Album Review: Debuting Twenty One Pilots' World of 'Trench'

This past Thursday night, Twenty One Pilots fans got to experience the band’s fourth studio album after a year-long hiatus. “Trench” explores the depths of a cryptic fictitious world filled with Bishops, Niners, and Banditos. The duo has been remaining pretty low these past few weeks, leaving their fan base, the clique, to decipher the clues and meanings behind the songs. Compared with the band’s third album, “Blurryface,” “Trench” contains a darker aura and messages surrounding depression and anxiety that fans on Reddit have been analyzing since its midnight release.

The band released four songs preceding the album release that follow a sequential storyline. The first single released was “Jumpsuit,” which portrays the lead singer, Tyler Joseph, stuck in a trench, trying to escape the company of a masked man on a horse. In the end, drummer Josh Dun is seen from above accompanied by unnamed people, throwing yellow flower petals down into the trench.

Nico and the Niners” follows this continuation with the duo meeting in an unspecificed world called Dema. “Levitate," the third music video released, shows Tyler and Josh with the rest of the Banditos at their hideaway. In the end, Tyler is taken by the masked man and dragged away. It is unclear what order the music videos are supposed to be in, but fans speculate that “Levitate” is the start of everything.

It is no doubt that Twenty One Pilots wrote this album for a purpose, but the question still remains about the mysterious name, Clancy, which was described in letters released by the band leading up to the announcement of Trench. There is no word of him in the new album, but it is theorized that Tyler is Clancy, writing the world of “Trench” from the perceptive of the thoughts in his mind.

“Morph” continues these cryptic messages through its smoother, jazz tone. The lyrics mention a group of mathematicians, Nicolas Bourbaki, who sought to prove the existence of God through mathematics. It is still unclear what the message was behind this.

“Chlorine” contains two different sounds that make it unique from any of the songs the band has produced. In the background throughout, there is a light piano trill and higher background vocals, unlike what the other darker songs hold. Halfway through, the aphotic theme is cut with an airier tone before going into the bridge. The next song, “Smithereens” has a light-hearted sound that gives way to an apparent love song. Much like songs on their debut EP’s, this song has quirky melodies giving it a pleasant overtone.

One of the more somber songs on the album, “Neon Gravestones,” gives a truly intriguing listening experience. “What’s my problem?” Tyler exclaims, showing his interest in people to see his mind and hints at the need to address suicide awareness.

“The Hype” is a pop-y song that seems as though it was a cry-out to the band’s fans. Tyler says, “Nice to know my kind will be on my side” emphasizing the great importance of the people who listen and deeply understand their music.

“Cut My Lip” is slower than some of the other tracks and features a laid-back melody accompanying lyrics similar in meaning to The Hype, that is pushing through adversity. Probably one of the more questionable sets of lyrics is in the bridge, which states the cryptic phrase “Folina Sahlo. I presume this is to mean "using creativity," referencing the creation of the world of “Trench,” which at any day he can destroy.

“Pet Cheetah” is presumed to be about Tyler creating the music and how he has a “Pet Cheetah in my basement” referencing his recording ability. Going into an upbeat song that is an ode to his late grandfather, Robert Joseph, “Legend” explains the impact he had in Tyler’s life while he was recording “Trench.” Finishing off the album is “Leave the City,” which echos some of the same sounds as songs from previous albums. Battling with conflicting emotions, Tyler promises to stay alive through it all, as he has guaranteed the fan-base throughout each album.

I thought “Trench” was one of Twenty One Pilots’ most uniquely crafted albums. The first time I listened to the album, I was shocked at the variety of the songs, and I loved how the artists developed a whole world from the stories told through each track. My favorite track is “Bandito,” as I really connected to the lyrics more than any other song. The melody changes from a slow tone to an upbeat rock song after the bridge, and it was a perfect package in a song for me.

This album is going to make a lasting impact for the band, and I cannot wait to see the mysterious world of “Trench” come to life over the next few months.