Rising out of the ‘Trench’

Twenty One Pilots release new album that digs deep about mental illness in society

By on October 9, 2018

The duo, Twenty One Pilots, delighted their fans with the release of their new album three years after their previous one. On Oct. 5, the group dropped “Trench,” a 14-song album which details in chilling truth the reality of dealing with mental illness. The album highlights a brief scene of what it’s like to live with mental illness, but also harshly critiques society’s view of those suffering.

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The album begins with the song “Jumpsuit,” which starts off with an intense rock introduction. Compared to their earlier albums, this hard rock juxtaposes their usual electronic sound. The song ends with a taste of screamo vocals that fuels the intensity of the song. The lyrics of the song reference being in a jumpsuit throughout, and symbolize the feeling of being trapped. This metaphor continues throughout the entire album, making this first song a key to the rest to come.

In contrast, the following songs “Levitate” and “Morph,” take on a more dimmed tone compared to “Jumpsuit.” These songs are slower and have a funk quality to them. However, there are underlying rock influences within the instrumentals, connecting them all together.

Further down the track list comes “Chlorine.” This song utilizes some ‘ 90’s rock beats while maintaining the familiarity of the past songs that Twenty One Pilots has released. As the song seems to end, it creates an interesting switch in sound. This switch includes choir-like vocals as Joseph sings, “Can you build my heart with pieces/ I’m just a chemical,” with vivid melancholy.

At this point, their focus on mental health becomes clear through the elaborate metaphor use hidden within each song. The lyrics reveal enigmatic and ominous symbols like the straightjacket, or references to the human body being composed simply of chemicals.

To break up the first few songs, “Smithereens,” picks up the pace of the album with an upbeat melody and lyrics reminiscent of a love song. The melody of this song is similar to their hit song “Ride,” released on their previous album.

The next song, “Neon Gravestones,” takes a stance on how society deals with the consequences of mental illness, specifically suicide. The song has a slower piano melody and references to asylums once more. The lyrics start with, “In my opinion this culture could treat a loss as a win,” emphasizing how little people care after someone takes their own life. This can be blatantly witnessed in society, especially on social media. After celebrities take their own life, an outpouring of support for mental illness is expressed until the next headline. Joseph sings this song with true feeling, accentuated by the rise of the music as his voice becomes more powerful singing the lyrics.

The rest of the album consists of the songs “Nico and the Niners,” “Cut My Lip,” “Bandito,” “Pet Cheetah” and “Legend.”

The last song on the album ends the piece on a sad note. “Leave The City” includes lyrics that are quite cryptic. Joseph repeats, “They know that it’s almost over,” aligning his words with those that have been said by people who have taken their lives.

With every song on the band’s last album “Blurryface” going either gold, platinum or multiplatinum, it’ll be hard for them to reach the same success with “Trench.” So far, the album’s track “Jumpsuit” have moved up on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Twenty One Pilots also released official music videos for four of the songs on the album. The first three videos, released in July, go together as a series. These include the songs “Jumpsuit,” “Nico and the Niners” and “Levitate.” Behind the scene footage was also uploaded alongside each music video.

The band released the fourth video on Oct. 5 for the song “My Blood” and meant for the video to stand apart from the other three. This video, in particular, focused on siblings getting into mischief while also having to see their mother in the hospital. This seemed to be a nod to the brotherly relationship the band members have, as they were also featured in the music video.

“Trench” has stood out from the rest of their work because of how it encompasses many alternative genres into one collective piece. With harrowing lyrics that bring light to topics that are rather shied away from in the real world, this album stands as a call-to-action in how people treat others who are going through some of the darkest days of their lives.

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About Charlotte Gardner

Arts and Life Editor