BLOG POST// whimper & bang: this is how linkin park saved my life

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I’m so sad. I was listening to the new Linkin Park songs and holy cow are they good. I wish the people around me knew how amazing Linkin Park are and the music they’re making is. I think it really is the sound of Heaven and angels in 2017.

I remember the first time I saw them on television: red hair, and the camerawork, and everyone was ASIAN and WHITE and BROWN and BLACK in some ways but in ways that were obviously ambiguous, and hip-hop, and I was 9 years old. Their anger, the melody, and rhythm, and thinking about my brother, and my family SHUT UP WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU!!! SHUT UP. I mean I feel like I have this actual cherished memory of the first time I ever heard Linkin Park, laying down in the dark in my momma’s room, but then again it could just be a feeling. It’s a strong one~

Months later, I’m listening to their first album Hybrid Theory in my room. Track 8 plays,
I turn it up from my room and go into the living room to tell my family1 to turn the t.v. down and listen to it playing from my room because I have just heard the most amazing song.

Do you know how fucking big “In The End” is as a song? What do you think it’s about??
It’s freaking street poetry.

The melodies. The piano. The hard hitting beat, Chester’s vocals on top of Mike’s, the sensuality of it all, every texture is supple and unique and driving the emotional momentum of the song forward, its structure works like clockwork but quite honestly doesn’t sound like any other song that’s ever been made. Still.

It’s why people still sing it regularly. It’s a fascinating phenomenon not totally different from Kirk Drift~ People think they sing a popular song and reference it and hear it regularly because it sucks, not because it’s amazing. I am forced to pretend as if Linkin Park isn’t my favorite band, the greatest band even.

Now, maybe Linkin Park aren’t my favorite band. But they were my first, favorite band. My other favorite bands are, in order, The Mars Volta (high school) then Kanye West. For a while I said Boards of Canada too, for a while it felt like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. With flashes of Beyoncé and fuck man like I don’t talk about ANYTHING as much as I talk about Drake. And fuck the new Gorillaz might have something to say about their legacy in my life, and of course Daft Punk. Hov. CUDI??* Björ-I just compared Linkin Park to all those artists. They are that good. And now I’m about to tell you how they’re ~magic:

Linkin Park Albums Ranked from Least Fav to Fav:

!Minutes to Midnight

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The fact that Linkin Park and I grew out of themselves at the same time
was unfortunate for our relationship. It feels like the rest of the mainstream
grew too, I think more people started making fun of them in 2006 it became “they’re still making music?” Minutes to Midnight was only their THIRD or FOURTH album, but they became that shitty early 2000s band that somehow landed the theme for a bunch of those Transformers movies that literally everyone you know saw.

I made fun of EVERYBODY I knew who still expressed liking Linkin Park, not unlike the self-hating homophobia I also regularly engaged in.

Living Things

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Feels like a relatively shitty transition(al) album with some bangers.

The Hunting Party

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I listened to The Hunting Party the other day and it’s still really fun. It’s a rock album but it is like the most lush hard rock album I’ve ever heard. They launch into hook after hook and it feels soft as a pillow though it’s guitar-heavy catharsis music.  From the opening track to that one I fucking LOVE to the joint with the person from System of a Down, and the beat under that Rakim verse WOOF. It’s a fucking sick album but:

Meteora

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A souped up Hybrid Theory is a good thing.

Tie:

Reanimation
A Thousand Suns
Hybrid Theory

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That Reanimation is as satisfying as its originator Hybrid Theory is a development a few million of us got to Witness in the early 2000s. I remember playing Super Monkey Ball to it, I rented it a bunch that summer. I think it was July 2002. That game is fun as fuck and you can just sink hours into it and spend those hours listening to the most climactic,
transforming video game music you’ve ever heard. Also, you’re playing the game and doing this alone because you’re smarter than the rest of your family although their love for (black) art, reading, and futuristic tech compliments your own ascendance.

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Hybrid Theory is music for lonely people, the lonely child who loves rock,
art, and thinking about the emotions they are feeling. This person is likely brilliant, or at least their intellect benefits from their noncomformity and they badly need a solution to the forces around trying to hurt their feelings. Sometimes this someone is a soldier in “Afghanistan” blasting “Papercut.”

It brings us all together, tho. Hybrid Theory is diamond-selling. You know what else is diamond-selling? Stankonia. Thriller. That’s Hybrid Theory and it was all mine, the first album I ever bought. My brother likes to gloat that he TOLD ME about them first or something which contributes to The Angst because he is my primary antagonist of Hybrid Theory-Meteora era LP until I realize that Linkin Park flooded our whole world through the power of music distribution deals anyway so who cares!!

