Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter
August 27, 2016 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Stressed Out is a song from Blurryface, the fourth studio album by Twenty One Pilots. Released in April 2015, the song reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #1 on Hot Rock Songs and Mainstream Top 40, and is certified 4x platinum The video features many relatives of the band, and was filmed mostly in the Ohio childhood home of the drummer. The lyrics, a recent NYT review of the band at Madison Square Garden and a New Yorker piece, and a previous mention in MetaFilter.
posted by Wordshore (51 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

My 9-year-old stepson loves this song and gathered us all in the living room to watch the video recently. The student loan stuff had me looking at his dad like "damn, so true, ugh" but 9-yo was just enjoying the thing for its own sake. He also adores the song "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities. He seems to have a thing for pop songs that present adult existential terror in a catchy way.
posted by witchen at 10:03 AM on August 27, 2016 [10 favorites]

I like the New Yorker piece a lot, explaining their invisibility and the way they borrow from multiple genres. That sounds about right for a generation of people raised on internet jokes and videos.

I liked Stressed Out when I heard it, though I am way past that particular feeling of missing childhood. I find it hard to picture the childhoods of people who are 20-somethings now; they grew up in a world so different from mine that I can't really grasp it.

My kid's about the same age as yours and likes it too, witchen.
posted by emjaybee at 10:07 AM on August 27, 2016 [4 favorites]

Both the college station and the high-school station I listen to play this pretty regularly. I love it. It's a pretty universal sentiment, really. I'm in my late 50's and it hits a lot of the right notes for me, too.

Also: Goo-dole-dayz. Heh.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:11 AM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

My 4 and 5 yr olds love this album. I was out with friends and it came on and everyone was singing along and I was the only one who'd never heard it. Finally heard it on the radio a couple weeks later and bought the album that night. Stressed Out and Ride are our favourites for family dance parties.
posted by annathea at 10:13 AM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Cover by Puddles and PMJ
posted by Gorgik at 10:19 AM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Balaclavas? When there are máscaras?
posted by effbot at 10:29 AM on August 27, 2016

My 16-year-old and her friends are WILD for Twenty One Pilots. I didn't like the songs at first but the more I hear them (incessantly) the more I like them.
posted by cooker girl at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

no one needs to "make money". you might need some for the bus ride home, or to get a bite to eat, or pay the rent, But "wake up you need to make money" is about people who have internalized all this stuff and decided this is a game they are going to play to win, even if they suspect they are never going to get the "glengarry leads."

But this song isn't as bad as the 'one direction' "romantic" ballad dedicated to all the women out there who are into NSA hookups with dirtbag men.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

[Folks, if this doesn't interest you, there are other threads. Performing your disinterest is boring at best, and toxic at worst. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:40 AM on August 27, 2016 [22 favorites]

Ah, yes. Paying bills is of course completely optional, and anyone who finds that stressful fresh out of college is just selling out. Furthermore, the lyrics explicitly stating that the speakers are being told "wake up, you gotta make money" are deeeeefinitely the band buying into the rat race. Yeah.

You might wanna read those lyrics before you complain about the song, ennui.bz.
posted by sciatrix at 12:07 PM on August 27, 2016 [26 favorites]

My cousin played house of gold for his mother, my aunt. She was very quiet and after I went to sleep I could hear them yelling about it. "You don't have to take care of me." "Well I know you're not going to have any money and I'm happy to do it." "I'm not telling you to do that! Don't act like I'm some burden you have to take care of!" "Well what else is supposed to happen?"

It really sucks, to not have enough money. This world is our kids world, they inherit what we can't figure out how to fix.
posted by xarnop at 12:11 PM on August 27, 2016 [8 favorites]

I spent the summer of last year in rural Iowa. But wait; I wrote elsewhere on MetaFilter before about this, and how I ended up becoming attached to a song I heard night after night on the radio - though not the Stressed Out song (btw the comment from OverlappingElvis is pretty amazing).

