Falling into the Trench: Exploring the new Twenty-One Pilots Album


Glenbard West student and Twenty-One Pilots fan Celeste Sevilla’s depiction of the Trench.

From emotional piano to lonely ukulele, Twenty-One Pilots have never disappointed their emo fans. After a three year hiatus, they’re back with Trench.

The two-man band from Columbus, Ohio has always had a unique sound. Fans, also known as “the Clique,” have long joked about not having a favorite genre because Twenty-One Pilots covers them all. Generally considered alternative rock, they also fall into rap, electric pop, and indie pop. However, Trench is primarily a rap album, with exceptions like “The Hype” and “Cut My Lip” which are more indie pop, and others falling somewhere in between.

Following Twenty-One Pilots (often referred to as “Self Titled”), Regional at Best, Vessel, and Blurryface, Trench is the band’s fifth studio album. Trench landed at No. 1 on Australian charts in its first week and selling 175,000 copies internationally.  It is currently number 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums

Unlike the others, Trench is a concept album taking place in the alternate world of “Trench.” They convey the slightly unsettling feeling of a parallel universe with their intelligent use of piano, percussion, and pattern. It is like “The Upside Down” of Twenty-One Pilots (Self Titled) and Blurryface.

While Trench still has the cheerful ukulele and heavy percussion, the music doesn’t sound like it should belong to any of their other albums. While the ukulele does make appearances on Trench, there is significantly less than their third album, Vessel. The sound is more similar to their last album, Blurryface, continuing its intense percussion and heavy bass lines.

The overall sound of the album adds a distorted, industrial, and Twenty-One Pilots-esque edge to a familiar modern rap sound. Pulling together the modern rap, elements of their past albums, and a more edgy, new sound, this album can be considered groundbreaking.

Because the album is so diverse, it fits the vibe of multiple situations. Generally, people say they listen to it when they’re showering, driving, doing homework, or just feeling emo.

The majority of the album, while musically complex and intense, is chill and relaxing. Having borderline low-fi hip-hop beats allows Trench to easily be background music for homework, showering, and driving. But more intense songs like “Pet Cheetah,” “Morph,” and “My Blood” could seamlessly be added into your workout playlist.

Twenty-One Pilots was off the grid for so long, but they came back with a punch. Trench follows old, relatable themes of fear and depression, but comes at them with a new sound that is not leaving the Clique or casual listeners disappointed.