Blurryface, the second “official” major label album from the Ohio duo Twenty One Pilots is, in a word, open. Named after the character Blurryface, that the band created, Blurryface represents insecurity and self-awareness. This titular homage to a self-made persona is what makes Blurryface stand out as an album. Like Vessel, the band’s first major label release, it was a self-aware recording– but Blurryface is more honest and vocal about insecurities. The album itself is very self-aware– it talks about how certain songs will never be on the radio, how the pressure of adulthood is becoming very, very real to them.
“Stressed Out,” the second song on the album, speaks from the Blurryface character’s point of view, but really, Blurryface himself could be a strawman for every young twenty-something who is currently Going Through It.
Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have somehow managed to capture the essence of feeling sort of okay about some things but mostly not okay about others and throw it together in an album. Taking on a more indie sound for this record, the memories and obvious influence of alternative hip hop are still there, but the band itself has moved in a more adult direction. As opposed to Vessel, Blurryface has more layers and is more complex in terms of sound. Like previously mentioned, it’s also more advanced in its lyrical content– the boys have grown together to create what is probably one of the better records on 2015 already. It’s emotional, scared, nervous, honest alt hip hop meets indie synths in what comes off as highly experimental and almost brand new. Though some loops remind me of Islands’ album Ski Mask, it’s still a very New sound for a very New group.
The honesty Joseph pushes is admirable– Blurryface the character is obviously the both of them, but a representation of all young people currently struggling. “I wish I found some new sounds that no one ever heard/ I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words,” he says (as Blurryface), but this is all honesty, all on his second album. “I care what you think,” he admits– beyond wanting positive feedback for the record, it seems that Blurryface (and we all) want positive feedback for ourselves.
It’s an interesting album. It flows neatly, and had strong singles (“Tear In My Heart,” “Stressed Out,” “Fairly Local,”) pushing it forward. Overall, a really impressive, self-aware second release from a group that has always done things slightly curiously.