If you’ve been following Twenty One Pilots for a while now, you’re probably aware that there’s been a complex storyline running through their albums. The band have never truly confirmed fan theories but they do egg them on, offering up hints and clues that make this storyline almost undeniable.
Yesterday, they dropped Shy Away from their forthcoming album Scaled And Icy. It’s a slick, ‘80s-tinged tune that signals a lighter sound for the duo. Naturally, the theories are already flowing in thick and fast.
If you need a brief on the theories so far, head here for a full rundown. If you’re looking for a TL;DR, the storyline has centered around DEMA - a tower of silence ruled by nine bishops which seems to metaphorically represent negative thinking and self-doubt. The protagonist Clancy (speculated to be Josh) is attempting to escape DEMA, helped by an outside group the Banditos but he continues to be pulled back by facility controller Nico and the nine bishops.
By the end of Trench, it was unclear whether Clancy had managed to completely escape DEMA or whether he was still being brainwashed. On first look, everything looks rosy in Shy Away. Or is it… Here is what the fans think is going on this time around.
This New Album Is DEMA Propaganda
It seems to be commonly agreed that Scaled And Icy is DEMA propaganda. In the video for their Christmas single Christmas Saves The Year, there’s a part showing the phrase “SAI is propaganda.” Fans now understand that SAI is the abbreviation for Scaled And Icy which seems to be a very obvious statement that this album is propaganda is someway.
It seems that DEMA has brainwashed the boys into making music that’s lighter and more widely appealing as a way of spreading DEMA’s religion vialism. Fans seem to think that the duo look as if they’re being controlled in the video by an outside force:
Scaled And Icy Is An Anagram for 'Clancy Is Dead'
Scaled And Icy is an anagram for ‘Clancy Is Dead’. Clancy, as mentioned, is the protagonist attempting to escape DEMA. Last year, fans who won the Level Of Concern Augmented Reality game were sent USBs with videos on them. The 21st USB contained a video of Tyler congratulating the recipient and in the back a screen read ‘Clancy Is Dead’. So is Clancy actually dead? Well, this is where there’s some contention amongst fans. One theory is that DEMA are trying to convince you Clancy is dead as a way of warning others not to to escape. Another is that the toll of Clancy trying to escape has shutdown his emotions causing him to become “icy”. That’s why in the video he sometimes looks vacant. His lack of emotion has allowed DEMA to numb his emotions and force him to make whatever he wants.
Tyler Is Wearing Blue
According to Reddit, Tyler never wears blue. We know that yellow is the colour of the Banditos because it’s one that DEMA allegedly can’t see. In a promotional image, Josh is in yellow but Tyler in blue has people scratching heads. Fans think that it’s a sign that he was finally defeated by the bishops.
Tyler’s Jacket In The Shy Away Video Is Similar To DEMA Jackets
Further proof that Tyler (Clancy) is being controlled by DEMA is that his jacket in the video is similar to the ones DEMA were wearing in the Nico And The Niners video. This could mean that he’s now being used as a propaganda actor.
The TOP Logo Is Absent
The regular Twenty One Pilots logos seem to be missing in promotional imagery for the new album. The popular theory for this is that it’s not truly a TOP release because DEMA is behind it. The logo has been replaced with a Sai pitchfork - a Japanese weapon which is, of course, also the abbreviation of the new album.
Maybe You Can Escape DEMA With Your Imagination
Here’s a slightly different take that may prove it’s not all over for Clancy. The main tagline for the album is, “There is always an escape.” That’s where Ned comes in. Ned is a character that was first introduced in the Chlorine video and seems to be a symbol of creativity. Fans are speculating that the dragon that features on the cover of the album is Ned.
In an interview with Radio 1, Tyler showed a small dragon figurine from his room and said, “my theory is that if I can get to a place where I’m looking at him, and I’m creating something, and all of a sudden he can grow and fly around the room, then where I am, I can be transported into a completely different place.”
The only way out of DEMA could be to use your imagination to take you to a different place.
This is all only scratching the surface but there’s plenty more to come. We’ll update you on the theories and unfolding storyline as the release continues. Scaled And Icy is due to arrive 21st May with a huge livestream event taking place on 22nd May.