2018, Music

Trench (2018) by Twenty Øne Piløts

I had no idea what to make of this when I first listened to it. I hadn’t heard much like it. I have never really listened to Linkin Park but they are the first band I can think of that I can think of remotely sounding like this. (I stress “remotely.”)

That’s a lazy and easy comparison for me because I’ve never heard a “pop rock” group with this much rap in their music before. That likely just speaks to how little contemporary music I listen to but it was really surprising when I first listened to this record. I was not really sure what I was listening to, or even if it was the same band for the whole record.

There are a lot of influences here. Like so much 21st century music, my mileage depends on whether or not I like the influence. On “Jumpsuit,” for example, when he screams, I was thinking I could get into this, even if screaming “Jumpsuit” seemed, um, kind of odd. But then there’s lots of rap and there’s such a heavy pop/hip hop influence on so many of the tracks.

It’s also safe to say I don’t like Joseph’s way of singing, which is often heavily influenced by contemporary singing techniques or is masked in effects, which I often do not like. Sometimes he’s fine and then he adopts a particular way of singing that reminds me of cursive singing or mumble rap and I get annoyed.

There’s clearly talent here. Joseph can seemingly play a ton of different instruments pretty well and is capable of singing in different styles, even if they are styles I don’t like. And this is among the most stylistically diverse “pop rock” I have heard from the teens (if music like this can be said to still be within the “pop rock” universe given how little it relies on prominent electric guitar).

But it is just not for me. The highest energy tracks work better than the lower energy tracks but, at the end of the day, it is just way too indebted to hip hop for my liking.


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