Welcome to Song of the Day, where I talk about music I am thinking of, that’s important to me, and that I feel you’ll enjoy. When possible, I’ll try to include stuff from the original source material, though in some cases you’ll have to do without – nothing I post on here should break copyright laws, unless the source I pull from is not, in fact, the legal source.
With the release of their latest album “The Hunting Party” – which may end up becoming a review – I figured I’d go back to one of the songs that separated the band from the rest of the Rap/Metal crowd of the late 90’s. It may surprise you that I didn’t latch onto them immediately – “One Step Closer” was okay, but like “Crawling” and “In the End,” was played too much on the radio. (Radio is at fault for much of my dislike of music, as they tend to overplay the same songs to satisfy a large crowd, and I try to avoid it as much as possible.) This video changed that – it was sonically different, and the animation, similar to the anime and video games I was digging into, was impressive for the time. I got the CD, and later, the DVD-Audio, and it was one of the first non-Metallica albums I could listen to from start to finish – a track record that has spanned every CD of theirs since, until “Recharged.” It also gave me reason to get “Hybrid Theory,” which was retroactively a classic (though I had to skip the over-radio-played songs), and with the behind-the-scenes stuff included on the DVD-Audio for this video, the making of for “Meteora,” the live CD/DVD “Live in Texas,” and the extras they were always throwing into their new work, it sealed the deal on making me a fan of their stuff. (How much was I hooked? Their side projects also caught my attention – I hope Fort Minor does something new in the near future, as the album they did is STILL the only rap CD I can listen to from front to back without skipping!)
I understand why some people complain about their work – their sound has definitely softened as they’ve progressed, and is a lot more radio-friendly than when they first came out. While I can’t fault others for liking or disliking their stuff, one of the things I’ve always picked up from those making-of, behind-the-scene, and extra video they’ve put out, as well as the stuff shared by fans is that this is a real band – a group making music for themselves first. That’s something that’s hard to distinguish anymore with groups trying to sound like everyone else, and it’s one of those things that set many of the “classic” groups I respect and liked growing up, apart from the rest. Part of that is forced, given that many people (myself included) originally thought some pulled this group together boy-band-style – they’ve had to prove themselves out of that for a long time, and I still think it bothers them today. Part of it, though, is values, and it’s something they shine in.
One side story: back in my days on sadingrief on AOL, I had talked to someone online about making music, and they told me the kind of music they were doing – which, coincidentally, became the rap-rock that came out a year-or-two later. Years later, as I was reading through their biography, a funny name stood out: Before they were Linkin Park, they were Hybrid Theory – and before that, Xeno. Whether I actually talked with any of them online or not isn’t something I can prove, BUT it is an interesting coincidence.
As you may have guessed, I’m a BIG fan of live stuff – like Photoshop, you can fake anything in the studio, but you really can’t dummy-it-up live without pissing people off. When you’re dealing with a group that is constantly experimenting both with their old stuff and with new material, it sometimes turns into awesomesauce – so when they dropped the bomb with Jay-Z, the only thing that disappointed me was that this was not released as the single for the project. (Sorry, but radio also killed “Numb” for me – jerks!)