Twenty-One Pilots: Is it A “Good Day”?

Before making their appearance in mainstream music in 2015, Twenty-One Pilots already had a fiercely loyal fan-base who identified deeply with the band’s penetrating, emotionally astute lyrics. Buoyed by the enthusiasm of their die-hard fans, Twenty-One Pilots’s unique blend of rock, hip hop, and electropop caught the attention of a wider audience with songs like “Stressed Out” and “Heathens.” While both band members, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, keep their faith and personal lives mostly private, their music often draws on Christian imagery and focuses on themes of faith, doubt, and identity. Their recent album, Scaled and Icy, is another example of Twenty-One Pilots’s unique blend of musical styles and thought-provoking lyrics.


A Good Day or Denial?
Scaled and Icy starts off with the song “Good Day,” a musically upbeat tune on which singer Tyler Joseph contemplates what he would do if he lost his family and friends. Before divulging the dark thoughts in his mind, Joseph belts a chorus of pure optimism:

Low-key, I’m alright
Would you say you depend on the weather?
My sunshine
Is a buzz and a light, I’ll be singing out
I know it’s hard to believe me
It’s a good day

In the very next verse, Joseph describes a dark and depressing situation:

Lost my job, my wife, and child
Homie just sued me

Joseph describes the song as a theoretical exploration of if he lost his friends and family, “a period in the mourning process where my reaction to anyone asking me how I’m doing would be like, ‘I’m fine.’” Contrary to what he just sang in the chorus, this does not sound like a “good day.” The upbeat chorus and distressing verse are incongruous, leaving the listener wondering why the song sounds so positive if it is an exploration of tragic events. Despite the terrible events described in the first verse, Joseph repeats “I’m alright” to conclude the song, returning to a hopeful refrain:

Today’s a good day
Never know, never know
When the next one will show, it’ll show
So Imma sing my soul, Imma sing my soul

Taken at face value, Joseph’s declaration “it’s a good day” is pure denial, brought on by grief from the horrible events he describes. In the face of calamity, what reason does anyone have to say that it’s a good day, good month, or good year? In light of all the tragedies that have and may come about, it can seem like the only options are despair or denial, and on “Good Day,” Joseph chooses denial.

A Bad Day Looking Forward to a Better Day
On the other hand, “Good Day” could be taken to be more than just denial of current tragedy. From a secular point of view, seeing “Good Day” as pure denial makes sense. When things go disastrously wrong, there is no explanation or future hope to mitigate the griefs of life. From a Christian point of view, denial is neither our last or best course of action. Sometimes the only options may seem like dismay or denial, but we know that, despite how deeply broken the world currently is, one day the world will be made new (Isaiah 65:17). In light of this truth, “Good Day” could be seen as an anthem of hope in anticipation of good things to come in the future. Even when everything seems to go wrong, Christians can, seemingly paradoxically, say, “I know it’s hard to believe me, it’s a good day.” Our happiness does not “depend on the weather;” that is, it does not depend on our current circumstances, but is rooted in something far more secure than whether today is a good day or a bad day. It is rooted in the knowledge that, regardless of how good or bad this day is, we can look forward to a better day to come.

Songwriter and author Andrew Peterson has said, “Despair is where we end up when we think we know the end of our story.” If we experience suffering and tragedy in our lives and conclude that our story will end in suffering and tragedy—or worse, that our story is meaningless—despair follows. However, Christianity teaches that we do know how our story ends and that we have reason to hope. True, we are not promised pleasant lives or that this life will end happily. In John 16:33, Jesus promises his disciples, “in the world you will have tribulation.” This life will have suffering, but the end of this life is not the end of the story: in the same breath in which he tells his disciples they will suffer tribulations, Jesus says, “but take heart: I have overcome the world.” Although Christ has overcome the world, that does not mean all brokenness has been repaired and all suffering erased. We live at a time in which Christ has already completed the work of reconciling his people to himself, but that renewal has not yet been entirely revealed. This idea is sometimes known as inaugurated eschatology. Not yet has every bad day been relegated to the past; not yet has every broken thing been restored; not yet has every tear been wiped away. But already we know that Christ is king and a time will come when we can say of every day (if there are days in Heaven): “it’s a good day.”

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Jesse Childress

Jesse Childress has a deep appreciation for good food, philosophy, theology, and literature. He is the former Lead Content Editor and Writer for Summit Ministries' worldview blog Reflect, and spent a term studying at Francis Schaeffer's L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. Jesse has an MA in Cultural Apologetics from Houston Baptist University (now Houston Christian University), and began attending Denver Seminary in the fall of 2022 to study counseling, focusing particularly on the relationship between trauma and faith.