Twenty One Pilots welcomed us back to their world this weekend with the release of their fifth album, “Trench.”
Similar to their last release, “Blurryface,” the album tells a story of its own, creating an alternate universe with key characters and an inner conflict. While this album’s story isn’t as straightforward as the last, the band is already beginning to develop it more through their music videos. Characters such as Nico and Clancy have come to light, along with a place called Dema.
The album starts with the song “Jumpsuit,” which was released as a single over the summer. It’s a great start to the album because it sounds most similar to their older work. “Trench” brings forward a new sound for the band, but Twenty One Pilots still holds onto their roots and doesn’t depart too far away from them.
“Jumpsuit” transitions seamlessly into “Levitate” to the point where you won’t even notice the song changed unless you’re looking at the player. It’s masterful and incredibly satisfying.
“Neon Gravestones” is an emotionally heavy track, which is not unusual for the band’s reputation of writing darker lyrics with happy melodies.
“Our culture can treat a loss like it’s a win,” Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of the band, sings.
The song takes on the topic of suicide and the issues with glorifying it in our society through the lyrics “Communicating, further engraving / an earlier grave is an optional way / No.”
The song is one of the most important tracks on the album. Twenty One Pilots has been called out in the past for supposedly glorifying suicide and depression, but their lyrics are real, so they talk about these things often, and always in a way that encourages people to seek help and keep living. “Neon Gravestones” is another song that reminds people that suicide is not an option and that we should instead focus on living the best lives we can.
“Pet Cheetah” is Joseph’s autobiographical song. Fans of the band are referred to as the Clique, and Joseph writes, “This clique means so much to this dude / It could make him afraid of his music / And be scared to death he could lose it.”
The song is one of my favorites on the album because it’s fun. The song’s premise is that Joseph has a pet cheetah named Jason who writes his songs with him. The first half of the song harkens back to the band’s popular song “Migraine,” which is a fun reference for fans to pick up on.
The album has a lot of references like that. “Morph” ends with Joseph chanting “Josh Dun,” the name of the drummer in the band, which he did in “Judge” on the last album. “Smithereens” uses the same chords as “Anathema” from their album “Regional At Best,” which was fun to listen to again since they no longer own the rights to that album and can’t sell it. “Cut My Lip” shares a similar sound to “Ride” and “The Hype” pays homage to Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”
The entire album is full of Dun’s excellent drumming skills. He doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but his talent is superb and his work on this album is remarkable.
For fans of Joseph’s ukulele playing, fear not: “Legend,” the thirteenth song on the album, finally gives us the instrument we’ve missed and that made the band popular. It’s a delightful, upbeat and happy song after the serious tone of the rest of the album.
Twenty One Pilots always ends their albums with a slow, serious piano song. This tradition has continued with “Leave The City,” bringing the album to a close with a nod to the album’s title. “Though I'm far from home,” Joseph writes, “in TRENCH I'm not alone.”
The album can feel a bit slow at first, but once I listened to it a few times, I fell in love. The album is unique and truly a work of art. I’ll definitely be playing it on repeat for a while.
Courtney Gavitt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.