twenty | one | pilots

There are some bands that I’ll listen to where, I’ll fully acknowledge, my first impression of them is: This is weird.

Twenty One Pilots (or, twenty | one | pilots, as they stylize it) fits in that category, for sure. Even after having listened to a bunch of their music, and getting a better idea of their sound, I still feel that way. Vocalist Tyler Joseph’s style of rap (if we can call this rap) is… unexpected. It’s loud and grating at times. Maybe even cacophonous in moments. This is like… not “user-friendly” music (can music be described that way)? But at the same time I’m really getting into it.

And along with the “rap” parts, it can get intense and screamy too. But, I dunno, it just works. It’s right. His screaminess is not the kind of teenage angst screamo screaming, but just like, a zenith of intensity in his lyrical delivery?

Or maybe that’s total bullshit, and I’m just trying to justify why I like it. My buddy Tym, who turned me on to this band, describes it “like rainbows exploding in your ears”… which, yeah, I could go for that.

“Holding On to You” is complex. There are all of these disparate “segments” of the song that are ligated together abruptly, with or without significant bridges or transitions. It keeps your on your toes—which, more and more is how I’d describe this band’s music in general.

And the song of theirs that I just discovered today is “Car Radio”. I’m linking the video because I think it’s powerful. Then again, I’m a total sucker for songs like this one, with lengthy instrumental breaks in the middle, gradually rising in melody and intensity, where it feels like the whole song is suspended just before a climactic finish… and the video mirrors that feeling wonderfully with the scene of the motionless crowd starting around 2:30. I love the feel of this video. Even if the rest of it has a total emo vibe with the head-shaving and the aloneness. Ah well.

Like I said, I fully acknowledge that this stuff is weird (unique? distinctive?), but I like it. So I thought I’d share it with you. Maybe you won’t feel the same way.


~ by Marcus on 04/29/2013.

2 Responses to “twenty | one | pilots”

  1. We talk about this all the time in the “conservatory” world, too. In fact, I talked about something like this in my oral exam (the need of visuals for concert music). We’ve been talking about diverging trends in opera, and even musical theater, now. If I every go back to composing, I’d like to strike a balance between inviting the listener (“user-friendly” is a great term) and challenging them.

    • That’s really cool. No question that the idea of “user-friendliness” applies to all aspects of music, not just rock. And of course every piece of music sounds different to every listener – what sounds like flowers and rainbows to me might sound like nails on a chalkboard to someone else. So it’s definitely a good thing to branch out or try to be innovative or different.

Come at me, bro.

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