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JFH Music Review

twenty one pilots, 'Clancy'

twenty one pilots

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Alternative / Pop / Indie / Hip Hop
Album length: 13 tracks: 47 minutes, 14 seconds
Street Date: May 24, 2024


Hello Clancy. Twenty One Pilots' seventh album, Clancy, is a continued refusal to be easily labeled. Mixing, pop, rock, hip-hop, synth-pop, and baritone ukulele sounds chaotic, and yet the Ohio duo makes it work. Musically, it's held together by Josh Dun's strong drumming, thick bass guitar lines, and a major assist on production from Paul Meany (MuteMath). Lyrically, Tyler Joseph continues to weave an intricate web of callbacks to previous work, while also pushing the "Dema" lore forward. Standing confidently in the face of critical opinion and a fandom bated with near fever-pitch expectations, the end of a decade-long story spanning four or five albums is here. Or is it? If we recall in "Bandito," Tyler tells us why he created this narrative in the first place singing, "I created this world/To feel some control/Destroy it if I want." But can he?

One thing is for sure; if the eclectic stylings of Blurryface, the hip-hop leaning Trench, and the deceptively-poppy Scaled and Icy were thrown in a blender, you would get Clancy. And yet, not quite. There is also an indie experimental pop flair, and a stubborn punk ethos, pervading many of the album's tunes. This is seen mostly clearly in the throbbing bass-heavy songs like singles "Overcompensate," and "Next Semester," and additionally seen on the album in "Midwest Indigo" and "Navigating." Other standouts are the indie pop with hints of hip-hop stylings of "Routines in the Night," "At the Risk of Feeling Dumb," and "Lavish." Those three in particular had to grow on me and the tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek nature of "Lavish" is best on display in its accompanying video.

Each of the aforementioned songs is a highlight of the album with additions to that list being "Snap Back," "Oldies Station, and the epic closer, "Paladin Strait," which delivers what would seem to be a gut-punch ending to the larger narrative. Though, as with Scaled and Icy before it, we should know better than to take everything at face value, with the final music video promising to add another layer of depth and meaning. Overall, there isn't a "must-skip" track here, with many on the B-side of the album winning me over with repeat listens.

Oh, and did I mention each of the thirteen songs has an accompanying music video?! Yes, though not every one of them contributes to the larger narrative they have been unspooling, they do serve to add color to each offering. If you're after the Dema lore, "Overcompensate," "Navigating," and the soon-to-be-released video for closer "Paladin Strait" is where you should direct your attention. Otherwise, the band displays a little bit of everything they've done musically while addressing topics of mental health, the music industry, the creative process, the power of friendship, and the camaraderie that true community brings with it. Also, the video for "Lavish" is just a rollicking good time. There's something here for any type of fan of the band.

Lyrically, there are callbacks to past songs aplenty, but I think the entire theme of the album and larger narrative Tyler is sharing of his mental health is found in lines on "At the Risk of Feeling Dumb." In the post-chorus he pleads, "At the risk of feeling dumb, check-in/It's not worth the risk of losing a friend/Even if they say 'just keep your plans'/I hope you never have to drop." Elsewhere, he apologizes sincerely atop a mean bass riff, "Pardon my delay/I'm navigating, I'm navigating my head." Surely, if it isn't clear by now, Joseph cares deeply about his fans and knows intimately the cyclical struggle with depression and its accompanying demons. Tyler Joseph has been nothing short of authentic, relatable, and inspiring along the path as we stumble toward the light.

So, how does it all end, and will they stick to the landing? This was the primary question that fans, including this reviewer, had when hearing the album would bring the storyline to a close. All in all, after the shock of the album's last moments, I'm convinced that Clancy will further polarize the Clique and casual fans of the band. At this stage of their career, now, more than ever, the duo is continuing to make music for themselves and those who have been along for the ride, come what may. The few. The proud. The emotional. They told the story they wanted to tell, and what a journey it's been.

All in all, your level of enjoyment of Clancy may lie in your comfortability with uncertainty. I've come to embrace it, and much like my favorite TV show of all time, I'm willing to get LOST in the layers that may or may not even be there. In the end, it was about the friendships that keep us going when we want to give up. Never underestimate the simple act of care, and a willingness to stay present. Ultimately, Clancy is a triumph; a bittersweet end to the journey, their best album to date, and an album of the year contender.

- Review date: 5/31/24, written by Josh Balogh of

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. Record Label: Fueled by Ramen
. Album length: 13 tracks: 47 minutes, 14 seconds
. Street Date: May 24, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: (CD)
. Buy It: (Vinyl)
. Buy It: (Cassette)
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. Overcompensate (3:56)
  2. Next Semester (3:54)
  3. Backslide (3:00)
  4. Midwest Indigo (3:16)
  5. Routines In The Night (3:23)
  6. Vignette (3:22)
  7. The Craving (Jenna's version) (2:54)
  8. Lavish (2:39)
  9. Navigating (3:43)
  10. Snap Back (3:30)
  11. Oldies Station (3:48)
  12. At The Risk Of Feeling Dumb (3:24)
  13. Paladin Strait (6:29)



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