Release Date: May 19, 2015
Record label: Fueled by Ramen Records
Genre(s): Pop, Rap, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Underground Rap
Review Summary: My name is Blurryface and I care what you thinkTwenty One Pilots have been around longer than most people realize. They dropped their self-titled debut in 2009, and since then they’ve gradually ascended in popularity. It wasn’t until 2012’s Vessel that they really got on most people’s radar, and a lot of that had to do with them signing to Fueled By Ramen, which marked their first experience on a major label.
For the follow-up to 2013’s Vessel, multi-directional pop princes twenty one pilots ramped up everything, from new influences to the number of producers (four) to the metric ton of uncertainties and fears multiplying in frontman/songwriter Tyler Joseph’s cranium. And it’s wonderful. Much of Blurryface is couched in reggae idioms (“Ride,” “Polarize,” “Message Man”) that work with Joseph’s hard staccato rapping style and drummer Josh Dun’s rhythmic dexterity.
For six years, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have accomplished something unthinkable: vaguely Christian, quasi-emo, singer-songwriter pop-rap that works. On fourth LP Blurryface, the Ohioans maintain the miraculous mixture while grappling with pop viability. "Honest, there's a few songs on this record that feel common/ I'm in constant confrontation with what I want and what is poppin'," spits Joseph in dancehall-ish single "Lane Boy." The "Fairly Local" beat recalls Drake and "Doubt" employs heavy Auto-Tune, but these aviators rock honest love on "Tear in My Heart" and inspire equality with "The Judge." Not the clever cut of 2013's Vessel, but still airborne.