It seems that 2018 is the year of pop-punk or emo album releases.
The year started off with Fall Out Boy’s new album, “Mania,” and Waterparks’ new album, “Entertainment.” Mania is the definition of mainstream, at least for Fall Out Boy. Even Panic! At The Disco released a new album in June, “Pray For The Wicked,” which seemed to have a mainstream vibe as well.
As a fan of all of these bands, I imagined pop-punk band Twenty One Pilots’ new album, “Trench,” would follow suit. The first single and music video from the album, “Jumpsuit” featured lead singer Tyler Joseph for the first time since his year-long social media hiatus.
“Jumpsuit” came out on July 11, featuring Joseph scream-singing. The song is repetitive, yet catchy. The fandom, better known as the “clique,” thought the first single to be “mainstream.”
However, the album is far from mainstream – TØP avoids mainstream clichés with its use of deep basslines and gritty allegiance to punk music.
Following the release of the single, Joseph returned to his social media accounts once again. The three other singles that were released are “Nico And The Niners,” “Levitate,” and “My Blood.” The three songs lived up to the hype, blending new sounds and throwbacks to their older projects.
TØP released the full studio album, “Trench” on Oct. 5.
This comes three years after their album “Blurryface,” along with the single “Heathens.”
In 2017, the band went on hiatus. In an interview with Beats 1, Joseph revealed he camped out in his basement and rarely left his home. Joseph explained in the interview that during the production process of the album, his wife would even bring him down food and tell him he had to eat something. The social media blackout finally ended when drummer Josh Dun broke the silence via Twitter once a photo of him was leaked.
“Trench” tackles tough subject matter such as mental health. Joseph is no stranger to mental health issues. In his music, he promotes a message for anyone dealing with these issues that life is worth living. Joseph makes this point extremely clear on “Neon Gravestones,” which I thought to be one of the most powerful songs on the album.
On the poignant track “Smithereens,” Joseph professes his undying love for his wife. Joseph sings, “For you / I’d go / write a slick song just to show you the world. / For you / I know / they think it’s messed up to sell out for your girl.” Joseph feared letting fans down when the album dropped, but he didn’t let me down.
The second-to-last song on the album, “Legend” is about Joseph’s grandfather, who died in March. This is an significant song on the album, due to Joseph’s grandfather’s impact on his music. His grandfather is one of the two old men on one of their well-known albums, “Vessel.”
This album traversed the personal struggles Joseph faced over the last year, and it is clear why he chose to stay reclusive and take the time to truly heal through his music.
“Trench” digs deeper.
(Editor’s Note: If you or somebody you know is experiencing mental health issues, please contact the Wellness Center at (508) 626-4640.)