Who Is Blurryface?

Who is Blurryface?

While I can’t entirely answer that question, I can answer how is Blurryface? – the 2015 release from duo Twenty One Pilots.

The album was leaked by the band earlier in the month, and then was officially released earlier than the scheduled date, debuting at No. 2 on the charts within hours of the drop.

The music itself carries that same personality of urgency – through the album, we hear Tyler Joseph’s quick-worded stresses and Josh Dun’s fast tempo-ed, rhythmic beat. Joseph discloses his troubles ranging from “wishing to turn back time” in "Stressed Out", battling the character of Blurryface to determine if he’s “evil to the core” in "Fairly Local", and wanting to be a “better brother, better son” in "Polarize".

The music has no trouble keeping up with Joseph’s fast paced, poetic phrasing. Dun provides a sturdy backbone throughout the whole album, clearly entwined with the technological add-ins sprinkled throughout the songs. The mixing of sounds and of genres continues to make the band unique and engrossing.

The album isn’t a far stretch from its 2013 predecessor, Vessel, which had garnered massive success over the two years since its release. Blurryface feels as though it’s in the same vain, but in a distinct way. The songs are crisper and refined, relatively more polished.

"Lane Boy" has a different, bridging-on-a-reggae-esque vibe. The song plays with tempo and rhythm, slowing and quickening throughout its duration, but remaining relatively monotonous until about the midway point, where more techno influences come forward. The energy spikes, hits a stopping point, and then carries on beyond that.

"We Don’t Believe What’s On TV" comes in hard with rough drums and ukulele. The song introduces a trumpet into the mix, but feels like one of the most authentic on the album, as if you’re in the room as they perform it. It has the perfect balance between raw and recorded.

The closing track on the album, "Goner", almost feels like an outlier, but successfully ties the entire album together. It builds tension effectively, introducing and then quieting the drums until the perfect moment. Joseph’s voice loses its cleanness for the sake of a very personal and wrenching conclusion to the album.

The album balances between nearly droning, intonation-less vibe to a tenderer, emotional side. "Doubt" and "Polarize" fall into the former category, while "Not Today" and "The Judge" are closer to the latter.

Blurryface isn’t a clear-cut album – Twenty One Pilots pushes boundaries and delves into a multitude of musical directions through the 14-song LP, creating a mix of hits and misses depending on preference. Whether or not the stylistic aspects are appealing, there’s a common thread of truth in the lyrics, tying the album together. Listening through it as a whole creates a story, and the conclusion is looking like a victory.

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