Review Summary: "Don't let me be gone"Boom
. An explosion. What was once a merely small, hometown band suddenly escalated into a universally popular duo. Selling out shows, top of the charts, and absolute fan pandemonium became the new “norm” for twenty one pilots. Blurryface
; there was just something about that one record of theirs that people could grab onto. Was it the sudden connection between the music and the people? Maybe it was just the simple exposure of singles through radio play. Whatever it was, one thing is for sure: twenty one pilots had officially ditched craftsmanship for catchiness.
Blurryface: this almost omnipresent being that haunts Tyler Joseph. Throughout, it almost seems like Tyler is at war with this “person” of sorts, falling into depressing mannerisms with sudden pace changes of his mind counteracting the source. Almost conceptual, Blurryface
guides this story through fluctuations of moody, melancholy atmospheric, bass-driven pop (‘Fairly Local’) amalgamated with rap-prominent rock-imbued indie/alternative (‘heavydirtysoul’). Maintaining the distressing, bleak lyrics of the previous albums juxtaposed with the almost happy undertone of the musical aspects, Blurryface
merely acts as a medium in which Tyler Joseph pours out his emotions and feelings, sprawled across tracks of the record. What makes this different from their past discography is the lack of innovation and the watered-down lyrics/music.
From the introduction of ‘heavydirtysoul’ to the conclusion of ‘Goner’, the story of Tyler and Blurryface oscillates back and forth, up and down, side to side, taking many twists and turns throughout the duration of the album. From the beginning, Tyler is calling out for someone to save his heavy, dirty soul, yet falls into the trap of envy for the past, declaring the stress he’s had compared to when he was younger. Shifting gears, he wrestles with himself, resulting in his current state of apathy, unscathed by the situation around him and taking his time on his ride, unready to return to his emotional turmoil. Even “Fairly Local” shows his constant state of wrestling, utilizing the same verse twice, one becoming a paradox as Tyler himself declares to be two different things within the span of just moments. As the journey continues, he comes face to face with ‘The Judge’, pleading freedom as he unceasingly quarrels with his doubt, issues he’s pushed down deep, and suicidal depression. The final screams of ‘Goner’ resonate through the air as Tyler yells “I’m a Goner/Somebody catch my breath/I want to be known/By you
,” abruptly ending the story, inflicting confusion as to whether Blurryface had succeeded or Tyler were to come out as the victor.
Now of course, the lyrics play a huge role in the storytelling, because, well, the story is actually contained within the words; surprising right? However, coincidentally or not, the music itself provides the atmosphere, mood, and tone of the entire “tragedy.” Much of the music has a quote-unquote “bouncy” feel to them, hinted with a brighter tone, almost acting as a mask or cover of sorts to the hell Tyler has created and lives in. Even as he harmonizes about all of his hiding place under the stairs for his problems in ‘Polarize’, his melodies continue to soar in a light way, contradicting the former tonality of the song itself. In spite of this, there is also some anarchy and chaos inoculated into the formula. Josh Dun’s pulsating, tempo-changing drumming turns the album on a dime, taking it from a high-speed attack to a sluggish grind in a matter of a few measures, adding to the underlying stresses of Blurryface
. The book ends, much like an actual book itself, manage to set the stage and end the climax. ‘heavydirtysoul’ opens on an accelerated pace, and after many changes in tempo, style, genre (wavering from rock to indie to alternative to pop), and mood, ‘Goner’ ends the record on a cathartic note as Tyler unleashes his raw emotions through screams and shouts as the final piano note rings.
This story composed by the heart, mind, and soul of Tyler Joseph himself is the key compelling component of the album. In turn, the lyrics are often quite surface level, which overall deteriorate the epic tale of Blurryface
, along with the radio-friendly beats of the former half of the album (which is coincidentally entirely structured by all of the singles from the album). Although this definitely falls flat in the face of its predecessors, twenty one pilots have masterfully created an album that holds strong even in the face of radio over-play, an extreme (and quite frankly, annoying) fan base, and an overall engulfment of fame in modern day society. When we have our days of stress, depression, doubt, and loneliness, always remember: Blurryface cares what you think.