Thursday, February 21, 2013

Music Review: Vessel from Twenty One Pilots

NOTE: This post is for a class of mine, not something that I particularly plan on doing on a regular basis. Not that I won’t be doing something similar to this in the future, but even if I do, it will probably be in a different format.

Band: Twenty | One | Pilots

Album: Vessel

Genre: Alternative/Schizoid Pop (among others.)

Label: Fueled By Ramen

Release Date: January 4th, 2013

I have just recently discovered this band, and I found them because I’m subscribed to Fueled By Ramen’s Youtube channel. This is not the type of band that I generally listen to, but they caught my attention, and have been played on repeat for quite a while since then.
I haven’t heard very much about them (although I don’t tend to play a lot of attention to media/music news), but I don’t think they’ve been getting very much attention. They are rather recently labeled, though, and this is their first CD release under an actual label, so maybe they’ll garner some more.

Twenty One Pilots is compiled of two people, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. Their name, Twenty One Pilots, comes from the play All My Sons by Arthur Miller (Amazon | Goodreads). This is all described here by Tyler, but basically, they took the name because of the moral crossroads that the main character comes across, and how people tend to come across circumstances where choosing the easier option could be better for the now, while the harder option could turn out better in the long run/later.
Previous to this CD (Vessel, the one I’m specifically going to be talking about), they’d self-published a 14 song album back in 2009, titled Twenty One Pilots, which is available on iTunes and Amazon in digital form.
They’ve been labeled as one of MTV’s Artists of Watch in 2013, which is encouraging.

Their music is labeled alternative, which is pretty accurate. Their music tends to have faster beats, sometimes in-your-face lyrics, and rap. I, personally, usually dislike rap, a lot. But for some reason, I really enjoy it. It took me a couple listens to really fall for it, but I have. I mean, this is probably only the second band that I have on my iPod who sings rap.
I think that this is a bit different from the bands Fueled By Ramen usually signs (some of their other bands include Paramore, Fun., and A Rocket to the Moon, among many others), and it’s a bit more rap than what I normally hear from alternative bands. It’s not particularly explicit, and the singer isn’t screaming, but there is actually meaning behind all of the lyrics.
Now, saying that, I know that people to say all the time that there isn’t any meaning behind songs, particularly rap or pop songs, and I know that that isn’t necessarily true. But there are a lot of songs out there that are that way. And these aren’t those kinds.
I love the lyrics. I love the meanings behind them, and I love the music that goes with them. There’s some beautiful piano/keyboard sounds, and so many other instruments mixed in, and it’s just so pretty. I’m rather horrible at explaining the sounds that are made, I’m sorry; but it makes me want to dance and sing the words loudly with the band when I hear the songs.

This isn’t the type of band, or songs, that I can see getting mixed in with all those somewhat like it. I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree (there always are), but I think that it does stand out. Or, that it would stand out, if it got enough attention to.
The target audience is probably mostly young adult to new adult age (meaning, I don’t know, 16-25?), but I’m sure there’s a good amount of a variety that listen. The lyrics aren’t particularly explicit, or offensive, but I do think that they have addressed some, at least somewhat, controversial topics.

I would have to say that the music, not even including the lyrics, is one of the bands definite strengths. The music is catchy, fun, unique, and definitely dance-worthy. The lyrics are a strength as well. The songs are well put together, and easily stick in a person head on a never ending loop. The band has called their music schizoid pop, and I think that’s a very accurate description. It’s also been said that they have a rap, hip-hop, and dance music mixed in, and I wouldn’t disagree with any of that.
On the topic of genre mixing, one of the writers for Under the Gun Review, Grace Duffy, says that, “It can all become a cacophonous mess that makes you want to rip your headphones into shreds, or it can become an eclectic, eccentric marriage of invention and ingenuity. Vessel, needless to say, belongs in the latter category.” And then on Amazon, with its total 27 reviews for the CD, are all rated at 5 stars; on iTunes, with 777 ratings, 732 of them are 5 stars.
I would agree with most of this. I think the album has a great mix of genres, beautiful music and lyrics that I have been happily listening to on repeat.
A weakness of theirs? I don’t know, maybe that they haven’t gotten as much recognition as they should be?

How did I engage with this product? I’ve liked their Facebook page, subscribed to the band and their label’s Youtube channel. I’ve bought many (not all, yet) of their songs on iTunes, and I will definitely be watching to see their future videos and releases.

Summary: Twenty | One | Pilots is a band that doesn’t seem to be getting much attention, but I believe should be, and the attention they have gotten seems rather positive. I think they’re original, that they do stand out and will leave an impression. From writing this, I’ve learned some more about the two people that make up the band, as well as what their name means (which I was previously rather interested in). I also found out that they’ve been called ‘schizoid pop’, which I think is a brilliant genre title.

Other songs of theirs:
Youtube Playlist of their songs. 

Here are some places to find them:

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