(Un)Covered: Heathens

twenty one pilots vs RVLS By | October 5, 2016 at 1:00 PM

“Heathens”
Writers: Tyler Joseph
Original Release Date: June 16, 2016

Unless you’ve actually been in prison with the rest of the supervillains for the past four months, I’m sure by now you’ve heard twenty one pilots’ latest song, “Heathens”.

Also known as the only reason I bought the Suicide Squad soundtrack without seeing the movie (apart from Panic! at the Disco’s cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”), “Heathens” was released in June of this year, and if the band wasn’t already in the public’s eye, they are now. I’ve seen people all over my social media posting things like “why have I never heard of twenty one pilots before, they’re so good????” and my seven year old niece frequently requests that we listen to it —so you could say that they appeal to a wide range of listeners. It’s a pulsing, addictive song that is not only hella catchy but also manages to seep into your brain and stay there so that you find yourself looking around for any murderers and/or psychopaths who might be next to you. Tyler Joseph’s distinctive vocals draw you in, but you’ll want to stay once you hear Josh Dun’s simple but mesmerizing drum beat.

Los Angeles-based RVLS released a cover of the song in September, including a video which features footage from their most recent tour. Vocalist Kalie Wolfe has a completely different tone than Tyler Joseph, but her voice is powerful enough to really carry the dark lyrics. I like that she comes across as more aggressive than Joseph—she sounds angrier than TOP, who come across as somewhat resigned to their fate, whereas RVLS makes you feel like they’re fighting against becoming “one of us”. The instrumentation is much the same as the original, but has a grittier texture and more pronounced synths, giving the whole thing an extra dose of energy.

Of course nothing can top TOP’s fantastic original, but there’s something satisfying about hearing a relatively small band like RVLS viciously spit out the chorus of one of this summer’s biggest hits.

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