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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Linkin Park -- Hybrid Theory

 photo 220px-Linkin_park_hybrid_theory_zps67f4d0f4.jpg

I've heard it all before. Nu-metal is garbage. Rap-metal is worse. Worst fad to hit the late-90's, early 00's. Unintelligent, jock music. Yeah, whatever. Most music is part of some fad or other. The genre doesn't matter, and the movement doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is this: either the music's good, or it isn't. Haven't heard much from Hoobastank lately. I think Trapt are floating around somewhere. Limp Bizkit or however you spell them is reviled by every human on the planet, including Limp Bizkit, and even by most dogs (though, on the other hand, most dawgs still enjoy them). Those bands might have made a few catchy singles (even I can admit that Limp Bizkit's "Rearranged" doesn't make me want to bludgeon myself), but on the whole, those bands didn't make enough good music to fit on a best of  CD if they teamed up together. Linkin Park is still kicking and they don't really care about genre. They've been making whatever music they want to make, and it's been more diverse than any of their early critics could have imagined. I don't get why you would be an early critic of Linkin Park anyway, because their first album, Hybrid Theory, is near perfect.
I've heard it all before about Linkin Park, too. A studio construction. Not a serious band. They're called "Linkin Park." Whatever. Linkin Park's debut CD, Hybrid Theory, is awesome. Some of their other albums are, too, but I'll get to them later. Yes, it's rap-rock, or nu-metal, or whatever genre you want to tag it. None of that stuff matters in light of the fact that Hybrid Theory, as previously stated just sentences ago, is awesome. Maybe a lawyer recommended vocalist, Chester Bennington, to a late 90's singer-less, not yet-named Linkin Park, but Bennington fits this band like something that fits really well. The attentive, studious listener can tell just how hard he and the rest of the band worked, not only to fine-tune their craft, but to perfect their song-writing. Bennington's intense singing effortlessly bounces off Mike Shinoda's rapping, which in turn effortlessly bounces off Bennington's singing. This kind of chemistry is rare, but it also wouldn't be this good if Linkin Park hadn't put so much work into their craft. A lazy, stupid band could never have come up with the shocking amount of hit singles on Hybrid Theory, which is, at its core, a hard rock album, and the greatest-selling album of the century--27 million and counting. That number is mind-blowing. And like most of the miniscule amount of bands that came out of that scene and time intact, and that are still selling out whatever room they want to play in, Linkin Park's DJ, Joseph Hahn, is talented enough to create enveloping soundscapes that beat out the work of electronic artists who ONLY do that. Check out, "Cure for the Itch," where the band let Hahn take center-stage, and actually, the whole stage, by himself for almost three minutes. That guy is talented. Also, not many people can say they worked with the Dust Brothers, but apparently that duo was impressed enough to lend their talents to a track here (the deliciously atmospheric, but still slamming "With You"), and they're the Dust Brothers. Check out Hahn's work on deep-cut, "Runaway," which helps your imagination do just that with the aura Hahn creates in its first ten seconds. Still not convinced? FLYING WHALES!!!

While that video might be dated, no reasonable, non-belligerent person can say the song isn't well-constructed and catchy, and that the aural world created by it isn't one worth hanging out in. This isn't bad music because it is rap-rock any more than the previous sentence is bad because it ends with a preposition. The previous sentence is bad because it is a run-on, and this CD is good because the people who wrote and recorded it were doing their best at something they were the best at. I hope these next five reviews do well to highlight the fact that Linkin Park are not a fad-genre band, but a bunch of talented, intelligent, experimental dudes. Their muse doesn't always lead them in the right direction, but unlike their former peers, they actually have one worth following.

2000 Warner Bros.
1. Papercut 3:04
2. One Step Closer 2:35
3. With You 3:23
4. Points of Authority 3:20
5. Crawling 3:29
6. Runaway 3:03
7. By Myself 3:09
8. In the End 3:36
9. A Place for My Head 3:04
10. Forgotten 3:14 11. Cure for the Itch 2:37
12. Pushing Me Away 3:11

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