But there was another song, Stressed Out. Towards the end of the summer, I noticed it "getting play" (I am so rad with the kids) in a few of the dining hangouts with a younger clientele. Didn't hear it as much as the Walk The Moon song, mainly as that radio station I listened to every night was more of a soft/dad rock channel and Stressed Out was probably a little too "edgy" (?) for them. Shut Up and Dance was probably borderline for them, come to think of it.

There was also a makeshift skateboard ramp nearby, and a group of the local youth would sometime have a musical device (um, boombox? I don't know what they call them?), playing songs as they (total cool language failure now) um skateboarded. I walked past them several times a day as they were on the more scenic walk between the house I was staying in and the local mom-and-pop ice cream barn. Stressed Out was played a fair bit on their ... whatever it was ... and the chorus rattled around the head through the year afterwards.

The house in Grinnell, with the magic ever-fruiting raspberry bush and the lawns I perhaps strangely enjoyed mowing, sold yesterday, so with mixed feelings and regrets that particular adventure won't be repeated; future ones will be in a different place, with a different soundtrack. Shut Up and Dance, and to a lesser extent Stressed Out, will just remind me of that one. As a 47 year old who, if I turned up at a Twenty One Pilots gig (are they still called gigs?) would probably be mistaken for a grandparent arriving to pick up a grandchild who is a more typical fan, hoping I'll continue to still enjoy the popular music of the time for however many years I have left.
posted by Wordshore at 12:16 PM on August 27, 2016 [7 favorites]

But this song isn't as bad as the 'one direction' "romantic" ballad dedicated to all the women out there who are into NSA hookups with dirtbag men.

ennui.bz, does this have anything to do with the post that you're commenting on??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:17 PM on August 27, 2016 [10 favorites]

I realize that I have hit the age when I talk about current bands in relation to the music of my youth... but anyway, my teenage self would have been quite happy that the future would eventually get around to producing more bands that sound like Bran Van 3000.
posted by Kattullus at 1:07 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

This song reminds me of one summer day between college semesters, many moons ago, when I was standing on the porch with my stepfather and announced that my goal for the summer was to focus on my physical fitness.

My stepfather's response: what about your financial fitness?
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:10 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I took my 14 year old to see them in June (driving from RI to NH because it was the only place in New England that didn't sell out immediately) and they put on a great show. Two days later, at work, one of my colleagues, who is in his thirties, comes up to me asking about the show because he's going to see them in January. My 64 year old mom was singing along to Heathens the other day. I really can't think of another genre-bending band that appeals to such a wide demographic.
posted by Ruki at 1:49 PM on August 27, 2016 [4 favorites]

37-Year-Old Makes Absolutely Heartbreaking Last-Ditch Effort To Get Really Into New Band

I thought they made the band up for this Onion article. Now I gotta give them a listen.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:11 PM on August 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thanks, guys, me and my 10-year-old are into this right now. Are the lyrics a little youth-angst-earnest? Sure, but so is "ALL I WANTED WAS A PEPSI!"
posted by escabeche at 3:23 PM on August 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

Chalk up another 40-something dad enjoying this album with his kids.

The 11-year old has declared his love of pop music but at least the local hits station is playing Twenty One Pilots in between stuff I'm not a big fan of whilst riding in the car.
posted by dweingart at 4:20 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ignore that "Wake up, you gotta make money" thing long enough, it'll change to "Wake up, time to die."
posted by tspae at 4:27 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

The note about critical invisibility really hit me. I'm pretty pretentious and am friends/internet friends with a number of music writers, and no matter how lowbrow/guilty pleasure they go, this isn't the kind of thing they talk about, ever.

And I hear Stressed Out constantly on the radio or in stores or wherever, and it's catchy but I literally didn't think of it any more than "oh that song that I hear all the time for some reason."

