Blurryface (stylized as
BLU RRYFΛ CE) is the fourth album released by the American duo Twenty One Pilots. It is the band's second studio album released through Fueled by Ramen. Originally set to be released on May 19, 2015, it was released two days early by the band on May 17, via iTunes. The album was preceded by its lead single, "Fairly Local", released on March 17, 2015. As of March 2016, the album has sold 792,000 copies in the United States. The album contains the Billboard Hot 100 top-five single "Stressed Out", which reached number two in February 2016.
All songs written by Tyler Joseph.
|2.||Stressed Out||Mike Elizondo||3:22|
|5.||Tear In My Heart||Reed||3:09|
|7.||The Judge||Mike Crossey||3:45|
|10.||We Don't Believe What's On TV||Reed||2:57|
|11.||Message Man||Tim Anderson||4:00|
|Japanese bonus tracks|
|15.||Guns for Hands||Greg Wells||4:33|
Background and recording
Following the release of their third album Vessel (2013), the band toured extensively in support of the album worldwide. While on tour the band had a portable recording studio that allowed them to lay down ideas.
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." 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."
Artwork and packaging
Art direction and design was done by Brandon Rike, Reel Bear Media and Virgilio Tzaj. Rob Gold was the art manager, while Josh Skubel was in charge of packaging production. Jabari Jacobs provided photography.
Brandon Rike was charged with artwork creation and branding for the band's second album. Coinciding with the release of the album, Rike shared the ideas and journey behind the artwork on Blurryface, as well as the new branding for the band.
On the creation of the new logo Rike writes:
The first step in rewarding the dedicated fan base was to sacrifice the established bars symbol for the simple symbol that fans often included in their social media profiles and comments. Instead of a solidified logo, I thought that we should give the fans their logo. A typed bar, a hyphen, and a slash. Introducing the new Twenty One Pilots symbol: |-/ . This way, the fans have the ability to create their favorite band’s logo correctly, and spread the word throughout their online lives. A simple ode to a dedicated fanbase.
On the cover artwork, Rike also details:
Tyler showed me nine dots, and his idea for making the nine dots resemble the bars logo. The idea, simple in nature, seemed to be iconic enough for the album cover. Add in the patterns, and the narrative behind them, and something began taking shape. Incorporating the Blurryface character as another “layer” both figuratively and literally, was perhaps my favorite finishing touch. I especially like the idea that you can “take him out.”
On March 17, 2015, the band announced the album's title, track listing and release date. The band's fans crashed their website attempting to pre-order the album. The band released their new single "Fairly Local" on the same day accompanied by its music video which premiered on official Fueled by Ramen YouTube channel.
On April 6, the band released the second single of the album, "Tear in My Heart", with an official music video released through YouTube. The third single, "Stressed Out", was released on April 28 with a music video. On May 4, 2015, the band posted a YouTube video streaming the audio of the album's 6th track, "Lane Boy", and released "Ride" seven days later through the same media; both were also singles, being released on the 4th and 12th, respectively. Between the 11th and the 14th the band toured the UK. The music video for "Ride" was released on May 14, directed by Reel Bear Media.
On May 19, 2015, the duo performed at the iHeartRadio Theater LA in Burbank, CA to celebrate the album's release. The concert was livestreamed on iHeartRadio's website. The band has shows and festival stops lasting from May 19 to December 14. On July 20, the music video for "Lane Boy" was released. The band is set to play the UK in November. The tour sold out in a matter of minutes.
The album is available on CD, digital download, a black two-vinyl set, a limited edition split-color (Black/Red) two disk vinyl set, and a limited-edition red cassette tape. A Hot Topic exclusive vinyl also exists, which is decorated to look like an ink-blot. As no two disks are exactly the same, these vinyls are extremely rare and are worth hundreds of dollars each. The Hot Topic exclusive Vinyls are not available from any official TOP stores, and are no longer sold by Hot Topic.
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". 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".
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.
The album was ranked at number 1 in Alternative Press' "10 Essential Records of 2015" list. Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press wrote that the band combined "hip-hop vistas, tinges of reggae, every man pop and furious electronic urgency and bellicose sadness into an impossibly cohesive record." The album was included at number 2 on Rock Sound's top 50 releases of 2015 list. Blurryface was nominated for Album Of The Year at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards. The album also won the category of "Top Rock Album" at the Billboard Music Awards.
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 U.S. 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. The following month, it was announced the album's U.S. sales was over 505,000 copies. By January 2016, the album had sold 592,000 copies in the U.S. Two months later, the album's U.S. sales had risen to 753,000 copies. By the end of March, the album's U.S. sales stood at 792,000. By mid-June, the album had sold 924,000 copies, and over 1 million by late July. The album has since been certified gold in Canada and platinum in the U.S.
Credits adapted from liner notes.
|Writers and producers||Tyler Joseph, Chris Woltman, Ricky Reed, Mike Elizondo, Mike Crossey and Tim Anderson|
|Recorded in||USA , UK|
|Instrumentation||Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun|
|Additional instrumentation||Ricky Reed (Bass), Mike Elizondo (Upright Bass, Bass, Keyboards, Synth Bass, Guitar, Hammond B3), Mike Crossey (Bass, Synths), Tim Anderson (Synths), Danny T. Levin (Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium) and David Moyer (Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Bariton Sax, Flute)|
|Lead Vocals||Tyler Joseph|
|Additional Vocals||Josh Dun, Ricky Reed, Mike Elizondo, Mike Crossey and Jonathan Gilmore.|
|Engineered by||Drew Kapner, Adam Hawkins, Joe Viers, Jonathan Gilmore and Chris Spilfogel.|
|Assisted by||Scott Skyrzynski, Michael Peterson, Brent Arrowood, Alex Gruszecki, Victor Luevanos and Seth Perez.|
|Art direction and design||Brandon Rike, Reel Bear Media and Virgilio Tzaj|
|Art management||Rob Gold|
|Packaging production||Josh Skubel|
|Mixed by||Neal Avron|
|Mastered by||Chris Gheringer at Sterling Sound, New York|
|Twenty One Pilots|
|About||Twenty One Pilots • Tyler Joseph • Josh Dun|
|Albums||Twenty One Pilots (album) • Regional at Best • Vessel • Blurryface|
|EPs||Three Songs (EP) • Migraine (EP) • Holding On To You (EP) • Quiet Is Violent (EP) • The LC LP • Double Sided|
|Singles||Holding On To You • Guns for Hands • House of Gold • Car Radio • Fairly Local • Tear In My Heart • Stressed Out • Lane Boy • Ride • Heathens • Heavydirtysoul|
|Tours||Mostly November Tour • Blurryface World Tour • Emotional Roadshow World Tour|