21 Pilots

21 Pilots' new album, "Scaled and Icy," released May 21, 2021. Courtesy 21 Pilots.

Stars: 4/5

Three years after their last release, “Trench,” the popular alt-rap band Twenty-One Pilots returned with another full-length album, “Scaled and Icy,” on May 21. The group is widely recognized as a band that caters towards a fanbase that can relate to the mental health discussions that are poured into their lyrics. Their hit 2015 album “Blurryface” earned gold certifications for every single song in the album. With many of their songs being widely addicting with beats and lyrics that are played through car speakers in the middle of the day or earphones in the middle of the night, “Scaled and Icy” upholds the band’s reputation with a musical twist.

“Scaled and Icy” starts off with a beat that is quite the opposite of what the group has been associated with in the past. The first song, “Good Day,” introduced an upbeat alt-pop genre to the album. The song is mellow and gives a positive, uplifting message of “being alright” and having a good day even when things are not going well in life.

“Choker” starts to shift to a deeper tone and sounds more like a Twenty-One Pilots song. The track has upbeat moments, but the overall tone of the song is very melancholy. The lyrics are more somber, but carry the same effect as the songs that the band has previously released.

Their third track, “Shy Away,” took me by surprise from the very first beat. The synth-pop beat reminds me of some older songs produced by the band The Strokes; however, Tyler Joseph’s voice really solidifies the track as a Twenty One Pilots original. The song is upbeat and made me turn my volume up immediately.

“The Outside” was a pleasant follow-up to “Shy Away.” The song reflects some R&B influences with an addicting, groovy beat. The lyrics are also funny, and of course, relatable. The song became the first one from the album that I played more than once (and will be repeating for a while).

“Saturday” goes back to the pop genre. It is one of those feel-good songs that makes you want to paint the town on a Saturday. One of the most unique parts of the song includes a conversation between Joseph and his wife discussing his intentions to continue working on the song or finish watching “Friends.”

Their sixth track, “Never Take It,” does the most for the rock genre out of the other preceding songs. The importance of the guitar is made clear through this song and is another favorite of mine. The next track, “Mulberry Street,” takes another shift back to the mellow, breezy alt-pop genre, but goes into “Formidable,” which is another fantastic track. The song brings out the acoustics in a really tasteful way.

I was on the edge with “Bounce Man” with the way it sounds like an introduction song for overpaid Youtubers, but the lyrics are what makes it an interesting song.

The change from an upbeat, ukulele driven song to “No Chances” was a huge transition. The song sounds like a track that did not make it for the final production of “Blurryface” so the group put it in “Scaled and Icy,” and I mean that in the best way possible. The song is dramatic with heavy musical tones, but it makes a softer shift as Joseph sings the lines “we want you home in one piece now.” The classic “emo rap” verse that Joseph is known for is showcased in this song as well.

The album ends with beautiful tones found in “Redecorate.” The message of the song is powerful, and Joseph was inspired to write the song after a friend’s son passed away, and they decided to keep his room the same. The musicality of this song is my favorite overall from the album. It is unique and almost dream-like.

Carrying out their tradition of delivering really meaningful and relatable lyrics as well as an album full of different genres, “Scaled and Icy,” was worth the wait. The full album is available on all streaming platforms and on sale through their website twentyonepilots.com.

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