Spending some time with high schoolers/middle schoolers, I see the occasional Twenty One Pilots shirt or hear them talking about the band, and I had this slow, underwater-like realization, "OH, that song is everywhere AND people like it, BOTH of those things."
posted by jeweled accumulation at 4:49 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm reading this post at work and then suddenly "Ride" starts playing on the radio and I'm instinctively bopping along to the rhythm, which is all to say that I'm a fan and love Blurryface (the build-up on "Goner" still thrills me, even though I've listened to the album a gazillion times already). It's my default "to get over my crappy work day I need to sing at the top of my lungs on the drive home" album. I don't go to many concerts but I'd definitely love to go to one of theirs, but I only ever hear about them after they're sold out. *sad face*

I found the New Yorker piece vaguely amusing in a "hasn't the author ever been to a concert before?" way, though. That's just how concerts are, especially a group that primarily attracts a younger demographic (although obviously T0P is enjoyed by people of all ages). Then again, the few concerts I go to are predominately kpop, which probably says something about my expectations for live entertainment (and taste in music, I suppose).
posted by paisley sheep at 5:12 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have heard the songs a million times, but I only learned the band's name when I saw pictures of Ruki's (awesome) daughter on FaceBook. In totally unrelated news, I started wearing reading glasses over my contact lenses last week.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:27 PM on August 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I ignored this song until Switched On Pop did a whole episode about it. Definitely a lot more going on that I had thought. Definitely still very very derivative though. Would rather listen to Lemonade 100 more times. But that's because I'm a little tired of hearing only problems without solutions.

Gen X 4ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:39 PM on August 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm 54 years old and Stressed Out is first top 40 song in ages that's grabbed my attention.
posted by davebush at 5:59 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

He seems to have a thing for pop songs that present adult existential terror in a catchy way.

Don't we all? Isn't that the true beauty of pop? (Ok, at least alt pop).
posted by maryr at 6:06 PM on August 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I first started hearing "Stressed Out" on the local college station I listen to months back, but I couldn't find anywhere locally to buy it. I'd meant to buy the album, and then suddenly it was on every station all the time, much like Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance." The band just came through on tour here at the beginning of this month. Now "Ride" has been getting a lot of play here, and if you listen to the lyrics, they're just as existentially angsty. It's really grown on me, and I've been thinking again about picking up this album... Maybe now Vintage Vinyl will have it.
posted by limeonaire at 6:12 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Now that I've actually read the New Yorker article, I have to say more about the concert. I love live music, done right. As a teenager in the 90s, I spent a lot of time in cramped, smoky clubs. I love seeing bands in small venues because it's easier for a band and an audience to really connect. (On a tablet, so it's hard to find the comment, but I once wrote here about how grateful I was that James aren't as big in the US, because I got to see them in a small club and the vibe was amazing.) Arena shows are big and impersonal and I find it harder to really engage with the experience. So we saw TOP in an arena, back in the lawn, but that connection was there. It was the only time I've ever felt that in a large venue. Saying they put on a great show was an understatement. There were costume changes, lots of them! That's something I associate with divas, but the concert wasn't just a random selection of songs, there was a narrative and, oh man, my kid would be side eyeing me so hard if she knew I was getting so in depth about it. To be fair, I was listening to House of Gold while she was still listening to One Direction. (Also, my kid IS pretty awesome. Thanks, wenestvedt!)
posted by Ruki at 6:13 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I liked the band's 'Tear In My Heart' so much that I went out and bought the album (Newbury Comics still serves a purpose!). I listened to it on a drive home... and ended up handing over to my sister whose Fall Out Boy 2005 aesthetic is still raging strong. I was really disappointed in it. I don't hate heading 'Stressed Out' on the radio (I love the bit about the candle) but a whole album at once was just... nothing new. I was expecting more, or maybe just something else.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer. If I hadn't been listening to a lot of this story of punk-alt-pop-rock crossover stuff in the early 00s I'd probably more excited about this, but I feel a decade too old for this one. Which, in fairness, I am.
posted by maryr at 6:16 PM on August 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also, my tastes are running towards 70s country rock right now (Dawes, the Avett Brothers in particular) so Maybe I'm just the opposite of the target audience right now

