Alternative | Indie | Rock
I never would’ve thought to myself that I’d end up reviewing an album from the Ohio indie duo Twenty One Pilots, but that time has finally arrived.
My previous experience listening to the two could be comparable to some of the other artists that had some kind of craze going on during my teenage years, such as Skrillex or perhaps even Enter Shikari. I first began exploring their music shortly after the release of their 2015 album Blurryface, which I think was a solid effort.
However, I knew that it wouldn’t be long until I felt like I outgrew their style of music, which mixed an alternative indie-rock type of instrumentation, with hip-hop inspired lyrical flows from vocalist and musician Tyler Joseph. The latter element seemed like the main reason as to why I didn’t enjoy listening to Twenty One Pilots as much as I wanted to.
This issue I had definitely transitioned over into their 2018 album Trench, which I never really paid that much mind to, even with the critical acclaim it had received.
But in the year of 2021, it almost feels as if Twenty One Pilot’s are out to redefine their aesthetic, and begin a new chapter of their discography in the form of their sixth studio album Scaled And Icy. First teased by their single “Shy Away”, this album was presented as one that sees the duo ditching the novelty alternative hip-hop fusion, and replacing it with something that feels a little more accessible.
To be more specific, Twenty One Pilots have vouched for a more melodic, and more typically “indie” feel on this new project. This has resulted in Scaled And Icy receiving very mixed reviews, ranging from four-star ratings, to 2/10 verdicts.
I almost let the more negative reception of this album deter me away from reviewing it. After all, I never want my first review of an artist to be a negative one, and only like to do negative reviews if I was truly expecting better. However, when forming an instantaneous opinion of my own towards Scaled And Icy, I saw little that was abysmally wrong with the record, and for the most part, really enjoyed the warmth and feel-good vibrations it brings. Perhaps it is just the perfect Twenty One Pilots album for people who don’t typically listen to Twenty One Pilots.
The earliest part of this album (namely tracks like “Good Day” and “Choker”), felt like something I shouldn’t enjoy. However, I would still argue that Twenty One Pilots won me over with the spring-ready charm that this part of the album brought musically. As for what was both the biggest stick-out track, and my personal highlight of Scaled And Icy, would have to be the luminous and colourful party anthem “Saturday”. I think it was this style of track that I could really see a future for the duo in.
However, despite my general enjoyment of the first half, there is still quite a handful of duds in my mind; some of which even refusing to let go of that tired old formula. I would still have to say that there was quite a chunk of this album that I definitely didn’t enjoy, or at least didn’t find all too memorable, but the better vibes on this album certainly aren’t going to go unnoticed by me either.
Ultimately, my most positive verdict of this album, is that it presents an exciting possibility that Twenty One Pilots are well and truly evolving in a new decade, starting with a musical year that matches part of their group name, and an album whose warmth provides a brilliant juxtaposition to its title.
Favourite Tracks: Choker | Saturday | Mulberry Street
Least Favourite Track: No Chances
Fueled By Ramen LLC
Enjoyment: 7/10 | Memorability: 6/10 | Atmosphere: 7/10
Uniqueness: 6/10 | Satisfaction: 5/10 | Narrative: 6/10