Introspective Beats from twenty one pilots' New Album, Trench

Addison Howard, Copy Editor

“Is it time to move our feet
To an introspective beat?
It ain't the speakers that bump hard
It's our hearts that make the beat.”


- Twenty One Pilots, "Holding On To You"


On October 5th, 2018, the band Twenty One Pilots (made up of lead singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Joshua Dun) released their 5th studio album, Trench. It is a concept album, which means that all the songs collectively highlight a metaphorical story, meaning, or theme. I highly recommend to anybody who is interested in pensive songs to listen to the album or at least parts of it. Not only do the songs have deep meaning, but they are also catchy earworms that you won’t be able to stop replaying.  


The concept of the album takes place in a fictional walled-up city called Dema inside the world of Trench. The city is ruled by nine bishops, all named after a group of French mathematicians that tried to prove God’s existence with math, under the pseudonym “Nicolas Bourbaki”. References to “Nicolas” can be found in track 9, “Nico and the Niners” and track 3, “Morph”. The songs on Trench explore topics previously explored on older albums from the band, including but not limited to faith, insecurity, doubt, and mental health.


The reason this album is outstanding is tri-fold. First, it addresses the struggles of our recent generations. Trench highlights the tragedy of suicide at an early age. Track 7 “Neon Gravestones” tackles this topic head-on. Tyler sings about how today’s society and media attracts kids with ‘Neon’ - a bright artificial light to their ‘Gravestones’ - deaths. Tyler denounces this glorification of suicide. Instead, he emphasizes that we should treasure life and pay respect to our elders.


“Pay some respects for the path that they paved. To life, they were dedicated. Now, that should be celebrated.”


Secondly, the album is very introspective, meaning that the songs should make us think about life and prevent apathy. For instance, Track 11 “Bandito” has multiple lyrics that require deep-thinking to understand. One heavy and profound lyric that stands out the most to me is, “But I'm still not sure if fear's a rival or close relative to truth.”

This line is a reference to Scripture, where fear is mostly associated with evil and truth is mostly associated with goodness. Tyler expresses doubt in this idea, wondering if fear could be of the truth. We are often afraid of death but death is the truth of life.


Another deep and meaningful lyric can be found in Track 3, “Morph.” Tyler raps in verse one,

We're surrounded and we're hounded

There's no above, or under, or around it

For ‘above’ is blind belief and ‘under’ is a sword to sleeve

And ‘around’ is a scientific miracle."

In this line, Tyler contemplates the realities of death and the three responses people gravitate towards.

  1. “Above” signifies religious people blindly putting faith into God, who is above death.

  2. “Under” signifies something much darker, mainly referring to people living a life of sin by giving their souls to the Devil.

  3. “Around” signifies the use of new technology, medicine, and science to avoid death, which in reality is an impractical task.

Of course, all of this isn’t something you can understand on your first time listening. It requires a ton of replays, contemplation and lyrical studies on different websites.  


Lastly, the musical and lyrical production of the band has steadily increased in skill over the nine years the band has been active. Produced in both Tyler Joseph’s home studio and United Recording Studio in California, Trench exhibits a high-quality sound that musical nerds (like myself) can appreciate. Drummer Joshua Dun implements many different styles of drumming, all while adding his own personal taste. From melodic cymbal bells in Track 6, “Smithereens” to heavy kick drum patterns in Track 1, “Jumpsuit”, Joshua definitely displays his powers and skill behind the drum kit. Without him, the band would literally and emotionally be 50% less. (Tyler even shouts Joshua out at the end of “Morph”.) The lyrics, as mentioned earlier, are very deep. Written with the help of Paul Meany, lead singer of the band Mutemath, Tyler explores new topics, new tempos, and even deeper meanings.



-Personal Favorite Song: “Morph”

-Most Hype Song: “Jumpsuit”

-Favorite Among Friends: “Chlorine”

-Most Radio Worthy: “My Blood”

-Most Romantic/Sweet: “Smithereens”

-Best Bop: “Levitate”


Personally, I believe this album is a solid 10/10. I have been a huge fan of Twenty One Pilots for 3 years, so I admit I am a tad biased. However, the album is full of catchy jams and philosophical lyrics that can please almost any crowd.


Addison Howard meets Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun, members of the band Twenty One Pilots on November 3rd, 2018