Twenty One Pilots changes direction in “Scaled and Icy”


Courtesy: @twentyonepilots Twitter

Hannah Mirsky, News Director

Rating: 5/10
Twenty One Pilots have graced the world with an unusually happy album. The sixth studio album by the Ohio duo tilted some heads as a retro and upbeat sound replaced the usual heavy and dark persona. The frontman, Tyler Joseph, found that the pandemic was too dark of a subject to be carried into this record, resulting in the summer dance album.

While “Scaled and Icy” seems to look up in elation, an artificial undertone seemed to be apparent, whether it was on purpose or not. Rather than the heavy drums and guitars that started the previous album on the track “Jumpsuit,” the beginning track “Good Day” on this album begins with a welcoming piano and a joyfully singing Joseph. Though the first sentence is “I can feel my saturation leaving me slowly,” I found that the album would not be as positive as what is heard. Throughout the song, it sounds more like Joseph is trying to convince himself that these calamitous narratives are not affecting his day.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

The beautifully crafted lyrical metaphors that the duo is known for are just as present in this album as were in the past. In the track “Choker,” Joseph uses the analogy of a shadow diminishing as the sun changes positions in the sky symbolizing that the moments lingering with you throughout the day will grow smaller and eventually not hang onto you the way it once did.

While this album lyrically is a success, there is some missing stability within the record that doesn’t give me a good feeling that it will hold up. The third studio album “Vessel,” which is much like the sound of “Scaled and Icy,” was not recognized by the public in the way “Blurryface” was. It had a more sincere grip of smiling through the dark times, which is what this album tried to portray but missed the mark.

There are not many solid tracks that are standouts on this album, comparable to their older singles like “Stressed Out” and “Ride,” the strongest commercially being “Shy Away.” While it was a great alt-pop song structurally, it lacks the originality of their previous music. The words are comforting as he tells the person it will be easier to find purpose in life and in their music if they break down all boundaries and not be self-conscious of their words.

“Redecorate” was one of the strongest tracks lyrically as Joseph describes the lives of people who want to tie up some ends before they leave the world in order for the people they love to not have to make tough decisions while they mourn. As happy as the album sounded when it began, Joseph did not stray too far away from the music he is known to write. In an interview with Billboard, Joseph said that this song will be an introduction to what he wants to try to do next, almost like a cliffhanger.

The narratives described throughout the songs did not edge further from what “Blurryface” and “Trenches” provided. Twenty One Pilots built their music on a dark and heavy persona at the height of their career and turning down the volume on that for this album delivered very bleak tracks. “Scaled and Icy” is still a great depiction of the universe created throughout all the albums, and exhibits Twenty One Pilot’s ability to experiment with a wider range of genres.