Twenty One Pilots blew up in 2013 with the release of their third studio album Vessel, quickly chucking them in the alternative scene limelight. Thanks to the success of their first full-length release and the helping hand of record label Fueled by Ramen, this newest record was met with quite the anticipation. Blurryface, featuring fourteen new tracks, turned out to be a solid follow-up to Vessel, minus one or two mid-sized weaknesses.
With Blurryface, you still get your expected sing-along anthems, rapping verses and melodic choruses, off the chart energy and rooted themes, but this time around they’re wrapped up in a variety of different genres and sounds. To some, that would be considered a good thing, to others, not so much. On one hand, it’s a positive thing for an album to be eclectic and for songs to differ from one another. On the other hand, this approach can also lead to a scattered and stuttered listening experience. In this particular case, I would say that the attempt at incorporating a wide range of styles does slightly give the impression of wanting to do too much at once. Now before you start to think that this review is gearing to be a negative one, note that aside from the lack of direction, I found every song, least maybe one or two, to be really solid tunes. The core weakness lies in the album experience as a whole but it doesn’t have to take away from each song individually.
If we take a look at a few of the songs we can really pick up on the large array of genres present on this record. The album kicks off with “Heavydirtysoul”, featuring a fast drum beat and even faster rapping. This fun and upbeat song is what the band does best and so far we’re off to a great and familiar start. It’s later on that “Ride” shakes things up. Definitely one of the most contrasting songs, the reggae-style tune has you wondering where all of this is going. Two songs later, you’re hit with a radio-ready pop song in the form of “Tear In My Heart” to then later slow things down with ukulele-lead summer tune “The Judge”. If the musical rollercoaster ride you were on didn’t shake you up enough by now, “Hometown” was sure to take you home with its piano and synthesizers fusion. We then bring everything to a close with down-tempo, heavy and emotional “Goner”, building to an intense and explosive finale.
Altogether, despite the lack of proper direction, every song off this album holds its own and provides something interesting. This record isn’t perfect but it does not disappoint and I do not doubt that this year will be a good one for Twenty One Pilots. If you live in the Montreal area, the band will be at this year’s Osheaga Festival and I hear they give a hell of a show. Be there, I know I will.