Blurred: It’s OK Not To Be OK

Twenty-One-Pilots-Blurryface

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I don’t think we are vulnerable enough. Being vulnerable is another type of courage. Perhaps we are too much in love with being invincible. A couple weeks ago, I took a look at the much talked about documentary, Montage Of Heck, which chronicled Kurt Cobain, the man and not the mythical figure that we may be familiar with. Albums like Nevermind and In Utero were basically the pulling off of the bandages of life’s old wounds that were persistent within Cobain as he grew up. That pain drew millions and millions of fans towards Nirvana. Kurt was human.

Fast forward to now – all you get is the finished product. The hot and attractive meal sitting at the end of the drive-through. In the social media-prevalent world, we often window dress to hide our insecurities. We feel the need to stack our collective Jenga pieces on top of one another just to get that false sense of security that…maybe we aren’t. Reality shows are rampant and some musicians go to great lengths to project their image of perfection. Photoshop, vocal effects – sometimes I want to take down that barrier and get that we are one in the same.

I first listened to Twenty One Pilots‘ sophomore album, Blurryface, all the way through and it hit me that it would take multiple listens to really dissect what I had. As many people have listened to the current number one album in the country, it’s a lot to take in. Blurryface jumps genres at a dizzying rate, almost in a multiple Jekyll and Hyde-like fashion. You weren’t expecting Vessel part two, right?

From the first track, “HeavyDirtySoul,” there’s a particular lyric that singer Tyler Joseph sang that struck a chord with me: “Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit.” In a big way, the whole concept of this album and the character “Blurryface” is not only the reflection of Joseph, but to me and you as well. We all have cuts, marks, scars, and bruises that we have to face and no amount of likes are going to change that. This album was a different type of uneasy to listen to, but a necessary one. You can contribute it to the sudden rash of fame that the band has received since Vessel catapulted them into the stratosphere, which included sold-out shows and spots on the biggest festivals in the world. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Within this album, there is an inner conflict that weaves with Joseph’s insecurities that often consume the confidence he has.

Sound familiar? You’ve probably felt that way once or twice.

Say what you want about Blurryface musically, but I think this stripping down to the very core is some of the bravest music I’ve heard in a while. It takes a lot of guts to present your skeleton out for the world to pick your bones clean. In “Polarize,” there’s almost a celebratory feel to having problems. If you look at the connection that Twenty One Pilots has with their fans, of course we are long gone from the grunge era, but there are parallels to that type of devotion.

We live in a society that still shames people for not being OK. You won’t get likes on your status (the horror!) and we fall prey to the competition game. Suicide is the third highest cause of death amongst 10 to 24-year-olds as per a CDC report. We all have our own version of “Blurryface”; our demons and trials. Maybe we should let them show every once in a while to break this false sense of perfection.

Twenty One Pilots made the first step. Let’s meet them half way. We all need to help each other to take “him” out.

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