by Jared Moser
It’s been almost exactly one year since the Columbus, Ohio alternative duo Twenty-One Pilots released their quarantine anthem “Level Of Concern,” and two-and-a-half years since they dropped their best album to date, Trench. Now the band brings us the newest addition to their discography, “Shy Away,” a taste of their new upcoming album, Scaled and Icy, dropping May 21st. The track implements sounds and a style that Twenty-One Pilots fans are unfamiliar to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Continuing with the synth-pop sound of “Level Of Concern,” “Shy Away” is an extremely radio-friendly tune with an electronic synth lead, electric guitar, fast-paced running drums from Josh Dun, and some of the best vocals Tyler Joseph has shown. With “Level Of Concern” being their first song to implement electric guitar, this new single shows that this is in fact the direction that the band is going, and I like it.
My first reaction to the song was, “Oh no, they’re going mainstream!” But after giving it many more listens, I think I could totally get on board with this sound. The band has been pumping out alternative/emo/electronic-pop music for the past decade. Keeping that in mind, I can see why Joseph and Dun want a change.
What I like about the drums on the track is that they’re completely different from any other era of the band’s music. Dun has sounded different behind the kit on every album; considering he’s the reason why I started drumming in the first place, it makes it that much better to hear him show how versatile of a drummer he really is. The fast kick, heavy drums fit the 80’s vibe that the song gives off.
From what I can tell from the lyrics, Joseph isn’t continuing the story and lore from their previous two albums, Blurryface and Trench. He mentioned in 2020 that he wasn’t sure whether the next album was going to be a break from the lore or not. Whether it is or isn’t, I’m confident that the band will produce something great, because as much as I think the storytelling aspect of their music is why I love it so much, they’ve released fantastic projects that don’t have a specific story in mind (Vessel).
Overall, the song reminds me a little bit of The Strokes because of the style of the guitar and synths, and I love The Strokes. Twenty-One Pilots have been one of my favorite bands since I heard “Stressed Out” play on the radio back in 2015, and I’ve been looking forward to a new album from them since Trench, one of my favorite albums of all time. This upcoming album in May is something I’m unbelievably stoked for, and with this new sound and direction the band is going, I’m ready for them to blow me away.