The musical duo Twenty One Pilots, also known as TOP, has been around for years and are well known for songs including “Stressed Out” and “Ride” but have mostly been overlooked for awards and on the radio. But, on October 5, TOP released their fifth studio album titled, “Trench,” with 14 full songs, with the potential to be their best album yet.
In July of 2017, the band started their year-long hiatus with a goodbye to fans left on social media showing a closed eye with the words, “And now I just sit in silence,” a lyric from the song “Car Radio” from their third studio album, “Vessel.” Even with the duo, Tyler Joseph (Vocals), and Joshua Dun (Drums) being known to be very cryptic, their fans, or as they refer to themselves, the Skeleton Clique, were surprised with this sudden goodbye. I’ve been a part of the fandom for years and this departial was disappointing and shocking.
It wasn’t until July 6 of this year that they sent an e-mail update to those on their mailing list with a video of a blinking eye, symbolizing the end of the hiatus. On July 11, they finally gave their very eager fans two new songs titled, “Jumpsuit,” with a music video and “Nico and the Niners,” which ended up as the first and ninth songs on the album.
During their hiatus, the band left a string of clues for their fans, leading to the discovery of a new album. What was so interesting about this was TOP wasn’t advertising the album at that time, they wanted the fans to be the first to know, to discover it themselves.
What came as one of the bigger shocks was the different mood TOP was going for. With their previous album “Blurryface” the color red was commonly used from the album cover art to the wardrobe in music videos, compared to “Trench” where everything was shown yellow. With the color red having signified lead singer Joseph’s insecurities and mental illnesses, according to multiple interviews, the color yellow now signifies the light at the end of the tunnel and the support those close to him give him.
The yellow is used throughout the music video for “Jumpsuit” as Joseph runs from the fictional city the duo created, DEMA, which represents the feeling of being in between two places. Dun and Jenna Joseph, wife of Tyler, throw yellow flower petals over him to protect him from the demons following close behind. For all the cryptic messages the duo has sent in the past, this has been the most obvious yet. With them even taking photos and posting on Instagram and Twitter of them dressed up for the video.
While many bands have no correlation between their songs and music videos, TOP’s videos and songs each tell a small part of a story that all connects in the end. In fact, many songs reference each other and a character named Nicholas “Nico” Bourbaki, who is the antagonist of the album.
The album concludes with the song “Leave the City,” which describes Tyler leaving DEMA feeling as if it had begun to feel like home. To me, the song also feels like a goodbye letter, as Tyler repeatedly sings, “They know that it’s almost/ They know that it’s almost over.” While in the song he’s addressing the city, in reality I believe he’s addressing the fans. Perhaps this could be the beginning of TOP’s plans to stop making music together.
The album consists of 14 songs including, “Jumpsuit,” “Levitate,” “Morph,” “My Blood,” “Chlorine,” “Smithereens,” “Neon Gravestones,” “The Hype,” “Nico and the Niners,” “Cut My Lip,” “Bandito,” “Pet Cheetah,” “Legend,” and “Leave the City.”
Overall, I give this album a five bulldogs out of five. The year-long wait was well worth it, for this well thought-out and especially amazing album. TOP’s music may seem geared toward teenagers, but in fact listeners of any age can enjoy it. My father finds himself listening to them, even when he’s not with me. Give this band a chance, and you’ll find at least one song to love.