Review Summary: Don't believe the hype.
For several months, the TOP fanbase anxiously awaited the release of the duo’s fifth and freshest album, Trench. After a series of three very different singles, as well as a fully leaked audio clip of “My Blood,” it was clear that these new songs have shown much artistic growth when compared to the highly commercial album, Blurryface. Trench is yet another concept album by the pair, but unlike Vessel or Blurryface, Trench is also their most cohesive work to date.
There are certain albums where you can nearly imagine what a song would sound like as soon as the tracklist is revealed. And with such cool titles as “Neon Gravestones” and “Pet Cheetah,” it almost sounds too good to be true. Despite the titles, which are all listed on the front cover of the album, something that artists should do more often, in this reviewer’s opinion, the music on this album really digs deep. Most songs are highly experimental when placed in the context of their own music, and they’ve always dabbled in multiple genres. However, this is an effort that avoids showing off how many genres they can hop between, and instead crafts its own unique blend of elements for every song.
If you’re looking for more guitar-heavy tracks like “Jumpsuit,” you’ll probably be disappointed. Everything else on Trench fits in more with the alternative hip hop sound that they’ve always tried to perfect rather than semi-hard rock. This is probably for the best, since guitars aren’t so prominent in that many TOP songs. There’s actually quite a lot of piano on here as well, like on “Leave the City,” the album’s closer. And the sad part is that the “sad part” of the record, starting with “Cut my Lip,” has some boring songs. Even though some of them are piano ballads designed to sound pretty, it just doesn’t deliver with the energy. The last song, especially, falls flat from its overuse of soft keyboards and pianos, as well as being too repetitive with the chorus that goes, “They know that it’s almost over.”
But there were some interesting twists and turns that this trench had to offer. “Levitate” smoothly segues from the end of “Jumpsuit,” and it’s a super short song with a clanging hip hop beat, but it’s worth a listen. And, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if Tyler Joseph would somewhat imitate Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher" Well, it sounds like he’s got that covered on “The Hype.” Easily the catchiest track on the album, “The Hype” features a chorus with some serious “Wonderwall” vibes, a ukulele riff, pianos, strings, dense drums, and synthesizers. It’s the moment where everything great about Trench comes together: catchy choruses, hip hop rhythms, and various different instruments, creating a collage of sound. “Nico and the Niners” is just as catchy as “The Hype." It adds a psychedelic dose of reversed loops and sounds to the mix, while still sounding like a pop song.
As far as the actual concept goes, leave it to the thousands of die-hard fans to decipher! Trench is still a great alternative rap rock album even if you don’t believe the hype.
“The Hype” (BEST TRACK)
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars