Twenty-One Pilots, consisting of songwriter and singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dunn from Ohio, have been known for being slightly off the wall. Their music isn’t restricted to one genre, their lyrics are beautifully heart-breaking, and the breadth of their albums show their diversity; it’s enough to make any listener think “bloody hell”. After the success of the previous album, Vessel, the bar was set high – I mean, what else could these guys do that would still shock fans? It’s kind of their appeal. Well, Blurryface was the answer, and whilst there is the same emotional, poetic discussion of insecurities and general life baggage, this record has shocked me a little. The lyrics are a bit more catchy, the content make the band seem like they’re trying to be a bit “gangster”, but overall the music is honest. So, hindsight? Not a bad job, but sometimes questionable.
Beginning with Heavydirtysoul, the album starts with an energetically, which immediately draws me in. The quiet introduction dives straight into their statement rapping – right into what this band does best. This is hard-hitting and exactly what I hoped for when I pressed play; points to Pilots. Yet, they don’t forget about the importance of vocals and their abilities show in grandeur, reaching high notes and hitting them well. The Judge also highlights Twenty One Pilots stunning vocals by using a simple acoustic guitar to support a tender melody and message, before the chorus again shows Joseph’s vocal range. This is probably one of my favourites on this album, purely because, although this sounds awfully simple, the music is just really lovely.
Another aspect that I adore about Blurryface is how different each song sounds – well, most of the time. Ride has an optimistic, reggae feel to it that is so chilled and cool that I want summer to be here now. It reminds me of being a teenager in the summer, thinking about how great life was when the temperature went a few degrees up. Tear in my Heart is an adorable centre to the album – Joseph and Dunn finally touch on love rather than ranting about personal issues and this song is beaut. Nowadays, and I feel most would agree, bands release their third or fourth album and all the originality has gone; the songs merge and sound identical. So, this experiment with genre and mood really makes me happy. Yay for Pilots!
Yet, there are a few low points too. Stressed Out kind of reminds me a little of Eminem in sound and I get a little scared that the “gangster” vibe is a wee bit too try-hard. But, I actually love the message of the song – the loss of childhood and how it turns to “Wake up, you need to make money”. It’s a cliché, but being a uni student studying a degree that may or may not get me employed, it’s kind of fitting. Still, Fairly Local has this thug feel too with its drops and tensions, and unfortunately, Lane Boy is noticeably similar, which is quite upsetting to see from such an original band. But, hold on, not all bad news – Goner is an absolute treasure as the finale. Its typically Twenty One Pilots in its use of drama, piano, and a depression that results in an explosion of energy, but it’s pure gold. The simple, pained vocals building to screaming anger is delightful and I’m left joyous as the album comes to a close.
So, my opinion? An awesome album that lives up to Twenty One Pilot’s reputation of being unique and wonderful, and although some songs are quite self-indulgent, there are some gems that I will most definitely be playing on repeat.