Saturday, December 31, 2016

10 Reasons I Love twenty one pilots

If you have been within earshot of me within the past four months, odds are you have heard me listening to twenty one pilots. Or singing along with them. Or talking about them. Or listening to them while singing along while talking about them in between lyrics.

My biggest regret in life is that I only discovered them a few months ago. I'm kind of joking but also kind of really not joking. My little sister began listening to them a couple of years ago and even though she went on and on to me about how great they were, I shrugged her off. WHY, ANNE, WHY?

(Sigh.) But I digress.

The important thing is that I'm listening to them now and I just need to tell people about them.

I titled this post "10 Reasons I Love twenty one pilots" because there are too many reasons I listen to them to fit into one concise, readable post that a normal person could actually get through, so I had to limit myself. (Read: I will most likely write more posts in the future about the band.)

For those unaware, twenty one pilots is a band from Ohio originally formed in 2009 and turning into what it is today in 2011, consisting of song writer/lead singer/ukulele master Tyler Joseph and drummer/hair dye specialist Josh Dun. Their genre is...hard to pinpoint. I guess to put it simply, it could be generalized as rock/hip hop/alternative/rap/electropop/indie pop/ukulele screamo.

OK. 10 Reasons I Love twenty one pilots.

1. Tyler and Josh are best friends. And yeah, I guess it's not uncommon for band members to become really good friends, but Tyler and Josh are bromance worthy and it's just fun to watch them together. They really care about each other, which translates into their music and performances. #friendshipgoals




2. Tyler plays the ukulele, which always means a good time. He also plays the piano, guitar, and probably other instruments because he is super duper talented.



3. And on that note, his cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love with You" is basically the cutest cover you'll ever hear. 

4. Josh is a crazy-good drummer. He gets really into the music and obviously loves playing.


(FYI that is a drum island they used during their Vessel tour. The audience would literally hold Josh up on a wooden board while he played. Sick.)

5. Their lyrics are just insanely good. You'll listen to a song for a while and really like it, and then once you realize the meaning you'll be blown away. Their songs really focus on things affecting Tyler's life, like doubts, fears, suicide, etc., with a lot of religious metaphors. The lyrics are deep and so, so relatable.

"I'd die for you/That's easy to say...I'd live for you/And that's harder to do"

"Sometimes quiet is violent"

"My tree house is on fire/And for some reason I smell gas on my hands/This is not what I had planned/This is not what I had planned"

"I wasn't raised in the hood/But I know a thing or two about pain and darkness"

6. Most of their songs sound pretty happy. Tyler and Josh like to put positive beats on lyrics that are a little darker because that's what life is like. A lot of people are struggling much worse than they seem to be. We often put on a happy face even when we're hurting, and I think that's an important thing to keep in mind when you interact with people. 

7. Did I mention Tyler writes all of his own songs? This guy has been writing lyrics since he was in high school, and his talent just blows me away. It is also really, really cool to see a band getting so popular be so adamant about creating the music they want to create, not necessarily the music people want to hear. Several of their songs talk about the struggle between writing music that will be popular on the radio or writing music that expresses ideas extremely important to them. I, for one, am very happy they continue to choose the latter.

8. Their concerts are an unforgettable experience. Or so I've heard. Since I came into the Skeleton Clique so recently I just missed their Blurryface tour and I'm going to miss their Emotional Roadshow tour because I can't afford a $150 scalped ticket, missing two days of school and work, and 14 hours of driving to the nearest venue they'll be at. (*tears*) But I have done a TON of research about their concerts (trying to make said experience work) and haven't found a single negative thing about them.

Tyler and Josh started playing music in front of as few as twelve people, and they have expressed in interviews how much they love intimate shows and being able to interact with fans. While small shows are a thing of the past, they have both said their main goal during their concerts is to make every audience member feel like a part of the performance. Some of their concert tools include the drum island mentioned above, giant hamster balls through the audience, and Josh's infamous piano backflips.




