Today we’re finally gonna talk about an album, which will be interesting for almost everyone unless you’re a straightforward hater of this band. Certainly, I myself was highly criticizing the upcoming singles of this album on my Russian-speaking YouTube channel. In particular, I’ve categorized them as mediocre and typical for the band’s well-defined music style. That’s basically because I always look for something completely new in modern music and we’ll definitely discuss the importance of novelty in modern music, but not today. Instead, today I’m gonna accept the fact that despite my criticism towards a couple of singles from this album, this a really good record. Much better than its predecessors.
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It’s 21 Pilots, who are famous for their billions of views on YouTube and huge popularity among the youth of all nations, colors and ages. I won’t deny the fact that I always liked certain tracks of the Pilots in the past and I still like them now; however, it was always not the case for me to enjoy listening one of their albums in full. What do I mean by that? I mean that really often the albums of Pilots seemed somewhat weak in relation to their coherency and consistency in terms of meaning and overall sound quality. In short, their previous albums contained a couple of really great tracks, which were really strong musically and lyrically, while the two thirds of the album was mediocre at best.
That’s why, I cannot really say that I’ve been highly anticipating the current album; moreover, I was highly criticizing the upcoming singles from the album and was more than skeptic towards the quality of the full album. To be honest, I thought it would be Blurryface 2.0 (which is the continuation of their previous album Blurryface, just wanted to remind you). In fact, with the first listening to the album, its music didn’t really leave any memorable impression and it was only with continuous listening to this album, when it started revealing for me its really great sides. Basically, these features of the album that have been revealed only after repetitions of listening have assured me that it’s currently best in the band’s career so far.
The album’s title is TRENCH and its cover features a picture of a vulture combined with black and yellow tones. It’s worth also mentioning that the same black-and-yellow style was used to design the rest of the pieces of visual art for Pilots, especially it’s clearly seen in the music videos, where we’ve seen these colors in various decorations, costumes or symbols.
Having dug deeper into the lyrical content of the album, we can clearly see that within 14 music tracks lasting for almost an hour, we can hear a story of album’s main hero living in imaginary city Dema. Its citizens are enslaved by the city’s atmosphere of anxieties, depression, sorrow, sadness and the rest of negative emotions. Moreover, all the people willing to flee from the city’s ruining influence, are being chased by the so-called prophets. We can hear about them in Nico and the Niners, as they are the guardians of the city and they do their best to control its citizens and keep them in the same emotional landfill forever.
It’s worth noting that such conceptual framework has a lot of similarities with The Story of the Wild Ones – the album by Black Veil Brides; however, it does not narrate the story directly as in musical or rock-opera; instead, the current album balances between the personal stories of the band members and the fictional stories about Dema, album’s protagonist and his willingness to join Banditos – a group of resistance aiming to confront the prophets. It is also worth mentioning that the overall lyrical content features great artistic choices and really deep mature ideas.
For example, track Neon Gravestones describes the guys’ protest against the glorification and romance currently associated with the suicide culture and concept of “living fast and dying young”. Instead, the track suggest to respect death but not romanticize about it and celebrate it. It tells us that it’s worth respecting people who lived their life in full and have influenced their families and people around them.
Next we’ve got really interesting symbols in lyrics. For example, the symbol of Pet Cheetah in the respective track really impressed me with its artistic complexity. The same goes for the symbol of protagonist’s jumpsuit aimed to protect him from dangerous influence of Dema and the profets. Finally, I also liked the ending of this story in the track Leave the City, which features the lines of main hero accepting his insecurities and someday capable of leaving Dema successfully.
In total, the lyrical content of this album is full of messages and conceptual details, which I appreciate a lot. It’s much better than the image of Blurryface symbolizing all the insecurities of Tyler, the band’s vocalist because the latter looked like a depiction of a teenager’s phase. This time, the lyrics are definitely more solid, coherent and mature in their meaning.
From musical standpoint, here we have the same old vocal and instrumental approach used by the Pilots, same as it was in the previous records. I accept and really admire the awesomeness of the main bass riff in the track Jumpsuit that sound really rock-ish; however, we can hardly hear anything similar throughout the rest of the tracks. Thus, the rest of the tracks rarely feature a certain melody, a riff or a chord progression that becomes a background or an anchor for the whole song. Instead, we can hear arrangements (that are really good, don’t get me wrong) rather than memorable instrumental performances. Still, I’ve gotta say my personal thanks for the track Legend and its musical and lyrical content. It’s because the combination of really happy and upbeat instrumental and sad lyrics about the death of Tyler’s grandfather. In total, this creates a highly emotional appeal that has made my eyes teary at some point, especially the last lines of the song telling that someday they’ll meet again.
Melodic content is centered across the vocals, which is also not a novelty for the band. It serves as more than a good way to deliver the aforementioned lyrical content. The vocal performances feature the same arrays of vocal effects and embellishments, including reverbs and phasers to add more drama, addition of doublers to create that low-pitched backing vocals and ad-libs. This is combined with rap flow and even reggae-style vocals. In total, the vocal parts feature many and many details that make each of the tracks sound fresh and interesting, even despite the fact that the instrumental parts could have been more original and creative.
So, all in all, I’d recommend this album for listening to almost everyone who did not listen to it yet, especially for those who looks for something interesting yet easy to understand. And for the fans, it’s a really great musical present that I’d rate 4,5 out of 5. I won’t give any more spoiler, go and listen for yourself, you’ll definitely enjoy it!
Меня зовут Эш (mynameis0ash), и я делаю обзоры на музыкальные альбомы и видеоигры. Этот блог - это платформа для обсуждения всего самого интересного в мире музыки и видеоигр. Поэтому, присоединяйтесь, подписывайтесь и будем обсуждать! Также я делаю музыку для хип-хоп группы Mba-Kayere (@mbakayere).Learn more