But seriously, I think for better or worse, this band is the new Fall Out Boy.
posted by maryr at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Compare/Contrast with Time by Pink Floyd. Perhaps a companion piece.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:47 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

I do have to say... this is total teen-ager bait. I find this genuinely adorable now - it would have slayed my cold, hormonal teenaged heart.
posted by maryr at 7:03 PM on August 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I just posted this in an Ask but here's the video for Teens React to Twenty One Pilots .

That was pretty much my first exposure to them though I'm sure I've heard it on the radio or something at some point. It's pretty catchy. I don't end up listening to a ton of newer music though I skim the top iTunes music to see what I'm missing. Though I tend to lean toward indie or pop myself. I may check them out more.

I think they're doing interesting things though. It's still cute to see teens see something like them as so "new" when they remind me of a ton of other stuff. But yet I'm an old at 26. Get off my lawn - unless you're playing good music.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:45 PM on August 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Subtle pun.... Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the ladder.
posted by arbitrality at 1:46 AM on August 28, 2016 [10 favorites]

Twenty One Pilots songs mentioned in this thread so far

- House of Gold
- Ride
- Can't Help Falling In Love (Cover)
- Tear In My Heart
- Heathens
- Goner

Other songs mentioned so far

- Capital Cities: Safe And Sound
- Walk The Moon: Shut Up and Dance
- Pink Floyd: Time

Other Twenty One Pilots

- Guns For Hands
- Holding On To You
- Twenty One Pilots react to teens reacting to Twenty One Pilots
- Car Radio
- Lane Boy
posted by Wordshore at 5:24 AM on August 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

This video about the "millennial whoop" did use "Ride" as an example, though, and now I realize what I disliked about that song initially. I hate the millennial whoop. It's the worst substitute for actually coming up with some kind of melody. It's almost as bad as the eternal soundtrack of whistling, handclaps, and ukulele targeting Gen-Xers in commercials now.
posted by limeonaire at 10:33 AM on August 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

whistling, handclaps, and ukulele

Don't forget the glockenspiel!
posted by STFUDonnie at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Okay, despite my snarky comment at the top of the thread, I decided to give this "Stressed Out" song a listen.

It's... there. They're not really doing anything particularly interesting or special that I haven't heard other bands today. Also, god, that vocal effect in the chorus is so overused.

If you like it, enjoy. It's not doing anything for me.
posted by SansPoint at 11:50 AM on August 28, 2016

Love love love Heathens. Their other stuff, I like the rap parts, they're definitely influenced by Eminem, but otherwise it's pretty much standard pop fare. I'm 41, though, so even the fact that I like them as much as I do is kind of remarkable.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:21 PM on August 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

One of my friends in college briefly datied an older guy that was obsessed, like OBSESSED, with 311 and anything with white dudes and reggae and rap and singalong pop choruses). What I mostly remember about him was that he had bleached blonde hair and this habit of referring to all women as "mamacita," which was gross, but otherwise he was okay and would generally buy our beer without complaint. Anyway we were all about twenty and as such, the worst sort of punk rock music snob purists and were all like You're old enough to have, like, been into the Replacements when they were still touring. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? Anyway, my friend eventually broke up with him because after she talked him into using part of her student loan to help him put a down payment on a scooter, he wrecked the scooter and started a barfight and got arrested (maybe not in that order?). I mention this only because, having listened to Twenty-One Pilots, I was like, "This sounds like it would be right up That Guy's alley. I wonder what happened to him" and sure enough, when I looked him up on Facebook, he had a thing on his page about them. (Still has the bleached blonde hair, too, fyi!)
posted by thivaia at 1:59 PM on August 28, 2016 [4 favorites]

To each their own, etc., but this is some of the most embarrassing rapping I've heard in ages so I'm genuinely surprised the kids are that into it.
posted by naju at 2:03 PM on August 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really loved "Tear In My Heart" and it's video, picked up the album right quicklike when that was charting on Billoboard's Alternative Songs but then was kinda confused/surprised by the rest of the album. Like I loved the sound on TiMH why did they never even really revisit that? Loved that weird slightly trippy Kai's Power Tools video.

