I should open up by saying that I am borderline overly obsessed with the two man band, Twenty One Pilots. To those unfamiliar with Tyler Joseph (lead vocals, piano/keyboard) and Josh Dunn (drums), you might very well think that I'm some crazed fan who is pulling theories left and right and looking at a speck of dust and claiming that it means something. But when it comes to TOP, everything means something. They're like the psychological thrillers of music; you must look at every detail, and piecing together their songs is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with no idea what the end image is going to be, and I love that.
Who is Blurryface?
This is the album's name, which we know must mean something, but what? No, not what... who?
Blurryface certainly doesn't seem like a normal name. I mean, Blurryface Benter might sound like a bizarre(/awesome?) villain name, but that's about as far as we can go with that. Instead, I think that it's to represent a character we're being exposed to in TOP's recent singles.
The Theorized Story So Far...
We were first shown what fans and I have been calling Blurryface in the first single, Fairly Local. Each time Blurryface makes an appearance, Tyler's attitude shifts completely, and his eyes become red and his voice becomes deep and distorted. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't taken aback the first time I heard/saw this. "It's a little demonic", I thought. But that's just it. Blurryface is a representation of Tyler's inner demons. Notice how Blurryface never has anything good to say. "This song will never be on the radio." at the 1:46 mark.
And then, just yesterday, the single Stressed Out was released, and we see/hear even more of Blurryface. Including the pre-chorus (with Tyler's voice): "My name's Blurryface, and I care what you think." The core of the song is something that many people can relate to. It's about how Tyler wishes he could go back to how things were when he was a kid and didn't have to worry about anything, but now that he's older, he's insecure, cares what people think, and is stressed out. Starting at 2:27 in the music video, you see Tyler and Josh's family telling them "Wake up, you need to make money." but as the song progresses, you hear the same line but with Blurryface's voice invading, and then right at the end, we see Blurryface again, just like in Fairly Local.
It's worth noting that Stressed Out is the second track, and Fairly Local is the fourth track in the fourteen track album. It's interesting because these two songs sound darker than what I'm typically used to hearing from TOP. Not due to lyrics, but just how it actually sounds. Even some of TOPs songs dealing with dark themes, such as depression, are sometimes upbeat. These are not. However, Fairly Local does pick up a bit at the end.
The song immediately after Fairly Local in the track list is Tear in My Heart, which is probably the most upbeat (overall) song I've heard from TOP. Although it doesn't sound like having a tear in your heart is a good thing, in this case, it is. Blurryface doesn't make an appearance here because it's a song about Tyler's wife Jenna, and how she's made his bad thoughts go away.
The final track on Blurryface is a song that we've already heard before, called Goner, and it is one of the most haunting songs I've heard from them. From what we could gauge when it was released early 2012, it sounded like Tyler was giving up. Which, for this to be the last song on the album, doesn't make sense with how the order of things were starting to get upbeat.
When a fan asked in an AMA about how Goner was different from the original, Tyler responded with:
The instrumentation is significantly different. It's actually the oldest song on the record. But I finished it last. So it's a song that's been haunting me for a while, and I feel like we finally gave it the ending we deserved.
So we know that Goner is going to be getting a big makeover, and this could potentially change the meaning of what we thought we knew to be true. All we can really assume is that the song isn't being spoken from Tyler's perspective, but Blurryface's... and that in the end, Tyler has won.
So now we have the finished (pre-released, that is) theorized story to the album, and I have no doubt in my mind that it'll be anything other than brilliant. But there's also some smaller details to look at such as...
We've heard Blurryface before now.
That's right, Fairly Local might not be the first time we've heard from this character. Remember how Blurryface said "This song will never be on the radio." in Fairly Local? Believe it or not, you can barely hear a voice that is very similar to Blurryface's come in at the 1:21 mark, and he says something very similar.
You might think that's a stretch, and hey, I wouldn't blame you. But if Goner's original meaning was about Blurryface all this time, it isn't too far out there. Goner was released before any of the original songs in Vessel. It could have been originally planned to be on Vessel, but didn't make the cut. You never know!
The Colors - Black, White, and Red
Tyler recently said in an AMA:
The more and more I got to know the character Blurryface, the more I realized that the color blue was not a part of who he was. And because of that, red represents him on this record.
If you've ever studied the psychology behind colors, negatively speaking, red is often used to represent anger, hate, or danger. Fits Blurryface pretty well, don't you think?
Negatively, black could represent darkness, or pessimism. Negatively, white could represent insubstantial, or numbness. All of which make sense, but I think that we should also take a look at the positives, since most of the negative things are coming from Blurryface.
Positively, black could represent power, strength, or authority. Positively, white could represent truth, innocence, and peace. If the final track, Goner is indeed about Tyler's victory over Blurryface, these meanings ring true.
What do you guys think? Are the black and white colors used as positives or negatives? Or both?
Tyler's Black Hands and Neck
Fans have seemed to come up with the theory that it's representing Blurryface's consumption over Tyler. We just covered that black can mean darkness or pessimism, so it's not far fetched. Do you agree with the fans?
The Album Cover
There are so many layers- both literally and in the meaning of the album cover - that are so important to Josh & I. We've worked very hard on it. We can't wait for you guys to discover it once you get your hands on it. But every element was very thought-through, and very intentional.
I definitely see a bunch of swallows on the bottom right, which are supposed to be symbols of hope. We can also assume that the red circles are somehow correlated to Blurryface.
I could have all of this 100% wrong, but that doesn't mean it wasn't fun to speculate about. What are your thoughts? Do you have any theories I didn't cover? Just keep the comments friendly, and remember... "a kitchen sink to you, is not a kitchen sink to me". |-/