By Sebastian Solove
A constant struggle for most emerging bands is the inner battle to succumb to a certain genre or scene while maintaining their perceived originality. Twenty One Pilots has gone a different route by releasing their schizo-rock, rap infused, unpredictable May 2015 album Blurryface. Instead of receiving the torch from an influential and similar sound, Twenty One Pilots have forged their own sound in a way that cannot be matched in today’s scene. Incorporating a ukulele, piano and drums has defined them as versatile and unable to imitate.
Since the success of their 2013 album Vessel, the band has continued to incorporate synth-beat rock mixed with head banging rap verses followed by screaming that only makes you turn it up louder. Lead singer and keyboardist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun have turned a small Columbus, Ohio emo-rock group into a live concert juggernaut. The band’s appearance at Lollapalooza and Bonnarroo have spring-boarded them into the mainstream public’s eye.
On the surface this band could be looked at as equivalent hype men who drop one beat that has the sometimes younger ears tweeting out their praises. Tyler Joseph, however, has created a sound that is as unpredictable as the band’s outfits during live shows. Beneath the head to toe skeleton costumes and sometimes shirtless displays in 10 degree weather, Twenty One Pilots have developed a fresh sound that will leave you with a “How the hell have I not heard this” type of reaction. Their energy during live shows leaves the crowd longing for more while absolutely fried. On Blurryface, the band lyrically explores their insecurities, fears, and hope for purpose. He finds a comfort in lyrics that may not make sense in our typical standard. “Why can’t the verse by as infectious as the chorus,” Joseph confesses to Spotify. He puts his skill for keeping the listener on their toes by changing tempo and tone interchangeably. The lead single “Tear in my heart” is a love anthem that goes from Joseph screaming at the top of his lungs to simple snaps that take you to a state of uncontrollable laughter.
The band lyrically rejects the idea of belonging to one particular sound evident by “Lane boy”, that will give the stoner scene something to digest along with a cheeseburger. Joseph and Dunn show throughout the album their versatility musically as well as emotionally. In “Not today”, Joseph harmonizes his inner thoughts about his purpose in life while ending with a jam that will have you marching down the street with a new lease on life. Yeah, it’s that kind of vibe. For the casual listener, this album will leave you wanting more while still not fully able to describe how they sound to a friend. Joseph’s screams followed by falsetto lyrics filled with hope and self-skepticism has landed this band in the Billboard top 50. The future of this young, energetic duo is wide open and theirs for the taking.