And In The End…
Imagine a crowd of 100,000 music freaks, singing along with you, when every note and every line echoes through the sky. When the place is filled with anger, agony, joy, mystery, hope and all the emotions and when, with every song, you feel that your life is complete. Well, that summarises what Linkin Park is all about.
Roll the reel back to 1996. Three high school friends Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson and Rob Bourdon took their interests in music seriously and recruited Joe Hahn, Dave Farrell and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band Xero. Wait, what? Isn’t this article supposed to be about Linkin Park? Well, what you might not have known is that the “birth name” of Linkin Park is Xero.
These six music enthusiasts started recording songs regardless of the limited resources they had (they recorded in a small home studio). Little did they know then that it would fail. Eventually, the lead singer, Mark Wakefield left the band in search of a punk rock band. (I feel that this is the best thing that ever happened to Linkin Park). Not giving up on their dream, the rest of them set out in search for a new lead singer. In no time, they found their silver lining as the band gained traction on their path down the road to fame. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s Chester Bennington. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Starting with Hybrid Theory in 2000, LP has done pretty good. The first two albums HT and Meteora were perfect kick-starts for the band. They were so good that even today, they are revered as the two of the greatest albums in the history of Alternative Rock. In fact, Hybrid Theory is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Almost half a decade after Meteora hit the stores came Minutes to Midnight. People had no clue on how to react to this. For the band, this album marks the beginning of deviation from their signature nu metal. The band continued to explore wider genres and varied range of styles in A Thousand Suns. These albums drew a lot of criticism. The fans started hating them. But there were a few hardcore fans (like myself) who understood what they were trying to do. They were experimenting, trying to perfect different styles. While most of the bands that started at almost the same time as Linkin Park did faded out, they managed to survive through what I like to call the Great Transition in music industry, the birth of EDM. Where is Korn? Where is SOAD? All these nu metal bands have disappeared into thin air because they couldn’t transform through time.
All my life, I grew up listening to Linkin Park and at no point did I feel “Grrh, I can’t take this anymore”. They have never failed to impress me. I remember the day when Living Things hit the store; in fact, quite distinctly. At first, I was a little apprehensive about the success of the album, but as I kept listening to the songs again and again, I started adoring them (as is the case with most of their songs, because they are too deep in meaning to be appreciated after a single listen).
What is so special about them?
After listening to a good deal of their music, I can strongly say that it is the lyrics that made them stand out among similar bands. Mike and Brad have the song-writing chemistry that bloomed into some amazingly written songs. The songs “In the End”, “Iridescent”, “Numb”, “Burn It Down”, “Breaking the Habit”, “New Divide”, and many more are profound and show a great depth of thought. They have this artistic literary skill that can make you relate to any song they write. You can feel anger in “Wretches and Kings”, sadness in “Iridescent”, mystery in “Lost in the Echo” and “New Divide”, agony in “Numb” and “Breaking the Habit”, and hope in “Not Alone”. From angst, depression and personal emotions to terrorism, climate and more political themes, they explored every aspect of life. The perfect blend of lyrics, bass, synthesisers, strings and, of course, vocals makes you want to lose yourself in the world of music and invokes a thought about the real sense of life. I cannot imagine my life without Linkin Park. They motivated me when I was down, consoled me when I was depressed and had my back in the face of emotional adversity.
“They tried so hard and got so far, and in the end it did really matter”