Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What is wrong with Linkin Park?

Linkin Park performing at Sonisphere Festival ...Image via Wikipedia
Remember those tracks which made you headbang even if you werent in the mood? Remember the rise of nu-metal? Remember those days when In the End was a top hit? Remember Papercut? Remember Numb?

Oh those were the days! A bunch of boys who experimented with rap and hip hop and metal and came up with an absolutely breathtaking combination of the three, which was unlike anything we had ever heard! It was clear to us all that we were going through something new. An uncharted territory where no one else had previously ventured. The realm of Nu Metal. A new genre in its own right.

Although one might argue about its origins, there absolutely no doubt that it was Linkin Park (and Limp Bizkit) who made the genre popular and acceptable. The lyrics were potent, the music strong and the effect was a heady dose of rap and metal.

In its formative years leading to release of their first album, Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park could be classified as a bunch of superb musicians who knew exactly what people wanted to listen to. When Hybrid Theory was released, it became an instant hit. It was certified platinum in 2003, quite an achievement conidering that it was the debut album. Their next album, Metero, took them to astronomical heights of popularity. MTV named Linkin Park as one of the greatest bands of the music video era. Things only got better for them. Tours were a success, concerts sold out and popularity rivalling any of the then popular acts.

What happened a few years later, 2006 onwards, is quite a mystery. Their sound changed, the lyrics stripped down, mellowed, the rapping reduced, overall it was clear that Linkin Park was no longer the same. Many say this led to their music becoming more mainstream. But frankly, thats a lame argument. Mainstream doesnt necessarily denote good music. Infact it does denote quite the opposite. Hardly anyone would call Justin Bieber or Kesha's music revolutionary.

The death knell, in my opinion, came after the release of their song Catalyst on yotube. It sounded so horribly wrong, so un-Linkin Park, so like every other album out there. The comments on the page reflected my concern perfectly well. Many (if not most) felt that Linkin Park was no longer THE group, THE band, THE musicians. Perhaps its not their fault at all. We all know about record companies and their business attitudes. Its no secret that all they care about is maximum number of hits (read mainstream success). Athough I will still remain a fan of the band, I will perhaps cherish what Linkin Park was rather than what it is.

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