Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Twenty One Pilots – My Blood

Who’s up for a little game of Indie Rock Bingo?


Thomas Inskeep: I’ve never really taken Twenty One Pilots as a rock band, exactly — and please, please, listen to this week’s NYT Popcast about what exactly “rock” means in 2018 — and I’ve never really cared for them, either. They’re so whiny, so cranky, so keening, especially vocally. (Is this what it means to be emo in our present day?) But I actually do like the unexpected layers of texture and volume that keep piling on to “My Blood” as it progresses (especially once reaching the 3:00 mark). And I’m for the high/low harmonies, too. I could see this becoming the first song of theirs I take a liking to, though it’ll take some time to grow on me. But it could happen. Maybe.

Iain Mew: The first time I heard them on “Fairly Local” I admired its “gothic, hollowed out crawl.” They’ve taken a rather convoluted route to get back round to that, but here at last is the same feeling, now with added electro sparkle glistening somewhere between promise and menace.

Taylor Alatorre: Imagine MySpace-era MGMT covering a random song off of Emotional Rescue. Now take what you imagined and make it 50% more emo and 60% less interesting. Now imagine you’re the talking dog in the sad horse cartoon show and it’s time to deliver the most on-point joke of the fifth season.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: For all of their faults, Twenty One Pilots have always been deeply original in their corniness. “My Blood” changes that up, instead opting for a 2014-Alt Nation aesthetic that serves them surprisingly well — even the faux-rap bit goes down easy here. But “My Blood” runs completely unremarkably, squandering the potential of the change of aesthetic.

Alfred Soto: Writing about Vampire Weekend a couple days ago, I read friends comment on the similarities in the manipulation of synth textures, the conscious use of gauche white hip-hop tropes, the preference for merely floating. As attractive as this stew may taste, Twenty One Pilots’ arena rock instincts reduce these disparate elements to mere noise for Section 151 Row 79.  

Tim de Reuse: Sounds less like a song by Twenty One Pilots and more like Justice remixing a song by Twenty One Pilots, and that’s mostly a good thing! If anything, the parts that lean towards a traditional pop structure make it weaker, and it would’ve been more fun as an exercise in french house — though it wouldn’t hurt to knock the compression from “drum ‘n’ bass production video tutorial” down to “early-aughts Daft Punk.”

Anna Suiter: Twenty One Pilots still seem to be guilty of making slight variations of the same song over and over. They’ve certainly found their niche, though, even if it’s a dull one.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Ok but the second half of this is better than most Tame Impala songs.

Reader average: [2.33] (3 votes)

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8 Responses to “Twenty One Pilots – My Blood”

  1. I wrote an entire review, and was going to write something about this, but it’s probably one of the more boring songs on Trench (I still think “Morph” should be a single, and maybe “Chlorine”). There just isn’t as much momentum as there is on the record’s better songs.


  2. As someone who lived there most of my adult life, Twenty One Pilots are the perfect musical distillation of Columbus, OH, home of such bland mass market faves as L Brands (formerly Limited, purveyors of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, among others), Abercrombie & Fitch, and Wendy’s. Columbus is also home to what I assume is one of the last commercial alt rock radio stations standing, the type that had Flobots in regular rotation 10 years ago and Cake every day for the past 20 years. In this context, Alfred’s blub makes total sense. Twenty One Pilots as the middlebrow, mall rock Vampire Weekend? I buy it.

  3. Are Twenty One Pilots the Cake of the 2010s?

    (Cake have a new single. Hard to believe that the last Cake album went in at #1. We probably won’t be covering it, mind you, but the jaw does drop.)

  4. For midwesternness, I’d go with 311, but there’s Cake in the DNA, too.

  5. Eh, I feel like if they were going to be compared with Cake, they’d have to have had a good song or two some twenty years beforehand, and uh… they haven’t had a good song in even two years, so.

  6. the new album is good

    idk what the scope of the cake comparison is but it doesn’t make sense to me on any level

  7. Cake cake cake cake

    were one of my favorite bands as a teenager but now I realize how much of their feigned pretentiousness was actually not so feigned. Their best songs are the ones where they’re more willing to commit to traditional pop structures, like “Sheep Go to Heaven” and “Let Me Know.” And yeah, the comparison to TOP doesn’t make much sense, given that they’re on opposite ends of the irony/sincerity spectrum.

  8. I listened to plenty of CAKE when I was 15, and I feel like if I were 15 now, 21P would be like one of my favourite groups.