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“Trench” transcends “TOP” fans’ expectations

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Jordyn Grist

On July 11 the first two songs, “Jumpsuit” and “Nico and the Niners,” from the album, “Trench,” by Twenty-One Pilots were released. The music video of “Jumpsuit” surpassed the infamous song, “Heathens,” on YouTube as the most viewed in a day for the Twenty-One Pilots channel.

After soaring to popularity after their release of “Blurryface,” Twenty-One Pilots gained a fanbase way beyond their expectations. With songs like “Stressed Out” and “Heathens,” a single from the movie “Suicide Squad,” constantly on the radio, it’s no wonder how or why the duo soared.

The long-awaited album, “Trench,” was fully released on Oct. 5, and it’s got critics and fans raving. With their return in this album, Twenty-One Pilots’ music style has seemed to mature; each song has its own unique quality with varying messages hidden within the lyrics.

Before the album’s release, Josh Dun, Twenty-One Pilots’ drummer, revealed that “Trench” would be an addition to “Blurryface[‘s]” story in an interview with BBC Radio 1: “It kind of zooms out a little bit and there is a full narrative. Musically, I’m very excited about it, it continues to be diverse.”

In “Trench” Twenty-One Pilots takes us to the fictional walled city of Dema, focusing in on a character named Clancy, who must escape. The city of Dema is ruled by nine bishops, Andre, Lisden, Keons, Nico, Reisdro, Sacarver, Nills, Vetomo, and Listo, who rule Dema by extinguishing hope and forcing the made-up religion of Vialism upon its citizens.

After a while, Clancy joins a group of rebels called the banditos, hence the song titled “Bandito” later in the album, and leads a successful escape from Dema heard in “Leave the City,” the album’s closing track.

The story of Clancy and the banditos is an allegory for the album’s true meaning: escaping from mental illness with a focus on depression. Clancy is representative of Tyler Joseph, the main vocalist of Twenty-One Pilots.

The city of Dema, with its high walls, symbolizes the challenge of overcoming depression.

The bishops (more insight on them in “Nico and the Niners”), represent manifestations of depression, or suicidal thoughts. This is supported by the bishops’ names and symbols alluding to “Blurryface” song titles and the album’s cover.

Additionally, Vialism is meant to be symbolic of the depressed person’s mental state: alone, isolated, and hopeless.

And the banditos? They are those who wish to fight and overcome depression. In “Nico and the Niners” you can repeatedly hear “east is up,” the trademark saying of the banditos.

The saying means that people with depression should look to the east (the sunrise) and that a new day of hope will be upon them soon.

The subject of looking forward to the next day was also featured in Twenty-One Pilots’ previous song, “Ode to Sleep.”

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to escape Dema (depression), as repeated in “Nico and the Niners”: “We’ll win/ But not everyone will get out/ Oh oh.”

Even with its already strong underlying message, “Trench” delivers another blow in its most controversial song: “Neon Gravestones,” a song about glorifying suicide.

Tyler’s lyrics are powerful and hit you right in the gut: “And my problem?/ We glorify those, even more, when they/ My opinion/ Our culture can treat a loss/ Like it’s a win and right before we turn on them/ We give them the highest of praise, and hang their banner from a ceiling/ Communicating, further engraving/ An earlier grave is an optional way/ No.”

Although he never outright says that he is talking about suicide, it is heavily implied. His message in this song is that celebrities who commit suicide become more famous when they die.

He expresses later in the song that, “I could use the streams and extra conversations/ I could give up, and boost up my reputation/ I could go out with a bang/ They would know my name/They would host and post a celebration.”

Following that, he adds, “Promise me this (call, call)/ If I lose to myself/ You won’t mourn a day/ And you’ll move onto someone else.”

Tyler is trying to tell his fans that if he ever succumbs to suicide, they should not mourn his death, and that they should move on and live their lives.

The ending of the song is Tyler summing up about how it’s good that the stigma of depression is disappearing and how people are becoming more aware of the problem. However, he wishes to close the song to end by telling his fans that suicide should not be celebrated–life should.

“Neon Gravestones” is just one of the 14 songs on the “Trench” album. Never have I ever heard such a variety in each song throughout an album, despite them having a shared message.

“Trench” is an alternative/rock genre masterpiece, and is sure worth having a listen to.

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About the writer
Jordyn Grist, staff writer

Jordyn Grist is a first-year writer for The Voice. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of athletics, including Lacrosse, and discussing her favorite books, TV shows and movies. She also writes poetry and stories, one of which she is currently editing to be published. She used to play the trombone and piano, and she is now a creative cook and enjoys meditating and giving Tarot Card readings.

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“Trench” transcends “TOP” fans’ expectations