Blurryface

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Blurryface
Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots.png
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 17, 2015 (2015-05-17)
Recorded2013–2015
Studio
Genre
Length52:23
LabelFueled by Ramen
Producer
Twenty One Pilots chronology
Vessel
(2013)
Blurryface
(2015)
Trench
(2018)
Singles from Blurryface
  1. "Fairly Local"
    Released: March 17, 2015
  2. "Tear in My Heart"
    Released: April 6, 2015
  3. "Lane Boy"
    Released: May 4, 2015
  4. "Stressed Out"
    Released: November 10, 2015[6]
  5. "Ride"
    Released: April 12, 2016[7]
  6. "Heavydirtysoul"
    Released: December 9, 2016[8]

Blurryface is the fourth studio album by American musical duo Twenty One Pilots, released on May 17, 2015 through Fueled by Ramen.

Like their previous album Vessel (2013), the album takes influence from various genres, including hip hop, rock, pop, reggae, and indie music. Lyrically, the album incorporates themes of mental health, doubt, and religion. It contains the successful singles "Stressed Out" and "Ride", which both reached the top-five on the Billboard Hot 100.

Blurryface was well-received by critics, who complimented its themes and musical diversity. It is considered to be the band's breakthrough album, becoming their first to reach number one on the Billboard 200. The album has sold over 1.5 million copies in the United States as of April 2017.[9] In 2018, Blurryface became the first album in history to have every track receive at least a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.[10][11]

Background and recording[edit]

Twenty One Pilots at Brixton Academy, London

Following the release of their third album Vessel (2013), the band toured extensively in support of the album worldwide.[12] While on tour the band had a portable recording studio that allowed them to lay down ideas.[13]

"Heavydirtysoul", "Fairly Local", "Tear in My Heart", "Lane Boy" and "Doubt" were recorded with producer Ricky Reed at Serenity West Recording in Hollywood, California. "Stressed Out", "Polarize", "Hometown" and "Not Today" were recorded with producer Mike Elizondo at Can Am in Tarzana, California. "Ride" was recorded with Reed at Sonic Lounge Studios in Grove City, Ohio. "The Judge" was recorded with producer Mike Crossey at Livingston Studios in London. "We Don't Believe What's on TV" and "Goner" were recorded with Reed at Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. "Message Man" was recorded with Tim Anderson at Werewolf Heart in Los Angeles, California. The album was mixed by Neal Avron, with assistance from Scott Skrzynski, at The Casita in Hollywood, California. The album was mastered by Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound in New York City.[14]

Title and artwork[edit]

The album is named after a character the band created called Blurryface. According to Joseph, he "represents all the things that I as an individual, but also everyone around, are insecure about."[15] Joseph wears black paint on his hands and neck during his live shows and music videos for the album, to represent Blurryface, saying: "Very dramatic, I know, but it helps me get into that character."[16]

Art direction and design was done by Brandon Rike, Reel Bear Media and Virgilio Tzaj.[14] Rob Gold was the art manager, while Josh Skubel was in charge of packaging production.[14] Jabari Jacobs provided photography.[14] Rike mentions on his blog about the different feel of the artwork from Vessel and how the red on Blurryface is "the color of passion, violence, and anger", although the band is famous for their content being open to interpretation.[17]

Release[edit]

On March 17, 2015, the band announced the album's title, track listing and release date.[18] The band's fans crashed their website attempting to pre-order the album.[19] The band released their new single "Fairly Local" on the same day accompanied by its music video which premiered on the official Fueled by Ramen YouTube channel.[20] On February 3, 2017, the band released the music video for "Heavydirtysoul", which was uploaded as audio only in 2015, and released as a single on December 9, 2016.[21]

On April 6, the band released the second single of the album, "Tear in My Heart", with an official music video released through YouTube.[22] "Tear in My Heart" was released to radio on April 14, 2015.[23] The third single, "Stressed Out", was released on April 28[24][25] with a music video.[26] On May 4, 2015, the band posted a YouTube video streaming the audio of the album's 6th track, "Lane Boy",[27] and released "Ride" seven days later through the same media;[28] both were also singles, being released on the 4th and 12th, respectively.[29][30] Between the 11th and the 14th the band toured the UK.[31] The music video for "Ride" was released on May 14,[32] directed by Reel Bear Media.[33]

On May 19, 2015, the duo performed at the iHeartRadio Theater LA in Burbank, CA, to celebrate the album's release.[34] The concert was livestreamed on iHeartRadio's website.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic80/100[35]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[36]
Alternative Press4.5/5 stars[37]
The Austin Chronicle3/5 stars[4]
Billboard3/5 stars[5]
Cleveland.comB[38]
Kerrang!4/5[39]
Rolling Stone Australia3/5 stars[40]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5[2]

Blurryface received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from music critics, the album has received an average score of 80, based on 5 reviews, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[35] Garrett Kamps of Billboard hailed the album as a "hot mess (in a good way)", but gave it a mixed review, saying that Blurryface "doesn't quite reach the heights of Vessel".[5]

Sputnikmusic and Alternative Press gave Blurryface favorable reviews, with the latter being the more positive. Their critic, Jason Pettigrew, described the album as "wonderful" and hailed the band's mix of genres in their songs, highlighting "Ride", "Polarize", "Message Man", "Tear in My Heart", "We Don't Believe What's on TV", "Goner" and "Lane Boy" in his review.[37]

Accolades[edit]

