I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing a Top Ten for this band sooner; for fourteen years, rock band Linkin Park has grown, tweaked, and overall transformed their music to the point where you can hardly recognize who they are now as compared to Hybrid Theory, their debut album.
Which is terrific; the bands that stay the same are the ones who lose credibility and popularity. We all grow up and change constantly throughout our lives, and musicians are no exception. So why shouldn’t their music change as well? Artists who refuse to stray from what skyrocketed them to fame, or what they’ve known all of their life, what they are comfortable with, and what they believe everyone wants to see them produce, are really dishonoring the great art of music; if you’ve done something once, and exhausted all of the possibilities that you particular style has to offer, then change it up. Especially if your beginning efforts were successful commercially; now you don’t have financial factors holding you back, so why worry about what the masses desire? A musician’s loyal fans, In most cases, will still follow and appreciate whatever they produce. And these are the ones that are really important anyways.
Linkin Park followed this to a T, and although I’m not overly thrilled with their latest efforts (I’m usually only fond of one or two songs on them, whereas I can all but listen to their first three albums all the way through), I can’t help but respect the fact that they branched out from the commercially successful yet redundant and clichéd style of their first two albums, and became increasingly less angry and more heartfelt with each album. The instrumentals shifted greatly as well; they have always had electronic roots, but they’ve expounded upon them immensely from the beginning. And, as I’ve mentioned, while it may be true that I don’t enjoy their new material as much, the newer songs that I do like eclipse nearly every early-era song. It’s definitely the perfect example of “Quality over quantity”. Quantity early. Quality later.
[new page = “Lost In the Echo”] 10. “Lost In the Echo” Album: Living Things
Dark and resonating, the hands-down best track of the album comes off as sort of a challenge, emanating a few messages: Let go of the negative things in one’s past, stand strong through tough times in the present, and don’t be afraid to pursue that which you desire in the future.
[new page = “Papercut”] 9. “Papercut” Album: Hybrid Theory
A powerful and rebellious intro gives way to a fast-paced and provoking-like track. A near-flawless beginning Linkin Park’s career.
[new page = “In the End”] 8. “In the End” Album: Hybrid Theory
The rare track that differs greatly from the rest of the album, “In the End” harbors a twinge of sadness amongst it’s angry chords, and that’s what propels it above most of it’s album-mates to this Top Ten list. These twinges are most definitely a foreshadowing of great things to come.
[new page = “Faint”] 7. “Faint” Album: Meteora
“Faint” is a high-energy and high-volume masterpiece. Mike Shinoda’s assiduous raps fit right in with the desperate and somewhat chaotic environment created here.
[new page =“Points of Authority”] 6. “Points of Authority” Album: Meteora
Shinoda opens with possibly the best rap verse he’s ever concocted in this one, and Chester Bennington follows it up with a resilient chorus, both of which center on standing up and telling off those in your life who are holding you back. Chester’s flip flopping between soothing and coarse vocals also disclose that Linkin Park is on to something monumental.
[new page = “Leave Out All the Rest”] 5. “Leave Out All the Rest” Album: Minutes to Midnight
This track has a very mysterious and lofty air about it, and thus emits perplexing and somber-driven rhythms that deal with the reflection of one’s time spent, and the plea to remember one at their best, forgetting everything else. It is the first song that marks a transformation within the band’s music, a deviance from their first two albums, as they embark to the unknown in search of new sounds that will test their limits and boundaries.
[new page = “Valentines Day”] 4. “Valentines Day” Album: Minutes to Midnight
A couple of thoughts come to mind during this song: “End of one’s rope”, “frustration to the point of dejected acceptance”. The theme shift near the end of the song is a utterly brilliant, as we are taken from a slow and methodical rhythm to a pain-filled and free-falling onslaught. The first of four works of genius that embodied Linkin Park from there forth.
[new page = “The Messanger”] 3. “The Messanger” Album: A Thousand Suns This track is an exquisite blend of acoustic screaming that few others would have thought of. Truly a work of genius. So much is communicated (hence the title perhaps?) in the compacted sub-3 minute song, and it only adds to it’s brilliance; so much using so little.
[new page = “Iridescent”] 2. “Iridescent” Album: A Thousand Suns
The third installment of the Transformers series was worth watching simply because of the inclusion of this song. The band also shows off some vocabulary here in regards to the title. I’d like to think of this song as sort of a purging, dealing with throwing away everything that is obsolete or hindering you in your life, in the hopes of starting anew. The gentle to hastened pace is a nice enhancer as well.
[new page = “Shadow of the Day”] 1. “Shadow of the Day” Album: A Thousand Suns
While it is obvious that no song is more deserving of this placement (or it wouldn’t be placed here) the implications of this song go so far beyond that. It contains some of the simplest Linkin Park lyrics you’ll ever hear, yet some of the most impactful content. When I hear this, I think about accepting one’s fate, recognizing what you can’t control, and making peace with it. “Shadow of the Day” stirs powerful emotions within me every time, and always directs me to a place of pondering and thought-provocation.