My favorite duo twenty øne piløts are back with “Ride“, their fourth song on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s (“Chlorine” ranks at #87, “Jumpsuit” at #67 and “Heathens” at #61). It’s also the first of three songs from their spectacular fourth album Blurryface that will dominate the remainder of this list. Released in May 2015, Blurryface is one of the greatest albums of the decade in my opinion, and ranks among my all-time favorites. I had the CD in my car stereo, and played it every time I went anywhere for months on end, turning multiple friends onto it as well. It’s of such high caliber that literally every track could be a hit song and, in fact, in 2018 it became the first album in the digital era to have every track receive a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. It spent 279 weeks on the Billboard 200 Album chart – nearly five and a half years.
“Ride” was the fourth album cut to be released as a single. It’s a wildly upbeat alternative hip hop song with strong reggae elements, and features their signature lively mix of instruments, including piano, organ, guitar and bass. Josh Dun’s power drums are fantastic, and I love Tyler Joseph’s extraordinary vocals that go from earnest to rapping to falsetto to impassioned wails. He’s a really talented rapper, with an ability to deliver lyrics in a hard, staccato-style of fast-paced rapping that only a handful of artists like Eminem are good at.
The lyrics speak to uncertainties and anxieties over the meaning of life, with references to thinking about death, which Tyler Joseph raps about at high speed: “‘I’d die for you,’ that’s easy to say / We have a list of people that we would take a bullet for them, a bullet for you, a bullet for everybody in this room / But I don’t seem to see many bullets comin’ through / See many bullets comin’ through / Metaphorically, I’m the man / But literally, I don’t know what I’d do / ‘I’d live for you,’ an’ that’s hard to do / Even harder to say when you know it’s not true.” At the end, he concludes “I’ve been thinking too much, help me.”