Yes, I’ll come out and admit in public that I am a Linkin Park fan.
I have been since 9th grade when someone on the bus turned me onto their first album (Hybrid Theory). It was different from anything I’d heard before and I was eager to snap up Meteora when it came out in 2003. I also enjoyed, for various reasons, Reanimation (2002). It was the kind of teen-angsty-rappy music that suited the person I was in those years. When I went to college and got my iPod, they were among the first CDs that went onto iTunes. I won’t be ashamed of that.
I waited for another two years for their next CD and bought it the day it came out, happy as anything. And then I listened to it. Then I blinked, made sure that I’d actually downloaded the right CD. When I was sure of it, I listened to it again. This was *not* the Linkin Park that had helped to define my teenage years. It wasn’t even music that I particularly enjoyed (having branched out, by then, to all sorts of other teen angsty bands – yes, I won’t deny that my musical taste is very questionable). But there was still *something*, even as I hit 20 and was a bit less of a teen-angst-mobile that I really enjoyed about the early Linkin Park and is why 3 of my top 5 most played songs on iTunes are by them. But I *hated* Minutes to Midnight, and I’ve not played it more than 30 times since buying it in 2007.
Thus, I was skeptical about their new album.
I had already heard their first single from the CD, “The Catalyst”, and that sounded more like what I was used to. Obviously, 7 years had passed since Meteora, so one could hardly expect them to retain the entirety of their original sound. It made me more optimistic about the CD. Against my gut, I decided to buy the thing when it came out. I held my breath as I started to listen to it.
It’s…different. It still doesn’t sound much like my original Linkin Park CDs. But unlike Minutes to Midnight, I can tell that it’s actually Linkin Park. There’s more rapping in it than there was in Minutes to Midnight, and less soppy angst. But there’s more electronic music than in their early albums, and there are also several short tracks that are just samples of speeches, which do add something but the number of tracks isn’t to be confused with the number of songs. It comes off as trying to be a political album of sorts, but in that it fails. I can see where it tries, but given that I’ve got a couple of much more political bands on iTunes (Rise Against, VNV Nation), it falls flat. It does have a cohesive feel to the length of it, alternating slower songs with choppier, rap-like ones.
Do I like this new direction that Linkin Park is taking? Dunno.
Will I buy their next CD (whenever the hell that is)? Probably.
Do I still wish they still were making songs like “In the End” and “Breaking the Habit”? Absolutely.
Sigh. Life goes on, I suppose.