100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #87: “Chlorine” by twenty one pilots

The song at #87 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Chlorine” by twenty one pilots. For those who’ve been living under a rock, twenty one pilots is a duo consisting of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, and as far as I’m concerned, they can do no wrong when it comes to making music. I love every one of their songs, and they’re one of my favorite bands of all time. This is the first (or last, actually) of their six songs on this list, the most of any artist.

“Chlorine” is the third single from their monumental fifth album Trench, and was released in January 2019. Trench is a concept album that tells the saga of the fictional evil city of Dema ruled by nine bishops, referred to as “Nico and the Niners”. The song was co-written by Joseph and MUTEMATH front man Paul Meany, who produced Trench, and whose voice we hear in the opening lines. Like many of the tracks on Trench, the song has a complex melodic structure, and shows a growing maturity in twenty one pilots’ sound and music style. I love the sweeping, spacey synths, Dun’s sharp percussion and Joseph’s haunting layered vocals. The wonderful little twinkling piano riff adds a somewhat menacing vibe to the track.

The lyrics address how creativity can cleanse dark impulses, but also cause pain. The small, white alien-like creature in the video is “Ned”, who the band stated represents “this idea of creativity and trying to take care of it and trying to please it… or appease it.” It’s a dark and stunning song, and Joseph’s plaintive vocals in the final chorus are exquisite as he laments “I’m so sorry I forgot you. Let me catch you up to speed. I’ve been tested like the ends of a weathered flag that’s by the sea. Can you build my house with pieces? I’m just a chemical.”

Top 30 Songs for June 16-22, 2019

1. FEAR THE FUTURE – IAMWARFACE (1)
2. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (3)
3. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed (4)
4. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish (2)
5. HURT – Oliver Tree (7)
6. BAD GUY – Billie Eilish (11)
7. MISSED CONNECTION – The Head and the Heart (9)
8. STILL FEEL. – half alive (10)
9. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (5) 20th week on chart
10. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (6)
11. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons (13)
12. PATIENCE – Tame Impala (15)
13. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (8) 20th week on chart
14. I SEE YOU – MISSIO (24)
15. I’LL BE AROUND – Morning Fuzz (17)
16. OLD MAN’S WAR – Roadkeeper (19)
17. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose (12)
18. TIME – Morosity (14)
19. SAW LIGHTNING – Beck (21)
20. ALLIGATOR – Of Monsters and Men (22)
21. NOT WORTH IT – The Only Route (18)
22. MAYBE, I’M AFRAID – lovelytheband (23)
23. ROOM TO BREATHE – Made of Eyes (25)
24. CHOKE – I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (20)
25. TRAMPOLINE – SHAED (16) 19th week on chart
26. I GET NO JOY – Jade Bird (27)
27. FALLING WITH STYLE – Heist at Five (28)
28. COMING UP FOR AIR – Mars Motel (29)
29. ECHOES – Ignite the Fire (30)
30. RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE DEVIL – Revolvers (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 2-8, 2019

1. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish (3)
2. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (1)
3. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (2)
4. FEAR THE FUTURE – IAMWARFACE (5)
5. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (6)
6. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (4)
7. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed (8)
8. HURT – Oliver Tree (9)
9. TIME – Morosity (7)
10. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose (10)
11. STILL FEEL. – half alive (12)
12. MISSED CONNECTION – The Head and the Heart (13)
13. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons (15)
14. TRAMPOLINE – SHAED (14)
15. PATIENCE – Tame Impala (18)
16. BAD GUY – Billie Eilish (29)
17. I’LL BE AROUND – Morning Fuzz (20)
18. NOT WORTH IT – The Only Route (21)
19. OLD MAN’S WAR – Roadkeeper (22)
20. CHOKE – I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (23)
21. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (11) 21st week on chart
22. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (16)
23. SAW LIGHTNING – Beck (27)
24. MAYBE, I’M AFRAID – lovelytheband (28)
25. ALLIGATOR – Of Monsters and Men (30)
26. APOLOGIZE – grandson (26)
27. SEVENTEEN – Sharon Van Etten (17)
28. LO/HI – The Black Keys (19)
29. I SEE YOU – MISSIO (N)
30. ROOM TO BREATHE – Made of Eyes (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 19-25, 2019

1. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (1)
2. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (3)
3. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (4)
4. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish (5)
5. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (2)
6. FEAR THE FUTURE – IAMWARFACE (6)
7. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (9)
8. TIME – Morosity (10)
9. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed (11)
10. HURT – Oliver Tree (12)
11. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose (14)
12. TRAMPOLINE – SHAED (7)
13. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (8)
14. STILL FEEL. – half alive (15)
15. LO/HI – The Black Keys (16)
16. MISSED CONNECTION – The Head and the Heart (21)
17. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons (18)
18. SEVENTEEN – Sharon Van Etten (19)
19. PATIENCE – Tame Impala (20)
20. GENERATION Y – Guide Dog (17)
21. BAD LIAR – Imagine Dragons (23)
22. I’LL BE AROUND – Morning Fuzz (24)
23. NOT WORTH IT – The Only Route (25)
24. OLD MAN’S WAR – Roadkeeper (26)
25. CHOKE – I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (27)
26. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend (13)
27. APOLOGIZE – grandson (28)
28. SAW LIGHTNING – Beck (30)
29. VOLCANO – Feather Weight (22)
30. MAYBE, I’M AFRAID – lovelytheband (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 12-18, 2019

1. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (2)
2. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (1)
3. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (5)
4. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (6)
5. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish (7)
6. FEAR THE FUTURE – IAMWARFACE (8)
7. TRAMPOLINE – SHAED (3)
8. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (4)
9. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (10)
10. TIME – Morosity (12)
11. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed (13)
12. HURT – Oliver Tree (14)
13. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend (9)
14. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose (15)
15. STILL FEEL. – half alive (17)
16. LO/HI – The Black Keys (16)
17. GENERATION Y – Guide Dog (18)
18. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons (19)
19. SEVENTEEN – Sharon Van Etten (20)
20. PATIENCE – Tame Impala (22)
21. MISSED CONNECTION – The Head and the Heart (26)
22. VOLCANO – Feather Weight (11)
23. BAD LIAR – Imagine Dragons (24)
24. I’LL BE AROUND – Morning Fuzz (25)
25. NOT WORTH IT – The Only Route (27)
26. OLD MAN’S WAR – Roadkeeper (28)
27. CHOKE – I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (29)
28. APOLOGIZE – grandson (30)
29. ASSUME FORM – James Blake (21)
30. SAW LIGHTNING – Beck (N)

Top 30 Songs for April 21-27, 2019

1. TRAMPOLINE – SHAED (3)
2. READY TO LET GO – Cage the Elephant (1)
3. SIGUE CON EL AMOR – John Defeo (4)
4. VOLCANO – Feather Weight (5)
5. CHLORINE – twenty one pilots (7)
6. ASSUME FORM – James Blake (6)
7. POWER OVER ME – Dermot Kennedy (2)
8. LONGSHOT – Catfish and the Bottlemen (9)
9. DISAPPEAR – Western Jaguar (10)
10. HARMONY HALL – Vampire Weekend (12)
11. FEAR THE FUTURE – IAMWARFACE (15)
12. SUPERPOSITION – Young the Giant (8)
13. DARK PLACES – The Frontier (16)
14. BURY A FRIEND – Billie Eilish (17)
15. EXITS – Foals (11)
16. TIME – Morosity (19)
17. ESCAPE – Ships Have Sailed (20)
18. HURT – Oliver Tree (23)
19. LOVE CRAZY – Karolina Rose (21)
20. LO/HI – The Black Keys (22)
21. S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun) – The Glorious Sons (13)
22. HOME – morgxn featuring WALK THE MOON (14)
23. STILL FEEL – half alive (25)
24. GENERATION Y – Guide Dog (26)
25. MOVEMENT – Hozier (18)
26. BELOVED – Mumford & Sons (29)
27. SEVENTEEN – Sharon Van Etten (30)
28. PATIENCE – Tame Impala (N)
29. SECRET THAT LIES BEHIND – The Gear (27)
30. CHANGE – The Revivalists (24)