I was asked if Metallica and Linkin Park had new releases and were touring around the same year, which caused them to have concerts on the same day which band would I chose.
The reality is I am surrounded by so many venues and both bands always play multiple days in a given arena, that this conflict would never really be an issue. The question would be which one would I want to see first? And that is a damned good question.
Ask anyone who knows me about my favorite band and all will unequivocally tell you Metallica. It’s hard to even write their name without wanting to scream it out loud, immediately follow by an expletive, at least one. My love for Metallica has been unflinching since the first chords of “Master of Puppets” entered my pysche. No, I was not there from the very beginning of their career, but I have been a loyal acolyte to the altar of James, Lars, Kirk and Robert (with nods to Jason, Dave, Ron and a RIP to Cliff, of course). However, those who know me really well know I also have a thisclose second musical love and that is Linkin Park.
My adoration for Joe, Dave, Brad, Mike, Rob and Chester runs deep. They remain the only other band, besides Metallica, whose music I will preorder notes unheard simply on the faith of who they are.
When this began…
It was 3am and I was in the midst of a three day insomnia run. I had given up the ghost of pretending I was going to sleep and turned on the TV. I was flipping through channels when I came across MTV’s Insomniac Theater, or something like that. One would think with a title as such it would be something sedate right? But this is MTV, it was playing rock, hard rock, thrash rock, loud rock and I hit the channel just as one video was fading out and what faded in was the sound of water draining. Huh? My head popped up, and some of you LP fans reading this may have already known from that small descriptor the song was Crawling.
I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence)
(I’m convinced that there’s)
(Just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before so insecure
These lyrics described exactly how I was feeling about myself in the world at that time. It was a whole new thing for me, a place where I can find, or is that lose?, myself in.
The song hit hard and unapologetic. Chester Bennington, lead vocalist for Linkin Park, was unforgiving as he growled his way into my id, fucking trashed it like a drugged out rocker’s hotel room and by God I wanted more! When the video ended I immediately turned off the television hyperventilating, not knowing what the fuck hit me, but I remember I finally fell asleep and felt so much better upon waking. I could barely contain myself after work long enough to get to the record store, buy the CD, get home and blast it. The CD? Hybrid Theory. And thus a new love was borne.
Hybrid Theory stayed in my portable CD player for at least, at least, two solid months. I mean I am pretty sure I listened to nothing else, but Lincoln Park for a solid two months. Even now when I hear certain songs from that album, my mind automatically starts playing the opening notes of the next track in album order. Play One Step Closer and my mind segues into With You; A Cure For The Itch will fade into Pushing Me Away. If you have the extended version which I did, you also got to hear My December and that remains in my mental rotation as well.
As happily stunned as I was by Hybrid Theory, the group’s next release Meteora simply floored me. You know how for many bands the sophomore release can be meh? Well, Linkin Park clearly did not get that memo. Musically, it follows a similar vein as Hybrid Theory, but lyrically it hits the emotions harder.
Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you
Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored!
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long
(Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)
I’ve quoted lyrics from Numb, Faint, and Somewhere I Belong respectively here, but really the entire album simply works for me. There is a reason it remains their highest grossing studio release. Chester’s voice combined with Mike Shinoda’s rap, and Joe Hahn’s sampling/mixing was a heady combination. If The Devil Went Down To Georgia were rock/rap based, Meteora would have been the din that did Mephistopheles in. And they didn’t stop there…
Their next album, Minutes to Midnight was released ten years ago – yet…
Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
Both scared and angry like “What did he say?”
Now, replace “nightly news” with “Twitter tweets”. Sounds familiar? It’s their third album in and they are still speaking what’s inside my head, then and now.
A Thousand Suns
God save us everyone,
Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns?
For the sins of our hands,
The sins of our tongues,
The sins of our fathers,
The sins of our young.
No, you can tell ’em all now
I don’t back up, I don’t back down
I don’t fold up, and I don’t bow
I don’t roll over, don’t know how
The Hunting Party
You’re guilty all the same
Too sick to be ashamed
You want to point your finger
But there’s no one else to blame
The Hunting Party marks something of a departure for LP in that it is their first album to bring in guest appearances with other artists to collaborate.
Now include their one off singles like New Divide (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Movie Soundtrack) and the hits keep coming. Another standout for me was Chester’s cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep that he performed live during a concert. In the clear opposite of the style that is the earmark of his general singing with Linkin Park, here it is stripped down and one of the times you get to hear him just sing. It is an almost acapella cover that showcases the strength and beauty of the man’s voice. There is a reason he did a short tour on lead vocals with Stone Temple Pilots – the man can sing.
Now, I am eagerly awaiting their seventh studio release – One More Light set to be released May 19th. In the interim I am enjoying the first single released, Heavy, featuring Kiiara. Heavy marks another first for Linkin Park with this song being the first studio release for them with a female vocalist. It’s a little pop-ish to me, but I like it. And there is the recently released Battle Symphony, lyrically more along the Linkin Park I know and love.
For all the brouhaha of the negatives some speak of rock and rap music, one would think that a band who has successfully, and consistently, done both well would be a monster. And yes they are, believe you me, but they are my kind of monster. These savage beasts sooth this beauty. I continue to listen to them, especially when seeking a way to ease my anger, or when I feel the stress about to overwhelm. All I have to do is put in my earbuds, or if home turn up the volume, and let myself drown in their music. To quote One Republic here – everything that drowns me, makes me want to fly. When I need to immerse myself in their music, they are my CPR and I am always resurrected in a better mood.
Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers
Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 15
A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.