Trench faultlessly exhibits exactly why I love Twenty One Pilots


Ever since 12:00 A.M. on October 5th, I can proudly say I’ve been non-stop listening to Twenty One Pilots’ newest album, Trench. At this point, I believe my mother has become tired as I constantly play the album in the car while repeatedly announcing that the car is a ‘bops only’ zone. However, album isn’t necessarily the correct term to describe Trench.

Trench is a story, and it is about a whole world outside our own orchestrated by the singer of Twenty One Pilots, Tyler Joseph, through music and messages hidden online. An organization called Dema is run by nine bishops and controls a set population of people in this universe of Trench. These Bishops are given shape by the elaborate song “Nico and The Niners,” one of the four released during the summer before the highly-anticipated album drop on October 5th.

This world was discovered during the fan-dubbed ‘hiatus’ of Twenty One Pilots; however, it was anything but a hiatus. The band hid clues in encoded websites and photographs for the fandom, known as the Clique, to decrypt. Over the course of all the clues, fans assembled the story of a character named Clancy and his life in Dema. Trench fills in the gaps like the almost perfect puzzle piece it needs to be.

To understand the twisted tale of Clancy, you have to start with track one: “Jumpsuit.”

This song bridges the gap from the red Blurryface era, the album released in 2015 focused around a character dubbed Blurryface, to the new yellow era of Trench. With a loud, fast-paced drum beat provided by Josh Dun, Tyler Joseph sings and shouts lines about using a jumpsuit to cover him. The mixture of hard, passionate beats to slow, synchronized quieter chords with raw vocals leashes me to the story being told through music, how Clancy wishes to escape Dema, and I am instantly transfixed.

From “Jumpsuit,” the metaphorical masterpiece of an album switches to the short song of “Levitate,” just two minutes and 26 seconds long. Here the beat switches to a more distant sound that builds up into a quick rap song. On their last two albums, Blurryface and Vessel, Tyler Joseph had built himself a reputation for being a rapper that delves into important topics, not money or cars. His verses on “Levitate” deliver the quality I expected and even more with lyrics packed with much more than just a story. Everything he says can be connected or interpreted in your own way that makes it so specifically special to whomever listens.

“Morph” comes on next, and it packs a similar punch, which appears to be one of Trench’s strong suits. Starting off with lyrics such as, “Can’t stop thinking about if and when I die for it, now I see that “if” and “when” are truly different cries, for “if” is purely panic and “when” is solemn sorrow, and one invades today while the other spies tomorrow,” the song makes me questions my view on life. It tackles the topic of death and how to cope with the inevitable by approaching the afraid ‘if’ outlook or the dejected ‘when’ approach. Tying this back to Dema in the Trench album fashion, the bishop Nico is mentioned once again in a sense of beating Tyler down. This emotional, and somewhat revealing, song tantalizingly tangles with the common theme of Twenty One Pilots: hard subjects.

These trends continue throughout the album with deeper meaning begging to be dug out with every rhyme, whether it relates to Dema or the members’ own experiences. Over similar beats, old ukelele, or new styles of music, each song brings a different element to the table, and each song touches on something different.

“Chlorine,” a ‘bop’ as I call it, begins with a distant electronic “So where are you?” and then transforms into a simpler beat. Tyler Joseph conveys a mountain of meaning in this five-minute 24-second song, the second longest. The upbeat pace mixes with the saccharine sweet singing while switching between how exactly words are conveyed. Mentioning running for his life, Tyler ties back into Clancy’s story, then transitioning into lyrics comparing someone, ‘you,’ to chlorine — dangerous but useful. Almost all of the five and a half minutes contains a rhythm that dances within me, making my feet bounce no matter how hard I try to stop. This unrivaled beat coupled with open-ended lyrics directed toward the listener places “Chlorine” as one of my favorites.

“Neon Gravestones,” the seventh track, and “Bandito,” the eleventh track, also became instant favorites of mine. Lyrics aside, they were bound to be a perfect pair as their numbers resemble the ultimate gas station 7/11.

Unrelated to the album’s ironic numbers, “Neon Gravestones” pushes how artists can inspire and demonstrate with their music. Abrupt and upfront lyrics about the glorification of mental illness and suicide in our society instantly provoked my brain upon the first listen. Raw emotion can be heard through Tyler Joseph’s strained voice as he demands change while sensitively addressing the topic with powerful lines such as “Communicating, further engraving, an earlier grave is an optional way,” and “I’m not disrespecting what was left behind, just pleading that it does not get glorified.” This song grabbed my heart and tugged on all the strings while delivering a meaningful message with a precision that no other band has matched. This song further ignited my love for this band, these artists, and their way of thinking, conveying, and acting.

“Bandito” brings a much slower element than “Neon Gravestones,” and I welcome it with every beat. Lyrics within “Bandito” form a rushing river of revelations about the world Trench portrays. Throughout the song, the lyrics and beat build up to a mellow confession of Tyler Joseph’s realization about fire, fear, and what Trench is. At precisely 3:02 in the song, what this world exactly is becomes crystal clear: a way to deal, cope, and live. “Bandito” depicts how it handed control of emotions and all the hectic things life can throw your way over to Tyler Joseph, and with the mention of being able to destroy it, it is made clear how fragile the world of Trench is.

This raw and genius album closes off with a slow-paced song named “Leave the City.” Representing the hard trials of Clancy’s life in Dema and Tyler Joseph’s own struggles, he sings of how tired he is and that it is almost over; however, he will continue fighting until he has to go. Whether alluding to a period of time or the album’s close, this song neatly ties the strings on Trench while leaving the messages applicable to any and everyone.

As the fourteenth track comes to a close, 56 minutes of my life has passed. Yet, I would never have known if not for the clock. Each song, minute, and second has me entranced with talent and honesty. My respect and love for this band doubled with every passing second. Not even one track disappoints me as they all play crucial parts in what they create together.

Together, the songs weave a woeful story, and Trench encompasses one giant metaphor about our own mental battles in this. This other way of life and oppressive society in the world of Trench is all about what’s thrown our way, and it’s up to you to decide how to take it.