Twenty One Pilots ‘Heathens’ Song Review

I know the hype and drive for this song has long passed now and I know I’m incredibly late in reviewing the track, but I’m going to do it anyway because I feel it’s my duty to. I can’t keep my mouth shut anymore and I can’t hide my feelings for Twenty One Pilots away any longer. Here it goes… This song sucks… Like big time. I really do not understand the big deal with these two, nor do I understand the love for this track. Sure music is subjective, but when you get down to the bare-bones function and formula for a song, when you dissect the track piece by piece, layer by layer, you know almost mathematically whether it is truly good or bad regardless of the collective opinion; it’s when sections and parts don’t add up to the right number hence meaning it is technically wrong. With that said, this song is fundamentally bad; every layer has an issue, a glaring one too. It suffers from all the issues a ‘bad song’ would have, yet everyone admires it… Is it down to image or culture? Who knows, but I’m going to tell you why it just isn’t good.

Now I have the utmost respect for any group that hits the charts using instrumental skills rather than IT knowledge, that takes talent and intelligence, but I lose my respect for a group if they use instruments as a symbol/function rather than a viable expression. Twenty One Pilots are not good musicians in the slightest, they use instruments as a scapegoat to differentiate themseves from any other boy-band or pop artist.

Tyler Josephs is not a good bassist, he is not a good pianist and he’s an incredibly bland songwriter (he might be outside of Twenty One Pilots but it doesn’t show through into his music). The bass lines are usually made up of one note being strummed for 4 bars, then another note being strummed for four bars; there is no imagination. The piano phrases are usually made up of a simplistic, regular chordal progression with the odd decorative transition. The songs are always kept in common time, follow the same tempo nine times out of ten and the structure never differs.Vocally the track follows the same monotone melodic line over and over; no variation, no exploration and no adventure. It’s basically ‘Stressed Out’ numero dos.

Josh Dun is not a good drummer. In fact he’s one of the blandest working today with unoriginal fills, no decorative markings and an over-reliance on the same common time beat. He lacks any innovation or invention around the kit and really doesn’t push any boundaries.

Production wise the track is decent, but then when you’re that big you should be able to pay for the best production on any track. The drums always sound pretty wholesome and impacting but other than that, there isn’t anything in particular that is that exciting.

Lyrically the song is repetitive as ‘heck. The chorus hook that repeats over and over gets old the first time, let alone the fourth and fifth. The lyrics lack any invention or intellect, they are full of edgy cringe-worthy dialogue as well as yawn inducing cliches. I’d expect to hear this on a house/club track, not a ‘rock’ track.

I know this track is for a movie soundtrack, so it is limited to it’s source material, but gosh this song could of been written in a couple of minutes if that! The synths try their best to add at least something to the mix but the song falls flat on every level. Like I said, this track is fundamentally bad, the basics are poorly executed. Overuse of choruses, overuse of a static rhythm, monotone vocals, weak structure, thin texture, terrible lyrics and just a complete lack of musical skill.

2/10 – Most overrated track of this year by a landslide.


2 thoughts on “Twenty One Pilots ‘Heathens’ Song Review

  1. Couldn’t agree more. The only thing worse than the song itself is the stupid frog track used throughout the song. The one that changes from “reebit” to “watch it.” Annoying song. Borderline annoying band. Is this duo the modern day band the Cars. Tyler J. also sings about “smells” in all his songs. Strange. Heathens still manages to get abundant radio play. I don’t get it.


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