Bop Battle; Twenty-One Pilots: “Vessel” vs. “Blurryface”


 In 2012, Twenty-One Pilots broke the alternative scene with their release “Vessel”, and they’ve been taking the world by storm since. “Vessel” is a class-act that is almost indiscernible when deriving best albums from this genre of music. Let’s take a closer look into the musical content. Throughout each track, the band gives their audience drastic highs and lows through their simplistic orchestration. To further, the band provides a fundamental layer of music, the percussion part, and from there they add a variety of strings, piano, electronics, or some combination of the three with additions and subtractions thrown in for musical variety. This allows the band to give their audience either a sing-song type melody, or a melody that takes the quicker, rapped/spoken-word technique that the band is most known for. Additionally, as one moves throughout the album, it can be said that each and every song has its own identity while being closely related to the songs that surround it. In order to pull this off, the band has placed similar musical nuances throughout each selection; however, each song sounds completely different, for the band is carefully stretching the musical make-up of each part that helps each track stick out as an individual. As stated before, the spoken-word/rapped technique is a Twenty-One Pilots staple, and it is what helps this album to stick out and be appealing to various audiences. Through this technique, the band is able to add quicker verses here and there, which helps to add major moments of contrast when looking at the album by each track or as a full picture. Furthermore, I would easily give this album a 5 out of 5 stars. This is one of the most groundbreaking albums to cross the scene, and it came out in, arguably, one of the most competitive years for alternative music (2012). This album pulls from several genres within each track, which gives Twenty-One Pilots their own voice that is unique and hard to compete with. This album put this band on the map, which gave them the platform to extrapolate on their core fundamentals as a band, and that is nothing but exciting to fans across all fronts.

Essential Tracks: Migraine, Fake You Out, Guns For Hands.



 Following their previous release, when Twenty-One Pilots announced their newest album “Blurryface” in 2015, audiences were expecting big things, and the band gave them just that and then some. In this album, the band took their signature sound that was solidified in “Vessel”, and they expanded and evolved those same techniques to give their fans an album that amps up their signature techniques. Now let’s shift to focus on the music that the band places on the album. On “Blurryface”, the band provides the audience with a nice juxtaposition of paces between all of their selections; meaning, the band gives a nice variety of slow to fast works. This helps to allow the band to embellish on their simple, traditional orchestration while they present their traditional set of vocal-types. With that being said, it is notable that the band does use the sing-song type approach as well as the spoken-word technique; however, on this album, the vocalist commonly provides and in between technique that falls in the center of their normalities from previous releases. This new approach follows the mold of the evolution that Twenty-One Pilots is enforcing through their release, which enhances their progressive sound. Additionally, it is notable that throughout this album, the band includes more instrumental interludes that allows elaborate musical lines to span from the vocals to the instrumental material. This gives a vast spectrum of musical content, while staying in one song selection. It is also heard that the majority of the tracks on this album sound “cool”, which is caused by the blurring of musical timbres provided by the minimal instrumentation of the band. This is also a direct evolution from “Vessel” since the majority of the techniques line up almost perfectly. Moreover, I would also give this album an easy 5 out of 5 stars. This album holds true to the aesthetic that the band solidified in “Vessel”, and they did so by keeping their techniques relatively the same. However, the band gave their audience a fresh sound by bending and twisting those similar techniques, which helped to give them more radio time as well as a more diverse fan base.

Essential Tracks: Message Man, Polarize, Doubt.


For Your Consideration, the winner is the one, the only…

 A tough decision to say the least, but a winner must be chosen, and the honor goes to Twenty-One Pilot’s 2012 album, “Vessel”. With both albums reigning in at a 5 out of 5 star rating, it was very hard to pick one that would rank slightly above the other; however, there were a few small things that helped “Vessel” take the cake. The first reason I landed on “Vessel” was because there are several key tracks from “Vessel” that scream originality. Now, all of the band’s works fall into this category, but these tracks became the staple for the band, and if anything was lesser than them, people would/could comment on how certain tracks weren’t related or like those core tracks. The other main reason I chose this album to be the better of the two is because I feel that some of the tracks on “Blurryface” could be considered “stereotypical”, which isn’t a bad thing because those tracks are what helped the band appeal to the masses. On the flip side, “Vessel” holds that pristine nature to it, which keeps it purely a unique musical work: putting it slightly above “Blurryface”. Regardless of technicalities and musical analyses, both of these albums are absolutely fantastic, so if you don’t know either of them: change that ASAP.

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