Scaled and Icy far surpassed its disappointing single


A piece of artwork featuring Scaled and Icy, as well as Twenty One Pilots’ new symbol.

After listening to the single “Shy Away” by Twenty One Pilots, I was extremely concerned about their new album, Scaled and Icy, that was soon to be released. I was so nervous that all of the risky, alternative music that the duo, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, had previously created may have faded away to the mainstream sound that “Shy Away” had. Thankfully, while a little less sporadic than some of the band’s other albums, Scaled and Icy still retained Twenty One Pilots’ edgy reputation.

One of my favorite songs, “Good Day,” surprised me with a very natural tune compared to the more electronic and wildly auto-tuned songs by TOP. Nature noises, like the chirping of birds, were paired with authentic piano chords. However, it still had the little edge that alternative music tends to have—even if the tune is happy, there are shockingly depressing lines stuck in there. I fully appreciated this song because of its representation of the band while still being a little out of the norm for the genre.

When the next song in the album, “The Outside,” began to play, I was immediately shivering with excitement. The first few notes were enough to foreshadow that this song was going to be more what I was used to from the duo.

“The Outside” was a darker song and had a great beat. While most TOP songs are lyrically complex, including “The Outside,” I could still picture the song being easy to dance to. Additionally, it brought in some of the rapping that was a little less present in the previous album Trench. I am thankful for this since it breaks any chance of repetition and helps develop the darker mood further.

However, I wasn’t as impressed with the song “Saturday.” A key thing I love about TOP is their originality—their controversial, yet popular songs seem exclusive to Joseph and Dun. Even though I thought the quick beat and extra elements of “Saturday” were engaging, I didn’t feel the same pull towards this track as I do others since I feel as though there could be a similar song made by a more mainstream band.

I could easily picture myself striding down a downtown street with a group of my friends while listening to this sunshine song.”

On a better note, “Mulberry Street” tricked me into thinking it was basic as well, but was original and had a strong backup tune. I could easily picture myself striding down a downtown street with a group of my friends while listening to this sunshine song. I realized I was restraining myself from bopping my head to the rhythm, and I caught the glee from the song easily.

Perhaps the most shocking song to me was “Bounce Man.” When the song kicked off, I was undecided on whether it sounded more like the popular band Queen or the more recent band AJR. Although the song pulled back a little bit, the beachy yet brisk tune made a wonderful combination that was new to my ears.

Despite not being used to such enthusiastic and positive songs by TOP, I generally enjoyed the short and sweet album that Scaled and Icy was. The variation of the songs in the album kept me guessing and interested throughout. Sometimes, happier songs by pessimistic artists such as Joseph and Dun can make their optimism even more genuine.