A Story From Trench

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Gracie Knowles

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A Story From Trench

Twenty one pilots have made quite a name for themselves. From their insane shows to accepting a Grammy in their underwear, these two boys from Columbus, Ohio, are bigger than they ever could have dreamed. Their latest album, Trench is a whole new beast backed by an entire storyline connecting the songs, music videos, and even past albums, in a complicated web of cryptic messages and fan theories.  

The whole thing started when the band went on hiatus in 2016 after the release of their chart-topping album Blurryface. They posted a GIF of a closing eye to the band’s social media to signify the closing of an era. 

Exactly one year later, a similar eye popped up on the feeds of all their fans. This time though, it was opening. Soon after, the first two singles of their latest album Trench dropped, and the fan-base (nicknamed the Clique) went into a frenzy.  

Their latest album, Trench is a whole new beast backed by an entire storyline connecting the songs, music videos, and even past albums, in a complicated web of cryptic messages and fan theories.”

— Gracie Knowles

In the middle of all this madness, a Clique member found a URL hidden in an image on the official twenty one pilots website that took him to a cryptic page of journal entries. You can read them here.

After the link was spread around the fanbase, the band released the first two songs of Trench, accompanied with music videos. They were followed by their third song, and if watched in order, the videos make a sort of story that can be closely tied to the Clancy Journals. These songs are Jumpsuit,  Nico and the Niners, and Levitate. It is assumed that the red cloaked figure is the bishop Nico, Tyler Joseph (the lead singer) plays Clancy, and Josh Dun (the drummer) plays the leader of the Banditos.

This story line bleeds into every aspect of the “Trench Era.” The band members and the Clique often wear yellow to signify the color that protects them in Trench, even giving meaning to where it’s placed. In Josh’s look, he wears two yellow stripes crossing on his chest and intersecting over his heart. He also wears a bandana around his leg and right above his knee, over the tattoo he has of Tyler’s name. At the end of every performance, they blast yellow confetti, like the flower petals in the videos to cover their fans in safety. Tyler tweeted out the lyric “Sahlo Folina” from the song Bandito, explaining later in interviews that in Trench, it is a cry for help.

What is more interesting, still, is how the fans swarm this story with theories.  My favorite is the connection between Dema and Tyler’s brain. It makes sense to think of how each bishop is a different insecurity controlling his mind. Josh, who is often portrayed as a guiding figure in music videos, leads him through the treacherous yet beautiful path away from the darkness that is Tyler himself. There are many more theories like this, incorporating song lyrics, music videos from long before this Era, and any hints that the band gives out in interviews and shows.

One thing is for sure: loads of mystery still surrounds the band and their world, and facts are sometimes hard to decipher from all of the theories, but the Clique members are infatuated and along for the ride.

What is the best twenty one pilots era?

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