I spent every car ride during the summer of 2013 listening to “Vessel” by Twenty One Pilots. A beautifully crafted album, “Vessel” is truly one of the best alternative albums I have heard in the past five years. Needless to say, the announcement of “Blurryface” was one that filled me with excitement … until I heard the first single, “Fairly Local.” This boring, alternative-rap, electro pop song killed the hype-train. I talked to my music-loving friends, and it seemed that none of us had any interest in this follow-up album.
“Blurryface” was deemed a horrible album before it even had a chance. But after the second single was released, I had no clue what to expect. “Tear In My Heart” was a hard song to avoid for a while. I found myself listening to it over and over, praying that “Blurryface” would live to be as beautifully crafted as this song.
Named “Blurryface” after a figure that “represents all the things … everyone around is insecure about,” the album was officially released May 17. It touches upon the same topics as “Vessel” while developing the thoughts a little bit further. Blurryface, being Tyler Joseph’s (the front man of Twenty One Pilots) alter ego, is mentioned several times in the album, including during the single “Stressed Out” and the final, powerful song “Goner.” His presence seems to take over Joseph’s mind and change him into someone he’s not, demonstrated in the “Stressed Out” lyric, “My name is Blurryface and I care what you think.”
Despite disliking all of the singles being released (excluding “Tear In My Heart”), I genuinely found the album to be a surprise. The continuity in the album, created by telling a story of Blurryface and Joseph’s “attempts to make [his] voices stop,” paints a dark picture about the troubles of being human. Joseph seems to break the fourth-wall in nearly every song, reminding listeners that his problems aren’t just lyrics and artwork, they’re real world problems we all feel. The best example of this comes in the song “Not Today,” when Joseph shares that the upbeat song is “a contradiction because of how happy it sounds,” because it represents “who [he] feels [he is] right now.”
The peak of the album doesn’t come until the end. The song “Goner” has an explosion of emotion at the end, leaving the story of “Blurryface” feeling quite unfinished. Though the finale implies that Joseph will continue to go on fighting his inner demons, I really dislike the note the album ends on. It almost makes the album feel as if it drags on just to be unpleasantly reminded that sometimes we never escape our problems. Don’t get me wrong though, “Goner” is an unbelievably powerful song, touching on Joseph’s alter ego, Blurryface, not being who he truly is.
As a whole, the album is great. “The Judge,” “Not Today” and “Tear In My Heart” are by far my favorite songs on the album, with “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV” and “HeavyDirtySoul” coming in close behind. These songs all sound like pieces of work that could be shining stars on their own and make me wonder why they weren’t released as singles instead of the lesser “Fairly Local” or “Lane Boy.”
While the album grows on me every time I hear it, it ultimately falls short of being what could have been a successor to “Vessel.” There are shining hits but also dreary moments I’ll be sure to skip over. The dark and powerful lyrics remind us that life can suck and that battling our inner demons can be scary. There are really no happy moments on this album. Despite the dark picture it paints, I’ll definitely listen to Twenty One Pilots’ newest piece of work again and again, but it won’t be the 2015 summer album it could have been. Overall, I’d give this album a seven out of 10.