UPDATE: Click here to go to new website!
It is finally here. “Blurryface” with no doubt was my most anticipated record of this year. Being Twenty One Pilot’s fourth album. and second on a major label, it definitely had a lot to live up to. After giving it many listens and consideration, I am ready to give my thoughts.
This is the way you open an album. “Heavydirtysoul” is an absolute slap in the face. The song opens with a brutally fast rap verse and slows into a nice groove within the chorus. Not only is it catchy as hell, but it sounds very well tuned and the lyrics are fantastic. These lyrics come from a free-verse video Tyler released a while ago, and it is nice to see that throwback. Overall, this is a great opener.
- “Stressed Out”
I was in love with this track from the first time I heard it. The funky flow throughout is fun, and Tyler’s innocent vocals sound spot on. I love how the lyrical content is sang here. It pieces together nicely and leaves it stuck in the listener’s head for a good while. This track is the most like “Vessel” you will find on this album, and that’s a good thing.
“Ride” opens with a strange reggae feel that comes off weird at first, and later develops smoothly. The general groove of this track is wonderful and the chorus hits hard with a pleasurable beat. This is one of the weaker lyrical songs on the album, but it still keeps up to standards.
- “Fairly Local”
Being the first single off the record, this song made a splash. I wrote a single review on it the day it was released to a mixed response. I still haven’t completely grown on it, but I do like it more in context of the whole record. The groove is a little funky and the overall feel is somewhat generic. It’s definitely not the best this album has to offer, but it’s not the worst you’ll get either.
- “Tear in my Heart”
This track is just so simple, you have to love it. You can tell Tyler put a lot of emphasis on his recent marriage into this track, and it bleeds through beautifully. It’s okay to have a cliché track on a record as long as it comes off sincerely, and this certainly does. The cute lyrics and steady drum beat keep it poppy and overall, it’s just fun.
- “Lane Boy”
At first listen, I must admit I wasn’t very into this track. After many listens though, I adore it. The lyrical content on this track are some of the best on the record, and the fast flow is amazing. Again, we are served with this newly established Twenty One Pilots reggae, and I’m okay with it. It ends up making the song fun and I find myself coming back to this one often.
- “The Judge”
Out of all of the new tracks, this one surprised me the most. I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it as much as I did. The simple ukulele pattern coupled with the soft vocals come together beautifully. By the time the drums beat in, it’s just fantastic. The way the band pushes themselves vocally and instrumentally here is miles above many of the other tracks on this album and it certainly shows.
Here is where the album starts to find itself in some trouble. This track is just so far away from the Twenty One Pilots of old, it comes off a little disjointed. I feel like the chorus and overall vibe of this track are just so generic. There is a great atmosphere in this song, but other than that, it just feels shallow.
Again, the album falls into a pit of problems. This track just feels so generic. There is no quirky flare here that we have seen so much already on the album. This just sounds like every other club song you’ll hear this year. I wanted a lot more out of this, and I was left feeling disappointed.
- “We Don’t Believe What’s on TV”
Luckily, the album comes back to good form on this track. The off-kilter flow to this song is so much fun, and it certainly comes off in a great way. There is no fake feelings here, it’s all very real. This is what I look for from this band, songs that sound raw and fresh. It’s not overproduced, it doesn’t try too hard, it’s just fun.
- “Message Man”
This song is a bit of a mixed bag for me. There are elements I like a lot here. The chant-like groove here is outstanding, and the lyrical and vocal content is great. I also like Josh’s drumming, but from there on, it’s trouble. I’m having trouble finding substance. It feels fun and has quirky parts that keep it alive, but overall, I just feel like it needs more in order to stay above the rest.
Grr, this song frustrates me; It has so much potential. The general feel of the song is nice, low-key and slow-moving. I just cannot understand what Tyler is trying to do with his voice. It is so low and sounds very forced. Why not just use your natural range? This element alone ruins this song for me and I find myself skipping over it when I play the album as a whole.
- “Not Today”
With a fresh breath of air, the band brings the perfect amount of groove to this track. I love the weird little exchanges Tyler has in his vocals. It’s as though he is having a verbal argument with himself, and it is just great. This is one of the most organic feeling tracks on the album, focussing more on instrumentals and technique than polished electronica. For these reasons, it stands high within the overall album.
Whew, I need to take a breather after that one. What an absolutely beautiful way to close out an album. The general building-up momentum of this track is phenomenal, and when it finally cuts into the screaming, emotion packed final verse, it packs a huge punch. I’m not completely sold on the choice to say the final words in a weirdly transitioned soft tone, but overall, this track works tremendously well in sending the album off on a high note.
Twenty One Pilots did a great job in following up “Vessel”. This album doesn’t do everything right and certainly feels generic and uncertain at times, but for the most part it does it’s job well. Will these songs be as memorable and stand the test of time as well as their current material? I’m not so sure. One thing’s for sure, the band did as good of job as you could hope with so much weight on their shoulders.
UPDATE: Click here to go to new website!