100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #67: “Jumpsuit” by twenty øne piløts

The song at #67 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Jumpsuit” by my current favorite band twenty øne piløts, and is one of six songs by them on this list. For those who somehow are not familiar with them, they’re a couple of hyper-talented guys from Columbus, Ohio, consisting of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, who make brilliant alternative electronic rock & hip hop. Released in July 2018, “Jumpsuit” was the lead single from their fifth studio album Trench. Like their previous album BlurryfaceTrench is a concept album that explores similar themes of mental health, suicide, and self-doubt. The album was co-written and produced by MUTEMATH front man Paul Meany.

Specifically, Trench tells the saga of the fictional evil city of Dema and surrounding valley known as Trench ruled by nine bishops, referred to as “Nico and the Niners”, as described in the similarly-titled track from the album. The bishops impose the religious cult of Vialism upon their citizens, and they do everything in their power to prevent them from leaving the walled city. Because they are unable to see the color yellow, the only way to escape is by wearing a yellow garment. Tyler Joseph’s alter ego is a character named Clancy, whose escape attempt is described in “Jumpsuit”.

The song is a metaphor for the struggle with mental illness, with the evil city of Dema representing mental illness, and the bishops representing the internal struggles of a person suffering from mental illness. Given its subject matter, “Jumpsuit” is one of their darker and more melodically complex songs. It opens with Joseph’s altered vocals shouting “cover me“, referring to his jumpsuit. As the song progresses, the music alternates between barrages of Joseph’s heavy bass guitar riffs and Josh Dun’s pounding drums, and soothing interludes of hushed vocals, lush synths and haunting piano. Joseph’s vocals gradually build to a goosebump-inducing crescendo towards the end as he desperately wails “Jumpsuit, jumpsuit cover me!

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