Columbus, Ohio duo Twenty One Pilots do just a little bit of everything. They’re debut self-titled album features a lot of rapped lyrics, but they have a pop sound with some keys and drums. 2013’s Vessel really kicked things off for the band and the band’s hit “Car Radio” emerged from this record. Now TOP is back with their brand new album, Blurryface.
Blurryface (2015): 14 tracks, 52 minutes
People are complaining about the wide range of styles that are visited on Blurryface, and I’ll admit, they do go a whole ton of places on this piece. But I like that their sound keeps you on your toes.
“Heavydirtysoul” repeats “Can you save my / Heavy dirty soul?” and “Ride” encourages us to take some time out of the hard day and just take a break. “Fairly Local” echoes Romans 7, when it says “What I shouldn’t do I will” and in the next verse it’s vice versa. The lines “Even when I doubt you / I’m no good without you” are good to remember in times of struggle. In “Polarize” we are advised to ask for help with our problems (also in “Not Today”) and Tyler tells us “I wanted to be a better brother, better son.” The next track reads, “I don’t care what’s in your hair / I just wanna know what’s on your mind,” a good reminder as to where your worth is really found. “Sometimes you gotta bleed to know / That you’re alive and have a soul” are the opening lines in “Tear in My Heart” . . .
However, it also says later, “I’m driving here I sit / Cursing my government / For not using my taxes to fill holes with more cement.” And while it’s just a goofy line, it’s not biblical (Romans 13:1-7). There are a lot of songs that mention killing, and although it’s not meant literally, it could be taken the wrong way. “‘Cause our minds change on what we think is good” seems to indicate a postmodern philosophy in “Lane Boy.” The song also says “We go where we want to.”
“Heavydirtysoul” and “Fairly Local” rely heavily on bass, while “Stressed Out” is more ambient as well as “Goner,” and “Message Man.” “Ride” is an upbeat, fun track, as well as “Tear in My Heart,” “The Judge,” “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV,” and “Not Today.” “Hometown” has an almost Adele-like feel to it, with lots of synth and falsetto it feels right at home on the pop scene, while “Doubt” echoes EDM.
Under the Gun Review hails Twenty One Pilots as a great band with exclusive lyrical honesty (specifically referencing “Tear in My Heart”). I think the best part about Twenty One Pilots is that they are Christians making solid, clean music. They let their faith influence their music and let it speak for itself. We don’t always have to preach to get our message across. While this album is very diverse, it covers a lot of the same material lyrically; tired of being alone and in the same old depressing state. A lot of the tracks show how they try to rise up out of that. A good message with great music is an unbeatable combination.
And, just for you Faith, 8/10