How they end every concert. *more tears*

9. They really care about their fans. Tyler and Josh are very humble guys to recognize that they wouldn't be anywhere without their fan base. When they accepted their award for Pop/Rock Duo or Group at the 2016 VMA's they dedicated it to their fans. I can't really put myself in the same category of fans they were dedicating that to, but it's obvious that they genuinely care about the people who care about them.

10. Their music video for "Holding Onto You." This is the first song I heard that wasn't "Stressed Out" or "Ride" (which are both really good songs, just not my favorites). This was the song that got me hooked. I'll always have that personal meaning, but regardless this is and will always be one of my favorite music videos. It is absolutely beautiful and heart-wrenching and these are some of my favorite lyrics. They really reiterate twenty one pilots' message to "stay alive".

11. So many other reasons I won't talk about right now because I promised I wouldn't. There are so many more music videos I'd like to share, so many songs I'd like to spend entire posts on, and so many cute interviews I want to throw on here because I guarantee they'll make you smile. There are also some really personal reasons twenty one pilots have been so important to me and I hope one day I have the confidence to share those with people as well.

I know this is a little fangirly and I don't usually write stuff like this, but twenty one pilots have become more than just a band to me and it was important to me that I shared some of the reasons why. I'm trying focus more on things that are important to me and being willing to talk about them instead of worrying so much about what other people think. These guys have already helped me a lot in that aspect, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. I've never met them and they've already started to change my life with the music they are creating. |-/

Monday, December 5, 2016

Go With Courage

I like to say I have the soul of a pioneer but the heart of a realist. The idea of adventure is intoxicating to me but following through creates numbing stress and sleepless nights full of worry.

I fear change.

I suppose everyone fears change to some degree—some people are just better at tackling that fear than others. I am sure that even Susa Young Gates, one of the feistiest and most outspoken women to set foot on the BYU campus, felt somewhat nervous when at age thirteen she started college at the University of Deseret. I imagine that she felt her confidence challenged a year later when she became co-editor of the college’s newspaper.

Yet we would not know her story if she had let fear define her.  

Women like Susa Young Gates inspire me. They are the feeders of my pioneer soul. A year ago I decided I needed to stop reading about their lives and live an adventure of my own. So I signed up for a four-month trip to China to teach English to children.

“No, I don’t speak Mandarin,” I would reply to everyone who asked, each question sending a mist of doubt onto the already small flame of confidence I had in my decision. No, I don’t have any friends there. No, I don’t know how I’m going to pay for it. No, I don’t have any idea what I’m doing.

I lied to everyone and told them I was excited and ready to go.

“I would never do that,” they told me. “You’re so brave.”

But I didn’t feel brave. I felt afraid.

Still I went. I look back on my time in China now with great fondness and bittersweet memory. What was once such a foreign and frightening place turned into a land of unique culture and dynamic lifestyles. Overcrowded cities shaped into mountains jutting towards the heavens in the blink of an overnight train ride. Groups of giggling teenage girls would blush furiously as they asked us in broken English for a photo, leaving with earnest cries of “Nǐ hěn piào liang!”—you are beautiful.

Just as I had sunk my teeth into this new place it was time for me to leave. Of all the changes I had feared four months earlier, the one I had not been expecting was one within myself. It changed me in ways I didn’t know needed to be changed. My confidence increased, my awareness was amplified, and my capacity to love grew.

That is the beauty of courage. I think Gates knew that. I think she knew that courage is not suddenly losing doubts and worry as a task approaches. I am sure that when she founded the Utah Women’s Press Club, when she became press chairman of the National Council of Women, when she set out to found the music department at Brigham Young Academy while still a student, Susa Young Gates felt discouragement and fear and doubt. But she knew that the results of her endeavors would mean more to the world than the lack of her actions.

Courage will change you. But I am learning that change can be good. My experience in China was the hardest thing I have ever done and the best decision I ever made. I am not the same person now that I was before. But we weren’t created to stay the same, were we? We were created to dare and to leap and to soar. We were created to be courageous.