What first drew me to twenty one pilots when Vessel came out was they had a pop sound which was ultra-unique. They were not cookie cutter, yet they were infectious. Tyler was so clear about his intentionality of not fitting in with the sound of the radio. Despite their recent success and enormous radio attention, twenty one pilots still makes their own path for the most part. Sylvan Esso, another duo, seem to be taking a similar approach on What Now (which may contain explicit lyrics).
I admit, the record is not as good as I had hoped. “Kick Jump Twist” is jarring and discombobulated. “Just Dancing” has weak melodies. And even some songs I like—like “Die Young” and “Radio”—could pack more punch. But there are also some special tracks on here like “Song” which is nostalgic and familiar, “Signal” which is prospective and aware, and “The Glow” which is one of the best songs released this year so far.
Sylvan Esso is a lovely duo. They create the type of music I wish was on the radio. But then people would just copy it and make it cliché. And that’s how the cycle goes. So I don’t necessarily wish immense fame on Sylvan Esso or bands like them, instead I hope that listeners who seek good music find them.
Favorite Songs: The Glow, Song, Signal, Slack Jaw, Rewind
Top 10 Potential: No
Album Cover: 7/10