Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Waiting For The End

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Linkin Park's latest album.

After the disaster that was their previous album, Minutes To Midnight, I dramatically lowered my expectations for the follow up and prepared for the worst. And I was still fucking disappointed.

You may be wondering why I even bought the new one. If you're wondering something else then stop it and focus on this please. Rude. I bought it because I'm a completist; I have all their other albums, I needed the latest one. Also, I was in a brilliant, independent, old-fashioned record shop, the sole purpose of which is to take my student loan away from me, by insisting on being just round the corner. I hate that beautiful place.

The tingle of pride I felt from this Fuck You to HMV was cut short, when I listened to A Thousand Suns and realised that a better use of my money would have been to leave it all in a ditch, or pay for the postage to send Linkin Park some angry drawings.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe, but not nearly as much as you'd think. When they started, Linkin Park were the angry, angsty soundtrack to the adolescence of a generation. Well, not for me; in 2000, when their debut album Hybrid Theory was released, my attitude was probably "If I can't catch it in a Pokéball, I don't care." Think more Koffing than Crawling. Oh fuck off, you will not find a better Linkin Park/Pokémon line. Incidentally, the only Linkin Park joke I could find is this: Rumours say Honest Abe went to a rap-rock concert. So people are now wondering "Where did Linkin Park?" I know, not bad!

You know what is bad though? A Thousand Suns by Linkin Park. And if you think I'm being whiney, you should hear the album. As I was saying before that weird Pokémon bit, they used to be one of the most exciting bands I had ever heard. I loved their seamless fusion of rap and metal and hip-hop, and their raw energy and anger. Reanimation, a remixed version of Hybrid Theory, remains one of my favourite albums of all time, and not just because of the amazing artwork:

But now, the band produce soft, watered-down, post-emo songs that sound like they are aimed at teenage girls. In his one-star review of the album in the New York Daily News, Jim Farber describes one track as something that "New Order might have considered, then rejected as too flaccid, in the '80s." He also makes a comparison to Justin Bieber. Mike Diver, in this BBC review, brilliantly observes that "A Thousand Suns is, at its zenith... Celine Dion Goes Mall Rock." It's true; some of these songs are so wet that it's as if they're dripping all over Jay-Z, with whom Linkin Park produced Collision Course, a mash-up of rock and hip-hop even greater than Aerosmith/Run-DMC's Walk This Way. Yeah I said it. The point is, Jay-Z would be spinning in his grave. I know he's not dead. Linkin Park's pushing of musical boundaries has been replaced by sheer dullness. While the Chester Bennington of Hybrid Theory screamed "Shut up when I'm talking to you!" in One Step Closer, the new version moans "When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind" in a painfully high pitch in The Messenger, a lyric which narrowly misses out on the Most Forced Rhyme Award. That goes to "I'm not a monkey, I will not dance even if the beat's funky" from When They Come For Me. You're Mike Shinoda for fuck's sake! You're Fort Minor!

So is it even worse than Minutes To Midnight? Yes. At least Minutes To Midnight was cohesive. The songs, while shit, did fit together. This is far more than can be said for A Thousand Rapes or whatever the fuck its called. Not only do the songs sound nothing like Linkin Park used to, they also sound nothing like each other. The band have tried to cover this up in two ways: 1. Describing the album as things like "surreal" or "experimental" to avoid having to make the album flow at all, and 2. Putting in interludes. There are five of these. All around a minute long. Mostly just noise. It's as annoying as it is pretentious. You are not Pink Floyd. You're not even Muse. Oh and by the way, there's a track called Jornada Del Muerto. CUNTS. Also, ironically, one called Waiting For The End.

Overall, 9/10. Not really. But I would like to reiterate that I still think Linkin Park's old stuff is some of the best music ever, and so I will leave you with this, one of my favourite Linkin Park songs, Wth>You (Chairman Hahn ft. Aceyalone):


  1. i can confirm from my pokedex that pokemon #342 is called 'crawdaunt' which im sure you agree fits better in the pun.