REVIEW: “Blurryface” offers an array of diverse sounds

A Twenty One Pilots band member. Courtesy photo by Kmeron via Creative Commons.
Tyler Joseph, one of the members of Twenty One Pilots. Courtesy photo by Kmeron via Creative Commons.

By Laura Bock, Staff–

Twenty One Pilots’ unique musical sound comes back strong from their previous album “Vessel,” with their fourth studio album “Blurryface.”

The musical duo from Columbus, Ohio first came to popularity with their 2013 album “Vessel,” releasing popular songs such as “Car Radio” and “House of Gold.”

“Vessel” was a fairly diverse album and “Blurryface” is no different; in fact, “Blurryface” has an even more diverse sound, with the same rap and ukulele from the previous album, but also influences from reggae, hip-hop and dubstep.

Despite the possibly chaotic-sounding description, Twenty One Pilots has masterfully arranged the album:

This first song starts strong with fast-paced rap, and soon transitions into a very catchy chorus. Drummer Josh Dun is fabulous in this song, creating an upbeat tempo. The lyrics also reference a video the band made in 2013 called “Street Poetry,” which is a nice touch for dedicated fans.

Stressed Out
This song slows down a little bit, and has more of a creepy vibe to it. On top of that sound, the lyrics also offer a nostalgic feel. This song is a definite highlight of the album, and many students can probably relate to the central theme of wanting to go back to when life wasn’t stressful.

“Ride” introduces piano and bass guitar into the mix. The piano gives the chorus a reggae-like feel, which is very catchy. Towards the end, singer Tyler Joseph injects a lot of emotion into his words, and the song ends on a desperate note: “I’ve been thinking too much/Help me.”

Fairly Local
The first single released off the album, “Fairly Local” has great lyrics, but the auto-tune somewhat subtracts from them. Despite that, the song still has a strong sound and will sound great live.

Tear in My Heart
This song is hands-down my favorite song on the album. It has a much lighter feel to it, and is a little more on the pop side, which makes it very radio-friendly. The entire song is infectiously catchy and perfect to sing along to.

Lane Boy
This song centers heavily on Dun on the drum set, with a very fast tempo and a slight reggae feel to it. Joseph has more hard-hitting rap in this song, and the instrumental parts are very similar to “Trees,” a song from their previous album.

The Judge
As a nice contrast to “Lane Boy,” “The Judge” slows down, introducing Joseph on the ukulele. The uke was previously showcased on “Vessel” in the songs “Screen” and “House of Gold.” However, unlike “House of Gold,” which just had drums and ukulele, this also incorporates the bass and piano from “Ride.” This is definitely another stand out on the album.

“Doubt” introduces a hip-hop feel, which is very different from anything Twenty One Pilots has done previously. Despite that, it still sounds great and Dun’s drumming definitely stands out.

Reintroducing the reggae feel from “Lane Boy” and adding an electronic beat to it, “Polarize” still retains some of the classic Twenty One Pilots sounds, including Joseph’s meaningful lyrics and an emotional ending to the song. It’s another good song, but it isn’t my favorite off the album.

We Don’t Believe What’s On TV
The ukulele and fast tempo is reintroduced in this song, and is another stand-out, like “The Judge.” As well as Joseph showcasing the ukulele, Dun also breaks out the trumpet, and the combination works well together. Some parts of it remind me of “Harlem” by New Politics, which just makes it better in my mind.

Message Man
Starting off with keyboard, “Message Man” is another stand out. All the different rhythms and Joseph’s singing mingle together in a song that will undoubtedly sound incredible live.

This song has an older feel to it, sounding a little bit like a Killers song, but this just makes it seem more familiar and comfortable. Dun kills it on the drums, and to put it simply, “Hometown” is just a nice, laid-back song.

Not Today
The penultimate song on the album begins with a nice bassline and happy-sounding lyrics that actually aren’t very happy when you listen closer. As Joseph sings, “it’s a contradiction because of how happy it sounds, but the lyrics are so down.” The chorus is perfect for singing along to, Dun’s trumpet resurfaces and Joseph’s yelling about half-way through is reminiscent of “Migraine,” a song from “Vessel.”

“Blurryface” ends on this slow, beautiful song, which is an older song of the band’s that they have brought back. Joseph’s singing is full of pure emotion and gives you shivers. About a minute from the end, Joseph yells and the song ramps up and transforms into a very fast, hard-hitting tempo right before it ends. His last line, “I want to be known by you,” is so full of emotion that it will stick with you for long after the album has finished playing.

Overall, “Blurryface” is an incredible album with a blend of old and new sounds, and lots of energy and passion. Twenty One Pilots is definitely an acquired taste, and “Blurryface” is no different. However, with the wide variety of genres showcased in the songs, I can almost guarantee that everybody can find at least one song that they will like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *