Whether you call them an enigma, a movement or a just another punk band, you can't deny the impact Twenty One Pilots has had on the music scene. Their (arguably) fifth album "Trench" was just released and fans are already up to bat about its new and different sound.
Twenty One Pilots, the brainchild of Tyler Joseph supported by Josh Dun, has always existed in an ambiguous genre, bridging gaps between alternative, punk, rock, rap, and even reggae. It's hard to define their style. My personal favorite way to explain their music succinctly is by cryptically saying, "ukulele rap."
The sound has always been unique, from the self-titled album all the way to "Blurryface" and now "Trench." Staples of Twenty One Pilots' sound always include Tyler Joseph's raps and screams, intricate lyrics and imagery and sick drum beats. These are found in each album, but there are nuances between the albums as well.
These nuances are often up to the listeners' interpretation. They can depend on what the listener connects to in the narrative of the songs. They are also wrapped up in the production of the album as well. For example, one way I would describe "Trench" is as the sound of the self-titled album with the production value of "Blurryface." However, "Trench" still has its unique sound curated by the band and what the listener pays most attention to. It is a more calculated chaos than past albums.
I won't get into Dema and Nico and all the Banditos here. In my opinion, it's honestly too much to unpack this soon after the album is released. But I want to know and discover more about this part of the Twenty One Pilots narrative.
A complaint I've seen about the new album is the lack of emotional connection. This is a valid reason to not like particular music, but there is no reason to complain about or attack the band. This is a personal issue the listener has with the music and is in no way the band's fault by changing their sound. There are many reasons for this lack of emotional connection, such as the maturity of Tyler, the maturity of the listener or an absence of God. But the reason is not that it sounds different.
Bands are allowed to change their sound.
Bands are allowed to grow and mature. They are allowed to learn more about music. They are allowed to change their taste. And they are allowed to experiment.
If bands were not allowed to change, it would be unfair to them. It would also be unfair to us as listeners and fans.
As a casual listener or a fan, you, of course, have a right to your own opinions of the band's music. But as a fan, it is important to support the band. Supporting a band doesn't mean you like all of their music. Supporting a band means you don't bash or complain about their musical choices.
The cool thing about music is that you can enjoy it at your own leisure. You can choose to go to concerts or you can choose to listen to the albums. You can talk about your opinions on their changing sound, but don't attack the band. Let them explore their genre(s). If you don't like it, you don't have to listen to it.
"Trench" is different. I like it. I think it's a more experimental album in its sound and subject matter. I see it as Tyler's exploration of different ideas or struggles. It's part of the Twenty One Pilots narrative, and I'm excited to keep listening and unpacking all that it has to offer.