Ukulele slam poetry glam punk is the only way I can begin to describe Twenty One Pilots. Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun form the musical duo, which emerged from Columbus, Ohio in 2009. They can’t seem to conform to one sound or genre, instead choosing to experiment with each and every track. That’s the beauty of this band. No matter which type of music you prefer, there is probably a song in there for you.
They have since then released three albums; Twenty One Pilots, Regional At Best, and Vessel. Joseph, the main singer/songwriter of the group, has mentioned in interviews that in order to make up for the small number of band members, they have had to pump up their live shows in order to keep people interest. Which a diverse style and a large number of tracks at their disposal, twenty one pilots does not disappoint.
Twenty One Pilots, their self-titled debut album, was an interesting period in the band’s life. At the time, the band consisted of 3 members and Dun was not a part of it. The songs mostly consisted of piano based verses and carried an oddly hopeful undertone, despite the fact that the overall meaning behind the album is a lot darker. Joseph’s emotional tone stands out more than some of the quieter tracks but they have always thrived as a live band, rather than simply auditory. Still, it was an amazing debut album, and showed that twenty one pilots was a force to be reckoned with.
They followed their self-titled album with Regional At Best. By this point, Joseph’s two original bandmates had resigned for personal reasons. He asked Dun to play a show with him, for which the drummer promptly quit his job to be a part of. Regional At Best was almost like an experimental album, made up of fourteen tracks that would otherwise have been considered glorified demos if not for the care that went into their development. Joseph shows off his falsetto, and his screaming abilities, but makes it sound effortlessly professional. Whether he is lightly chanting, “I will make you believe you are lovely.” in ‘Lovely’ or shrieking in ‘Ruby’, “You’re an angel.” his voice is polished and blends seamlessly with the backing tracks and Dun’s franticly talented drumming.
Vessel was their most recent album release. It marks the band’s growth and their masterful grasp, as well as development, of their sound. Joseph has stated that the album is based on the metaphorical masks we wear (partially symbolized by the band’s uniform which includes ski masks) and the things we hide. And yet, he hides nothing. He screams, croons, and raps his way into the deepest parts of you, the parts you refuse to show anyone. While the subject matter of most of the songs seems to be Joseph and Dun barreling headfirst in an auditory manifestation of their struggles with anxiety and depression, it also conveys a sense of survival. Joseph and Dun are a dream team, and obviously put a lot of thought and care into their craft.
Their latest surprise was the reveal of their newest single, ‘Fairly Local’. The track is darker than previous releases by the band. It seems to be illustrating Joseph and Dun’s emotional struggle with their inner demons with an almost tangible aggravation. It is the first single to be released in preparation for their newest album, ‘Blurryface’, which is set to debut on May 19, 2015.
Twenty one pilots is almost more than as band. They are a constantly changing musical enigma, embracing themes of revival and hopefulness and mingling with darkness and confusion. Each album seems to have a deeper, succinct meaning behind it. The only question is:
What comes next?