number two on Feb. 27, 2016, staying on the charts for 52 weeks straight. Recording Industry Association of America announced that the album had become the first album ever to have every one of its songs certified Gold. They were so popular that they had a song called Heathens feature in blockbuster movie, “Suicide Squad”.
After the success of Blurry Face, fans and non-fans began calling them a mainstream band. The most common way of describing something as mainstream is how over-hyped it is. “When I think of mainstream, I picture a band that is over-hyped and talked about constantly at school or just in the media. When something is mainstream it is well-known, and everyone knows about it,” said Cassie Childress, a sophmore at Brenau University.
With their new records and their songs hitting every pop radio station, fans saw Twenty-One Pilots as no longer relevant or the special band to look out for. “I can kind of see that there’s a little bit of a difference, and I think some of that includes just being put on a broader platform, whether it’s different TV, or radio, or whatever it is,” Josh Dun stated in a Billboard interview.
During their “BlurryFace” tour in Pittsburgh, fans noticed a change to the lyrics of Stressed Out. The new lyrics heard as, “I wish I wrote a different song no one’s ever heard. I wish my mom would just admit she’s sick of every word overplayed, overstayed, it was a smash hit, funny how overplayed songs sound like crap. I was told our true fans don’t like this song, but I hope they sing along.” Joseph and Dun’s goal was not for their music to be on the radio. Their goal is for people to get their message and accept themselves for who they are. Joseph mentions in a Billboard interview, “The biggest thing that we see is that we’re able to play in bigger venues now, in front of larger audiences. That’s what we had in mind for this thing since the beginning — not with the intention of being famous or known or looking really cool — but we really believe in the music and the songs.”
In July 2017, the band went on a yearlong hiatus. They did not post on their social media accounts, have any interviews, and their family members did not post photos on social media that included them. Fans saw the hiatus as a way to see what real fans would stay until they came back. Other people thought they could not take all of the fame they had received. “When they went on hiatus for over a year, I was really devastated and confused. I thought that the fame was too much that they weren’t going to release music anymore,” Childress said.
One thing Twenty-One Pilots is well-known for is the fact that they do not have one particular genre. They range from Alternative hip-hop, Electropop, Indie pop, Pop rock and even Rap rock. “People have to keep in mind that most artists want to stay true to themselves and sometimes make unpopular music choices despite what fans have to say,” said Gigi Jarvis, a freshman at Kennesaw State University. Twenty-One Pilots released “Trench” on Oct 5, 2018. The songs on this album are a different taste from what their fans have been used to.
The group is also known for creating songs with deeper meanings in them, whether they deal with mental illness or Joseph’s insecurities. Leave the City and Chlorine are two songs that are included in the album with a deeper meaning. These songs share the bands thoughts on their fans and how they feel with all the sudden fame.
Although people see Twenty One Pilots as ‘mainstream’ because of their achievements, they just want to be their own band with their own sound. Their songs are for everyone and appeal to a wide range of listeners. They talk about anxiety, depression and, have created a movement towards people who need it. They hope that no matter how overplayed their music is over the radio, their fans will still sing along.