Twenty One Pilots ‘Clancy’: A Thoughtful Telling of Anxieties

After a decade, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, the Heathens behind Twenty One Pilots, are revisiting their lore one last time on Clancy, their tenth album. 

Fans were first introduced to the lore with the band’s 2015 multi-platinum breakthrough album, BLURRYFACE. With each succeeding release, fans discovered new characters and new places within and around the fictional city of Dema. This album focuses on the character of Clancy, who is played by Joseph.

The thirteen-track project opens with “Overcompensate.” The song stays true to their electro-pop, indie-punk sound and comes complete with a reintroduction to the Trenches spoken by three unidentified voices in German, French and Spanish. “Overcompensate” recalls the lore behind the duo’s previous work,  and serves as an amalgamation of anxieties surrounding time. 

Their familiar sound continues throughout the entire album, but the fourth track “Midwest Indigo” presents more electronic instrumentals to listeners than previously. The song is a nod to Joseph and Dun’s connection to Ohio, the place where they met as children and have lived ever since. Those Midwestern roots have greatly influenced their music both past and present in sound and lyrics. “Midwest Indigo” reflects back on Joseph’s winter break in college. Perhaps this personal connection is an ode to their midwestern upbringing, but it’s clear the group not only understands good music but also people.

Track seven takes a more melancholic turn, titled “The Craving (Jenna’s Version).” The song tackles anxieties surrounding not doing enough to show your love in a relationship. The chorus wonders, “Say enough, say enough/Did I let her know, let her know?/If I found my body in chains/I’d lay down and wait.”

The tenth track “Snap Back” moves back towards their indie-punk sound, focusing heavily on monotone lyrics, synthesizer and drums. Through very vulnerable and thoughtful lyrics, the song discusses feelings of detachment and regression. This remains one of the standout songs on the entire album. 

Paladin Strait,” the thirteenth and final track, is a soft ukulele ballad that brings this decade-long narrative to a close. Referencing the band’s lore once again, the Paladin Strait is the name of a fictional body of water that connects the island of Voldsoy and Trench. The chorus repeats with yearning and promise, “I would swim the Paladin Strait/Without any floatation/Just a glimpse of visual aid/With you on the other shoreline.

With every release, the band has always included the fans. The release of Clancy was no different. In addition to four intimate performances prior to the album, the alt-rock duo celebrated the eagerly anticipated album’s release with a hometown show in Columbus, OH with a free ‘Fan Premier Exhibit’ at the Ohio State Bookstore, as well as pop-up shops in London, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The duo also live-streamed a music video for each song on the project. 

The duo also surprised fans with the limited release of “Clancy – Digital Remain,” which they described as a “exclusive 121-page booklet [that] offers an intimate look at the artistry and vision of the band, featuring never-before-seen alternate artwork, handwritten lyrics, rare photographs, and personal artifacts from the album’s creation.”

Twenty One Pilots’ tenth album Clancy is a phenomenal blend of the familiar lore and sounds that fans love, while still introducing lyrical patterns bound to move fans — both to dance and to cry. 

Twenty One Pilots will embark on “The Clancy World Tour” beginning August 15 in Denver, CO. Purchase your tickets here.

Featured Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn