It takes no less than 20 seconds into “Good Day” to realize Twenty One Pilots’ sixth venture, Scaled and Icy, isn’t going to be like anything before it. Given the duo’s track record, no one should be expecting carbon copies of the overwhelming catharsis from the self-titled album’s “Addict with a Pen,” the reggae from Trench’s “Nico and the Niners” or anything in between.
But this one is especially different. It’s mostly upbeat and jubilant (emphasis on mostly).
If you’ve been on this journey with Twenty One Pilots, whether it’s been for a decade or just a few months, you know how incredible that is. You watched frontman Tyler Joseph basically tear himself to bits with the band’s debut, and you watched drummer Josh Dun provide the backbeat needed to make his words sting a little harder from Regional at Best on.
This band has spanned the entire spectrum of emotion throughout its discography, and finally, it has reached the point of unadulterated joy.
In a lot of ways, Scaled and Icy doesn’t feel like the same band — besides the glut of passion still making its way through and the handful of anomalies that simultaneously feel like they belong (i.e., “The Outside,” “Bounce Man”). Twenty One Pilots is happier now. All we can do now is be happy with the boys.
Here are the best three tracks from Scaled and Icy:
Joseph told us way back when on fan favorite “Migraine” that Sundays are his “suicide days” — but he’s finally found something to look forward to during his weekends. There’s a funky guitar and a little bit of added flavor in his falsetto, which backs his flash forward to his upcoming week. While the beginning of his week looks grim, mostly due to not being able to do much while secluded in his house because of the ongoing pandemic, he’s going all out Saturday.
In the bridge, it cuts to a call with Joseph’s wife, Jenna, where she pushes him to keep working on his music if he feels his creative juices flowing. Yes, Twenty One Pilots may be notorious for putting contentment-inducing music behind dark lyrics, but “Saturday” has an extra sense of newfound glee with it. As long as he can make it to Saturday, he knows he’ll be OK.
2. “Good Day”
Metaphorically, Joseph has lost everything. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, he revealed this song comes from the idea of imagining his initial reactions to losing the most important people in his life: Jenna and his kid, Rosie. Somehow, he knows he’ll be alright.
The track opens with an exultant piano riff and a head voice for the ages. Though everything important in his life has seemingly gone away, he is still finding positives in the day. Upbeat brass joins in the mix during the bridge, where he confirms yet again that he’s doing fine and the day is a good one. It’s such a contrast sonically from Twenty One Pilots’ usual melancholic openers, but this one is still enough to make a grown man cry.
This track seems to be about Trench’s fictional character, Clancy, referencing how he left “The City,” the closing track of that album. The instrumentation here is especially reflective and brooding, even for Twenty One Pilots. Though he has escaped Dema, the fictional city from Trench, he worries how it will change without him there — if at all.
Joseph’s flow is unbelievably smooth behind vibe-y, soft beats of electricity. The mood explodes into exhilaration a bit in the last rendition of the chorus, building up a wall of frustration of not knowing what to do or what the future holds, but it fades to a simmer. Though no Twenty One Pilots song is comparable in the slightest to another, “Redecorate” is especially extraordinary, and it’s the best on Scaled and Icy.