The wait is over- it’s finally here! I discovered Twenty One Pilots a good three years ago with the release of Blurryface, their last album. After not really liking it at first, it quickly grew on me and became by far my favourite album of that year. After that, I dug into their discography and found some absolute gems- their debut self-titled album was technically brilliant, and Vessel was an essential album emotionally and musically at that point of my life. This inspiring duo quickly became one of my favourite bands, and when I first met my girlfriend, we bonded over a shared love for their music. What I’m trying to say is the band are a massive part of my life, and I have very high expectations of this, their fourth album. But have those expectations be met? Let’s find out…
When the first few singles from this album dropped, I honestly couldn’t have been more thrilled. ‘Jumpsuit’ was the rock-tinged banger that I’d always known the band could create, and ‘Nico and the Niners’ was slightly more low-key, but just as infectious. ‘Levitate’ shows lead singer Tyler Joseph massively stepping up his rapping ability, and while I found fourth single ‘My Blood’ a little dull at first, I found myself humming it for weeks after I first listened to it, so it definitely grew on me with time.
A couple of days ago, I listened to the album for the first time- and I was massively disappointed. The songs seemed to have lost their individual quality, and the compositional and instrumental choices seemed a lot duller. I thought that the lyrics were massively improved and the production was immaculate, but everything else seemed to have lost it’s shine. Then I listened to it again, and it grew on me. Not massively, of course, but I knew that there was something special about the album. It was like I could understand how good it was, but I just couldn’t quite get into it myself. Then I listened to it again. And again. And again. And every time, I enjoyed the album a little more and got a lot more out of it.
Now, despite all of this, I’m still not sure I’d call the album ‘my thing’. It’s a lot more low-key, whereas I enjoyed Twenty One Pilots for their bold instrumental choices. But this doesn’t exactly make the album bad, and honestly, I’d say this is technically the band’s best album. The production technically flawless, the lyrics are interesting and a lot more nuanced than any of the band’s previous work, and compositionally, there are some really brave and interesting choices. This was a weird review to write, with my personal tastes and the quality of the album itself at odds, but I suspect it’ll just keep growing on me. But let’s take my personal taste out of things- and look at the album objectively- and in that sense, for me, the album is flawless.
Best songs: Chlorine, Pet Cheetah, The Hype, Levitate