Crate Digging Weekly: Twenty One Pilots’ new single leaves fans ready for what will come next

Twenty One Pilots released word of a new album coming out mid-May. However, fans wonder what the band has come up with after the release of a new single.


Photo courtesy of Billboard.

Colleen Leidner, Staff Writer

Twenty One Pilots is one of those bands that have always been there for me.

I first discovered the musical duo in 2015, shortly after the release of its smash-hit single “Stressed Out.” From there, I explored every piece of their music I could find.

Twenty One Pilots’s new single “Shy Away” has 8.6 million views on YouTube four days after its release on Thursday, April 8. The video was accompanied by an official word that a new album will be released on May 21, and fans are raving about the musical possibilities that Twenty One Pilots may have explored during the lockdown.

With word of a new album titled “Scaled and Icy” set to release mid-May, the fans are once again deducing any little clue they can find. A lot of them wonder if this new album will tie into the “Trench” storyline, or if it’s part of an entirely separate album. The excitement in the fanbase is palpable for anyone who has been on that corner of the internet for any amount of time.

The single was not so well-received.

Throughout their entire career, Twenty One Pilots has maintained a distinct sound that was different from anyone else in mainstream music. “Shy Away” has a techno-pop beat that has the band under fire from their fanbase for sounding like everyone else in the music industry. Piano harmonies, ukulele solos, and hearty vocals have evolved into synth beats, artful percussion, and bright melodies. 

While the single itself was an entirely new sound for the band, it seemed to me to be just another release. There was nothing extremely special about it but that it came from Twenty One Pilots, nothing incredibly profound but it grabbed my attention. I have faith that “Scaled and Icy” will be better than just the example of “Shy Away,” namely because Twenty One Pilots has never truly disappointed their fans before. 

Their fourth and latest album, “Trench,” is set in a fictional world created by frontman Tyler Joseph. Musically unique in composition and melody, the album revolves around a group of separatists fighting to overthrow the “bishop” rulers in the city of DEMA and get to the trench where they are free. The storyline came after a year-long silence from the band, causing inspection worthy of Sherlock Holmes. Every little detail leaked by the band was scrutinized and evolved into the mind-blowing storyline that was later released in 2018.

The band has made it clear that there will be another album that follows the storyline of “Trench.” With that knowledge, the fanbase has once again become detectives, tearing apart every piece of evidence that “Scaled and Icy” may be the promised album.

From its genesis in 2009, the band has always been a little bit different. The musical duo is described as “ukulele screamo rap” by their fanbase, and their odd techno-pop feel is something that continually holds listeners enraptured.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, the band is made up of frontman Tyler Joseph and drummer Joshua Dun. They started playing small shows in their hometown and within six years they became one of the greatest names in pop music globally. 

Their first album, “Self-Titled” was released in 2009. Joseph had been writing songs about his battles with depression and suicide from the time he was in high school, and many of the songs on the first album stem from that source. Musically, there is a uniqueness in the jaunty rhythms of “Self-Titled” that catch the ear. There are many songs on that album that sound so different from each other. The lyrics are incredibly deep and heartfelt, bringing up subjects of depression, fear, and religion.

Their second album, “Vessel,” is more uniform. Released in 2013, “Vessel” is their first album after being signed to a record label. The album revolves around the thought that every person is a vessel: everyone carries something that they have picked up over the course of their life, be it from an older family member or just life experiences. This translates into the music of the album because each song sounds different and is an individual experience that the artist carries.

Their third album, perhaps the most profound, is named “Blurryface” for a character Joseph made up. Released in 2015, the album revolves around Joseph’s insecurities and depression, which the title character embodies. 

The band’s smash-hit single “Stressed Out” came off of this album, and was the duo’s first real claim to fame. It was also during the era of this album that the drummer, Josh Dun, opened up about his struggle with anxiety.

If you’ve listened to Twenty One Pilots for any length of time, you know that they have learned to be unique in their art. They merge their pain and hardship into a message of hope and joy for what’s to come when everything is better. There’s something so comforting in music that understands what you’re going through.

As a fan of Twenty One Pilots, I believe that the upcoming album will be something extraordinary. Whether it follows the “Trench” storyline or not, the band has a reputation of staying true to themselves and to their fans. Their creative genius is extremely difficult to ignore, and I am excited to see where they take the fanbase next.

In preparation for this new album, I think it’s important to remember that there are better days ahead. One thing is for sure: Twenty One Pilots will not disappoint.


Colleen Leidner is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @silver_tragedy.