Mixed feelings on Stressed Out, it's OK (not my favorite), but I'm hella onboard if they they get back into TiMH territory.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 2:12 PM on August 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

some of the most embarrassing rapping I've heard in ages so I'm genuinely surprised the kids are that into it.

Many, many people would disagree with that, including my hip-hop/rap connessieur 19-year-old son. He doesn't actually even like Twenty One Pilots but he likes parts of that song. He likes the way they play with the words and the time signature. He's a musician and he likes stuff that isn't conventional.
posted by cooker girl at 2:29 PM on August 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ha, I was introduced to Stressed Out by this Steven Universe AMV, and I think I still prefer it to the official video. It works especially well if you're familiar with the show (Steven becoming secretly more stressed out as his uncertainties and traumatic experiences mount up has been a theme for a while).

Not sure if this makes me an old man who doesn't keep up with Music These Days or an immature internet native who finds out about music through youtube videos.
posted by Wandering Idiot at 3:12 PM on August 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

My dad continues to like twenty one pilots. He saw them this past June, and gave two tickets to one of his friend's daughter and her friend, who are mega fans. I don't remember all the details, but he did call me the day after to let me know that it was 'definitely the show of the summer, and we still have Dennis DeYoung to go!'
posted by palindromic at 3:58 PM on August 28, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks, arbitrality, for highlighting the pun; I though it might have been missed.

My teenaged kids were annoyed at me when they started gushing about a new song by a new band, and as I pulled up the album to play it, we all realized that 21P was the band responsible for the song I had been trying to get them to listen to the previous year. In my case, it was "Holding On To You" from their 2012 album, Vessel, while in their case, it was "Stressed Out" for my son, and "Tear In My Heart" for my daughter, both from 2015's Blurryface.

Definitely a band enjoyed by multiple generations in my house.

Although I really dislike the lyrics for "Lane Boy," since all I hear is suburban Ohio privilege.
posted by pwinn at 9:50 AM on August 29, 2016

Matt Oneiros: You might like this song, "Love Me Dead" by Ludo, that "Tear In My Heart" reminds me of for reasons I'm not 100% clear on. Maybe it's the chorus? I don't know if I ever heard another song by Ludo - maybe I would have been just as disappointed in that album too - but man is that a catchy song and fun video.
posted by maryr at 1:47 PM on August 29, 2016

From a "first pangs of nostalgia to fully-generational nostalgia" perspective, it was interesting watching the Stressed Out video, immediately followed by the Carousel from Mad Men video.

Feeling old, tired and a little regretful, now.
posted by Wordshore at 4:16 PM on August 29, 2016

ennui.bz: "no one needs to "make money". you might need some for the bus ride home, or to get a bite to eat, or pay the rent, But "wake up you need to make money" is about people who have internalized all this stuff and decided this is a game they are going to play to win, even if they suspect they are never going to get the "glengarry leads.""

Hey you know what ennui.bz? There's this band you might like. They have this one song where they complain about how other people are always pressuring them to focus on making money. I can't remember the name of the band off the top of my head, though.
posted by Bugbread at 11:43 PM on August 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's a bit of a surprise that they're popular with younger generations. I just really connected with Stressed Out. I did think when I was young that when I grew up I wouldn't be so anxious. It would have been nice, but adulthood doesn't work like that.
posted by stoneegg21 at 9:27 PM on September 8, 2016

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