The third studio album, Vessel, which was released in 2013 by Twenty One Pilots, is chalk full of gems in the forms of singles. Although Vessel is their first full-length release since the duo was signed in 2012, the boys have been on the scene since their first fruition in 2009. Coming from the greater Ohio area, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have created this mix of indie pop/indietronica/rap rock that bounces fully between the genres. No one genre outweighs the other, and the songs contain a very full, balanced sound. Growing from releasing singles on their Sound Cloud to being signed by Atlantic Records subsidiary Fueled by Ramen in just a few short years, Twenty One Pilots has proved themselves to be a welcome change of pace.
“Holding On To You” reached number 11 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, making it their first radio hit in the States. But that should come as no surprise, with beautiful lyrics like “sounding down the mountain range of my left side brain / you are surrounding all my surrounding / twisting the kaleidoscope behind both of my eyes,” being sang by Joseph, jumping into a pretty sick verse of Dun rapping “we were gifted with thought / is it time to move our feet / to an introspective beat / it ain’t the speakers that bump hearts / it’s our hearts that make the beat,” drive home the intellectual aspect of songwriting for these boys. While some of the beats could pass as merely superficial undertones, or cheesy ukulele’s trying too hard, the layer of words that envelope them transform them into a toe-tapping tune.
“Migraine” has to be my absolute favorite single off this album. That may say more about me than I want to, but I refuse to believe that there isn’t a single person that can’t relate to the feelings expressed in this song. “I’m never what I like / I’m double-sided / and I just can’t hide / I kinda like it / when I make you cry / cause I’m twisted up / I’m twisted up / inside” feels like a real reflection of the inner- turmoil that plagues even the best of us when we hurt the ones we love the most. Joseph poses questions to the faces he can’t see like “am I the only one I know / waging my wars behind my face and above my throat,” almost begging to know he isn’t alone. Well, in my personal experience, he isn’t alone and those thoughtful lyrics make up for any doubt that might be raised in the beat.