Columbus duo Hip Hop band, Twenty One Pilots are soaring their way to fame with the likes of “Stressed Out” and “Lane Boy”, all thanks to their distinctive approach and meaningful lyrics. Twenty One Pilots first burst onto the scene in 2009, sprouting from demoing songs in their basement to performing in festivals and shows across the world! After their No.1 album ‘BlurryFace’, which glided its way into the Billboard 200 chart, it’s safe to say that the duo have an optimistic future.
Rewind only a few years back and the American couplet lived a very different life and it certainly wasn’t one of ease. Originating from Ohio, early days for the band were definitely a struggle in achieving recognition. On show days, Joseph’s mum would stand outside the club, desperately trying to sell tickets to nearby passing students. It all began in 2009 when the band kick-started their career with the release of their self-titled album, Twenty One Pilots. Since then, the duo continued to grow, forming a very dedicated fanbase along its way.
In March 2015, Twenty One Pilots released their fourth album, a follow up to their 2013 breakout vessel called ‘BlurryFace’. The album soon sailed its way to number 1 in the charts, exceeding all expectations and moving more than 147,000 units in one week! But who is ‘BlurryFace’? This is the question that lingered, leaving fans and critics asking ever since its release. Music videos and lyrics can be pieced together to establish the true meaning behind BlurryFace. It is not actually a physical character but an unclear personality which lives inside Tyler. Tyler describes Blurryface as ‘something that we try to hide and not show to the outside world’, an enemy which lives in our innermost selves. So, BlurryFace’s true meaning is pretty damn confusing and the lyrics more so. The band carefully constructed the lyrics and album cover making it very cryptic and symbolic. They wanted to move away from the mainstream success, to create something special and unique that would lure its fans in.
The record consists of fourteen distinctly unique tracks and by far the best of the record has to be “stressed out”, focusing on the transition to adulthood with lyrics such as “wish we could turn back time”. The music is intense and gloomy, varying in style throughout the song. The early verses within the song represent Tyler’s vulnerability as he admits he is not certain about himself and “I’m insecure and I care what people think”. The meaning and lyrics behind the song go back in time to reveal their lives before fame; their old neighbour, siblings and houses. The duo clearly wanted to show their transition towards fame. Not long ago, Dun was a barista working in Starbucks and somehow he’s evolved to become a global icon charting alongside established names such as Adele and Justin Bieber! Some way or other, the band managed to turn stress into success…
A personal favourite that caught attention among the album was ‘Lane Boy’, amplified with aggressive lyrics and an intensive soundtrack. The meaning behind the song is particularly interesting as again the band try to break away from a niche mainstream audience and sing about their opposition: “They say, stay in your lane, boy, lane, boy”. The rest of the song continues to revolve around exposing his opposition as Tyler is far more interested in making music that is honest, true and unique: “all these songs I’m hearing are so heartless”.
Twenty One Pilots are undeniably a ‘unique’ band, there meaningful lyrics which seek to expose the truth set them apart from the crowd. The Duo has certainly raised expectations in their newest album, ramping up almost everything including the insecurities of frontman Tyler Joseph. There’s certainly an element of freedom within this album and when you closely listen to the lyrics, it’s stimulating. Although the lyrics expose some gloom and doom, the band itself are far from and most certainly deserve more recognition than they currently have! There is no doubt that Twenty One Pilots will continue to strive in 2016 and BlurryFace even has the potential to revolutionize pop culture, showing bands that it is possible to achieve anything you set your mind on.