Album Review: “Trench”

Twenty One Pilots’ new album may be their best yet

Kolby Spomer
Staff Writer

I dislike the music made by Twenty One Pilots. I think the lyrics they write tend to be overly edgy, I think the vocalist isn’t a very good rapper at all, and I think that their albums tend to be tonally inconsistent. All of that being said, I really enjoyed their newest album.

My complaint about the cringe-inducing lyrics still stands, along with the rapping for the most part, but the new album is much more cohesive, and the production on the rest of the songs is extremely well.

Let’s start with the good, because this album has quite a bit of good to shine a light on. Sonically, the album works for the most part, as it is my favorite version of this type of record.

The vocalist Tyler Joseph shines when he actually sings hooks and the drummer Josh Dun returns in top form, showing his talent as one of the best drummers performing today. The production on the tracks apart from the drumming compliments it in a very nice way, and also does a good job of conveying the mood of the album.

The theme of mental health is one they have touched on in the past, but this is the first time it has actually seemed to work to me. The lyrics are a bit deeper and more thought out than they have been in the past, and that is helped by the story told.

Throughout the album, we are told the tale of the city of Dema and one man’s attempts to escape its walls. While I don’t think the story really works as well as they had hoped for, I do love that they tried this type of storytelling, as it possesses a little more subtlety and nuance than their previous albums had.

Now, all that said, I still have problems with the album. While the vocals sound good when he is singing, he does not sound good when he is rapping. I think the idea of mixing rap into their music is smart, I just think it could be done a little better.

Maybe if he mixed up the flow a little bit, or if someone else entirely was rapping, then I wouldn’t mentally check out when I hear him start up. I also don’t think sonically they evolved as much as they could have, which is a tad disappointing, as this is their third album.

All in all, I didn’t go into this album expecting to enjoy it, but I did. Tracks like “Chlorine and Nico” and “The Niners” remain extremely listenable, and when coupled with the poignant central message about mental health it makes for one of my favorite rock albums of the year.

I wouldn’t call myself a fan just yet, but I would say that I am excited to see where they go from here.

Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press. 

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