The album was ranked at number one in Alternative Press's "10 Essential Records of 2015" list.[3] Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press wrote that the band combined "hip-hop vistas, tinges of reggae, everyman pop, furious electronic urgency and bellicose sadness into an impossibly cohesive record".[3] The album was included at number 2 on Rock Sound's top 50 releases of 2015 list.[41] Blurryface was nominated for "Album Of The Year" at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards.[42] The album also won the category of "Top Rock Album" at the Billboard Music Awards.[43]

Commercial performance[edit]

Blurryface debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, earning 147,000 album-equivalent units (134,000 pure album sales) in the United States in its first week, making it Twenty One Pilots' highest-charting album and marking the band's highest opening week in the US.[44] The group also made their first appearance on the UK top 40 with Blurryface debuting at number 14. By November 2015, the album sold 500,000 copies worldwide.[45] The following month, it was announced the album's US sales was over 505,000 copies.[46] By January 2016, the album had sold 592,000 copies in the US.[47] Two months later, the album's US sales had risen to 753,000 copies.[48] By the end of March, the album's US sales stood at 792,000.[49] By mid-June, the album had sold 924,000 copies,[50] and over 1 million by late July.[51] By the end of the year, the album had sold over 1.2 million copies in the US.[52] It was the eighth best-selling album of 2016 with over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide that year, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.[53] As of April 2017, it has sold over 1.5 million copies domestically in the US.[9] The album has been certified gold in Canada and triple platinum in the US.[54] As of October 2018, the album earned 3.74 million equivalent album units, of which 1.7 million are in traditional album sales in the United States.[55]

The album made history, as it has been recognized as the first album to have every song certified gold.[56]

As of October 2018, the album has sold 394,727 copies in the United Kingdom and 6.5 million copies worldwide. [57]

Tours[edit]

Twenty One Pilots performing in 2016, during the Emotional Roadshow World Tour

Twenty One Pilots had their first international tour supporting Blurryface in 2015, titled Blurryface Tour, and composed of 113 shows across the globe. The tour began on May 11, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland and concluded on May 7, 2016 in Bunbury, Australia. Echosmith and Finish Ticket opened for the North American leg of this tour.[58] Two shows on this tour were recorded at Fox Oakland Theatre and later released as a TV special and limited edition vinyl called Blurryface Live.

Twenty One Pilots began the Emotional Roadshow World Tour in 2016, which also focused mainly on the Blurryface album and character. On October 26, 2015, the tour was announced with North American dates starting in Cincinnati, Ohio going through New York City, New York.[59] On May 9, 2016, more tour dates were announced, including a second North American leg and dates in Europe and Oceania.[60] The tour began on May 31, 2016, in Cincinnati at the U.S. Bank Arena, and concluded on June 25, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The tour consisted of 123 shows.[61]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Tyler Joseph.

Blurryface[14]
No.TitleProducerLength
1."Heavydirtysoul"
3:55
2."Stressed Out"3:22
3."Ride"
3:35
4."Fairly Local"
3:27
5."Tear in My Heart"
3:08
6."Lane Boy"
4:13
7."The Judge"4:58
8."Doubt"
3:11
9."Polarize"
  • Elizondo
  • Joseph[a]
3:47
10."We Don't Believe What's on TV"
2:57
11."Message Man"4:00
12."Hometown"
  • Elizondo
  • Joseph[a]
3:55
13."Not Today"
  • Elizondo
  • Joseph[a]
3:58
14."Goner"
3:57
Total length:52:23

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • We Don't Believe What's On TV were written for the couple Caíque and Lela.

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per booklet.[14]

Twenty One Pilots

  • Tyler Joseph – programming (tracks: 1–6, 8–9 and 12), piano (tracks: 1-4, 5–7 and 12–14), keyboards (tracks: 2, 4, 9 and 12), organs (track 3), lead vocals, backing vocals, Hammond organ, synths and gang vocals (track 7), ukulele (tracks: 7 and 10), synth bass (track 9), bass (tracks: 1-3, 8 and 11), guitar (tracks: 1, 3-6, 8, 11 and 14), tambourine (track 1)
  • Josh Dun – drums (tracks: 1–7, and 9–14), percussion (track 7), gang vocals (track 7), backing vocals (tracks 5 and 13), trumpet (tracks: 10 and 13), electronic drums (tracks: 8 and 11)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[123] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[124] 4× Platinum 320,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[125] Gold 10,000^
Germany (BVMI)[126] Gold 100,000^
Italy (FIMI)[127] Gold 25,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[128] Gold 20,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[129] Platinum 15,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[130] Gold 15,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[131] 2× Platinum 40,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[132] Platinum 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[133] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[54] 4× Platinum 4,000,000[9]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date
Australia[134] May 15, 2015
Germany
Japan
Ireland
Netherlands
Finland May 16, 2015
Denmark
France
Poland
United Kingdom
Europe May 17, 2015
Canada
United States

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations

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Sources

  • Bird, Ryan, ed. (January 2016). "Top 50 Releases of the Year". Rock Sound. London: Freeway Press Inc. (208). ISSN 1465-0185.
  • Garner, George (November 7, 2015). McMahon, James, ed. "On the Road". Kerrang!. London: Bauer Media Group (1593). ISSN 0262-6624.
  • Pettigrew, Jason (December 2015). "10 Essential Records of 2015". Alternative Press. Cleveland: Alternative Press Magazine, Inc. (330). ISSN 1065-1667.
  • Travers, Paul (June 27, 2015). McMahon, James, ed. "Twenty One Pilots: The World at Their Feet". Kerrang!. London: Bauer Media Group (1574). ISSN 0262-6624.

External links[edit]