I got to sing a song where the chorus is “I wanna runaway, never say good bye.”
Fifteen years later, I would do just that.

ats

I heard A Thousand Suns  described as Linkin Park’s Kid A. I listened to some
of it when I still “Hated” Linkin Park (roughly the release of Minutes to Midnight,
when I began high school) and I “Hated” it, (until the impending release of The Hunting Party, as I exited the school system and prepared to exit the job system). One day I was ready for ATS and I was in love with it, yelling it, listening to all of the LP albums, thinking about my destiny, giving it my world, all of my pain, and getting back from it dazzling love and inspiration.

It’s that good.

1 This entire essay consists of me grieving for my family.
*Radiohead
~We’ve normalized all of our quirks into society. Laughter, listening to music-
and that means we take them for granted. But there’s no reason WHY we laugh
and listen to and make and produce music, not that we know of, they come from
beyond us~ the universe of our origin. And we just build shrines to worship them,
they entertain us, they keep us alive.
! I want to say that I’m writing this because of One More Light, which just came out. I haven’t been this excited about a Linkin Park album since Meteora, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for an album as I was for Meteora.
I feel like it might end up being my fav Linkin Park album since Hybrid Theory.

Linkin Park branching their sound out into the pop of the moment has allowed them to make a beautiful anthem with a young queen, it’s emotional and now, and so so so good. They have never ever made a song like this, even though “Heavy” has all the elements of their sound. I want this, to swaddle my current musical output in the paint of the zeitgeist.

The current pop moment is the best musical moment of all time. Even though it feels predictable, it holds the songwriting keys of every form of music that has ever existed: thanks to Kanye West, Madonna, & MIA the entire avant-garde sphere is available to pop music. That’s why they, the 2017 pop songs, are built around the sound of a DIY laptop producer from a 5 to 10 years ago/a poor person on the street. They use global rhythms, drum machines [related to poor young solitary black & brown drum programmers making hip-hop 30-50 years ago as a form of conscious and subconscious resistance against the white empire destroying and extorting their life from them through crack guns lies and etc] & distorted slowed down degraded sounds and empty space. This kind of pop song sounds style-normal to you now because, like, Justin Bieber is doing it but I know it’s not “normal” because I created it.

When my first ten albums came out (2008-2011) using the sounds described to you were the music lovers of the new generation.

We had the internet, had a love for culture and communication that drove us into the message boards, into the expanses of information you could get from talking to humans, unfiltered, all day everyday. We transformed culture from there: with memes, Ableton, in-jokes, the sharing of music & film. Now that the whole world is Tumblr and Twitter, the lurkers of the message boards and chatrooms in the early 2000s are forgotten, just as we forgot our forerunners in the 90s and 80s. But all of us were there, with a global agenda to erase the barriers from total free information. And we’re going to take this world and  finish its transformation into a technological paradise. One More Light is a missive from our camp, we are together, coming, now.

With all the skill and knowledge I’ve displayed to you thus far, recognize my mind for music and craft- the people who created this sound with me are the most able of our species of all time when it comes to synthesizing the experiences and energies of life’s existence into the next, most gratifying and honorific version.

Something that I think “local artists” never get, and perhaps might be one of the things that separates them from a mainstream artist, is a sense of heightened scale. Something about “great artists” pushes their compositions to swell and throb in a heightened reality. Their spiritual frequency is just brighter, and “Invisible” is on the highest frequency. It’s an aggressive chillwave song, it sounds like 2000s Washed Out, but again, with absolute drama and conviction and purpose not a hypnotic aimlessness. It lives, it rules, it thrives, it dies. It lives again. It’s me, all of us, hurtling through time.

Music, I think, can be seen as a superpower given to us by the universe. It pushes our culture forward, it organizes us, it drives to singing and dancing together, to move our bodies, and it’s our only tool against Evil: money & borders. I think it, along with certain other creative forms outside of normal logical processing (aka art) is divine magic.

Think about this: Linkin Park write every album, they have to be writing from their own personal experience even though they’re obviously producing symbols for a global, pancultural audience. That means they are doing the most massive kind of transfiguration of matter possible, from their  own personal experience to this music and that then lives in the whole of human existence and consciousness changing our universe around as we decide what the fuck we’re going to do with the physical reality under our feet and inside our molecules. One More Light knows this could be the end of life, the greatest and most recent gift the universe ever gave. This is the culmination of the everything, the anthem of humanity. Our last rallying cry, and they know it. They, as lifeforms, know their position of influence as the music comes out. Who could possibly be more in tune with their actual, universe-given purpose than a musician? These musicians? They are our shapeople, our gods.

I told my family I was God and they didn’t understand.

But with power of Linkin Park, we’re going to save our lives.