Who Are They?
College friends Tyler Joseph, Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih formed the band was in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. Tyler came up with the band's name while studying All My Sons by Arthur Miller, a play about a man who must decide what is best for his family after causing the death of 21 pilots during World War II because, for the good of his business, he knowingly sent them faulty parts. Tyler explains that this moral dilemma story was the inspiration for the name of the band. In mid 2011, Thomas and Salih left due to busy schedules. Josh Dun, former drummer of House of Heroes, then joined Joseph. They have four albums with their 2015 release, Blurryface, reaching #1 on Billboard's top 200 chart. This band brings a mix of piano (sometimes an electronic keyboard or a "keytar"), synthesizer, drums (also mixed with electronic drums some parts), vocals, and occasionally ukulele. Their songs are poetry-based (written by Joseph and Dun). Joseph has stated that when poetry is too long, he needs to start rapping to fit the lyrics in. People typically have trouble affiliating the band to a specific genre to describe them, since they bridge so many. However, many fans have labeled them "Schizophrenic Pop" (also known as "Schizoid Pop"), a technically unofficial subgenre of Pop.
What Are Their Messages?
twenty one pilots used to run in Christian rock circles. Joseph even was a worship leader before the band hit it big, and there's definitely a hint of youth group in songs like Vessel's "Screen," with its "We're broken people" refrain. But the brand of we're-all-in-this-togetherness they tout at their concerts and online isn't framed in religious terms. "It's never been Josh & I's goal to stand up on a stage with a microphone and tell people what to believe. That being said, what I do believe is very important to me, and absolutely is going to always be present whenever I create something, whenever I'm working through something. I think what someone believes can define them, even if it's that they don't believe anything, and for me and my faith, it will always be a big part of my music, whether it's directly or indirectly."
What Does A Youthworker Need2Know
Joseph and Dun were both raised in conservative, religious households. Joseph's father was the principal of a Christian high school that Tyler attended; before that, he was home-schooled by his mother.
Although many of their songs contain allusions to Christian theology and have messages (even if implied) about God, and all members of the band (past and present) are Christians, twenty one pilots is not considered a Christian band. According to the band, their purpose for making music is "to make people think" as well as encourage them to find joy in what they come to believe in life.
Youth Leaders will not find specific references for Christianity but the songs of twenty one pilots ts are a good starting point for discussion about a wide range of topics. Their songs could lead to discussions on stress, death, insecurities, life and living. They are drawing a large support from young teens that are hearing what they are feeling in the lyrics of twenty one pilots songs.
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