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"Heathens"
Twentyonepilotsheathens.jpg
Single by Twenty One Pilots
from the album Suicide Squad: The Album
Released June 16, 2016 (2016-06-16)
Format
Recorded 2016
Genre Rap rock[1]
Length 3:15
Label
Songwriter(s) Tyler Joseph
Producer(s)
Twenty One Pilots singles chronology
"Ride"
(2016)
"Heathens"
(2016)
"Heavydirtysoul"
(2016)
"Ride"
(2016)
"Heathens"
(2016)
"Heavydirtysoul"
(2016)
Suicide Squad track listing
"Sucker for Pain"
(2)
"Heathens"
(3)
"Standing in the Rain"
(4)
Music video
"Heathens" on YouTube

"Heathens" is a song by American musical duo Twenty One Pilots, released as the lead single for the motion picture soundtrack for the film Suicide Squad (2016) on June 16, 2016, through Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records.[2][3] The song was written by Tyler Joseph and produced by him along with Mike Elizondo. "Heathens" peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, tying with "Stressed Out" for the duo's highest charting single to date. "Heathens" was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 59th annual awards ceremony.

Background and composition[edit]

On June 15, 2016, Twenty One Pilots tweeted a message in Morse code which read "takeitslow", a lyric taken from the song "Heathens".[4] On the same day, the song leaked onto the Internet. The following day, June 16, it was revealed that the song would be featured on the motion picture soundtrack for the 2016 American superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team Suicide Squad. The soundtrack was released on August 5, 2016.[5]

As I was writing the song I was like, I want this song to be a Twenty One Pilots song first. And I want it to resonate with our fans and make sense at our show. Even though the themes in the movie inspired the beginning of it, as the lyrics came together, and as the song came together, I realized, like, this was our song.

— Tyler Joseph speaking about the song.[6]

"Heathens" is a rap rock song. It is played in the key of E Minor. The vocals in the song span from E4 to G5.[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song peaked in the runner-up position for four consecutive weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100,[8] but was kept out of the top spot by The Chainsmokers' "Closer", becoming the duo's second top 5 single on the Hot 100. It is the band's highest peaking single, tied with "Stressed Out". It spent 18 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Hot 100 before it dropped out on December 31, 2016.

With "Ride" charting at number five and "Heathens" at four in the same week, Twenty One Pilots became the third rock act with simultaneous top five Hot 100 singles in the chart's 58-year history, following only the Beatles and Elvis Presley, as well as the first duo in three years.[9][10] "Heathens" reached number one on the Hot Rock Songs chart, and holds the record for longest running single at number one, spending 30 weeks at the summit, the song also peaked at number one on the Alternative Songs chart, and reached the top 20 in a variety of other charts. As of September 2017, "Heathens" has sold over 2.1 million copies in the US.[11]

The song has reached number five on the UK Singles Chart. "Heathens" also made it into the top 10 in more than 15 different countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland.

Music video[edit]

On June 21, 2016, the official music video, directed by Andrew Donoho, was uploaded to the Fueled by Ramen YouTube channel.[12] It shows Joseph singing the song in Belle Reve, a fictional prison in the DC Universe, with Dun appearing while playing drums in the course of the video. Joseph makes his way to a small stage in the middle of a room, where Dun is already on the stage playing the drums. Joseph then picks up a floating bass guitar and begins playing it while the prisoners leave their cells and watch the duo perform the remainder of the song. At the end of the video, Joseph is sitting in the room alone as the prison security guards surround him. Throughout the music video, various clips of Suicide Squad are played. As of May 2018, the video has over 990 million views on YouTube. It also has over 6.7 million likes and is the second video by Twenty One Pilots to pass 5 million likes.

The clip won an award for Best Rock Video at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards.[13]

Live performances[edit]

The band performed "Heathens" for the first time in concert at The Uptown Amphitheatre at the Music Factory in Charlotte, North Carolina on June 28, 2016 as part of their Emotional Roadshow World Tour.[14] The song was later performed as part of the band's appearance on episode two of Saturday Night Live's forty-second season.[15]

Covers[edit]

"Heathens" was covered by rock band Halestorm, for their cover album Reanimate 3.0, released on January 6, 2017.[16] The song was also covered by the Belgian indie pop band Blondfire.[17]

Usage in media[edit]

Seven days after the song's release, it was used to accompany television advertisements for the American TV show Chicago P.D. on RTÉ2,[18] and was used to accompany the first half of a Problem Gambling documentary created by Davy Glennon, aired on Claire Byrne Live on November 22, 2016.[19][20]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
No. Title Length
1. "Heathens" 3:15
CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Heathens" 3:15
2. "Heathens" (DISTO remix) 3:39

Personnel[edit]

  • Tyler Joseph – vocals, piano, bass guitar, guitar, synthesizers, programming, keyboards
  • Josh Dun – drums, percussion

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[91] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[92] 2× Platinum 160,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[93] Platinum 90,000^
Germany (BVMI)[94] Platinum 400,000^
Italy (FIMI)[95] 3× Platinum 150,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[96] Platinum 30,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[97] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[98] 5× Platinum 2,123,000[11]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Worldwide June 16, 2016
United States[3] June 20, 2016 Contemporary hit radio

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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