Every so often I make up a mix CD of my favorite songs at the moment; mostly new songs, but with some old songs sprinkled in for flavor. I thought it’d be a neat feature of this new blog to go through, song-by-song, and explain a little about why it appeals to me.
The fourth track on this album, “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park, doesn’t really flow from the track before. Singer-songwriter sensibilities smash up against nu metal–rap/rock rowdiness. But it’s a controlled chaos. Linkin Park’s music has always been conscientious, bordering on emo. I must admit, I was not a fan when their first album Hybrid Theory appeared. In fact, their first few singles really put me off. But the song “In the End” and its fantastic video made me a fan.
Now you could argue, and you’d be right, that Linkin Park’s music is formulaic: Chester Bennington sings the chorus and trades off with Mike Shinoda who raps the verses. But it’s a formula that works, and more often than not the songs have at least some qualities of originality.
Case in point: that’s pretty much the structure of every single from Linkin Park’s second album, Meteora. Perhaps it is this fear of routine that prompted the band to make endless remixes of its work; to date, each album has its own band-made remix version. Further, the band collaborated with Jay-Z to mix Meteora with the rapper’s The Black Album, the result of which is Collision Course. (I’m sure JW can back me up when I tell you that this is not new territory for Mr. Z.)
Also during all this time the band’s management did a fantastic job of marketing. To date, there are three performance DVDs and several making-of videos. The band took advantage of this momentum to split into side projects. Most notable of these was Shinoda’s side band Fort Minor, that had a hit with the song “Where’d You Go”.
Finally, last year, the band reunited for their third studio album Minutes to Midnight. The first single, “What I’ve Done” (video), appears here, while the second single will show up on the winter CD.
Next time: finally, the third of the three most innovative artists in music today.