Well, this review is going to be tough. But it's going to center around the idea of how we as music listeners may outgrow the music we loved when we were younger.
That's the case for me with nu-metal/alternative rock band Linkin Park's new single 'Heavy', released as the lead single for their upcoming album 'One More Light.'
Linkin Park was one of my favorite band growing up, as I was in middle and high school. Their first two albums, 2000's 'Hybrid Theory' and 2003's 'Meteora' turned me into becoming a music fan for the first time in my life.
The music was aggressive, the lyrics were honest and the melodies were extremely catchy. It was the perfect combination for an angsty teenager.
I couldn't ignore the criticism of the band because it was obvious. Linkin Park used simple guitar riffs and instrumentation and didn't go too deep with their lyrics. The band has been called the poster-child for brining nu-metal and glossing it up for the mainstream in the new millennium.
I agree with all of this, but I still don't care.
Music can sometimes be an individual experience and that's the case for me and Linkin Park. Throughout the rest of the band's career, Linkin Park put out four additional albums taht featured some more hits, some more experimentation, changes of sounds and concepts, but also declining sales from album-to-album.
That brings us to 'Heavy', which follows Linkin Park's 2014 album, 'The Hunting Party', an album that brought back rougher textures and sounds to their music. The lyrics are once again simple and direct and can be seen as relating to the inner struggle of one's psyche and emotions. In other words, it's about the fear of trying to let go of something and deciding instead to hold on to whatever it is that is bringing you down. It can be about the fear of the unknown and as someone who has always had to work with anxiety, I could relate to the lyrical subject matter.
But the production, instrumentation and vocals feel so sterile, bland and unassuming that I had to remember this song was performed by Linkin Park. Sound-wise, it's the complete opposite of 'The Hunting Party' and perhaps the softest song the band has ever recorded.
|Guest singer Kiiara surprises in|
a good way on 'Heavy'.
Photo courtesy: JustJared
And up until maybe the last chorus, there really isn't much in regards to guitars, bass or drums. DJ Joe Hahn creates an almost trap-like beat mixed with some snapping fingers and it feels awkward for a Linkin Park song.
I don't think 'Heavy' is a terrible song.
There are some things I like, including ideas in the lyrical content and Kiiara's vocals. But I was left feeling underwhelmed and a little disappointed. 'Heavy' may be the most 'poppy' song this band has ever made.
Now you may say that Linkin Park is a band that pushes their musical boundaries with experimentation, like it did with adding electronic and techno elements to their sound with their 2010 album, 'A Thousand Suns.' But 'Heavy' doesn't feel like experimentation to innovate the genre of rock or to innovate music. It feels like a bit of a cash-grab to get the band back on the charts. And that is sad to see.
I think 'Heavy' is a decent pop song. I would listen to it on the radio and sing along. But I have higher expectations for Linkin Park and they fell short, which gives me apprehension for the new album.
Even though I appreciated the lyrics for 'Heavy', I kept wondering I couldn't connect to 'Heavy' as much as their older songs. Is it because I have grown older and matured? Perhaps. I will continue to listen to Linkin Park's discography, but I might not feel that same emotion and connectedness that I felt as a teenager.
I think I've outgrown parts of Linkin Park's music. But I can still tell a great, catchy, energetic and memorable song for a dull, melancholic number that sounds more and more like Top-40 radio. I still am a Linkin Park fan, but I do have doubts for the quality of 'One More Light.'
RATING: 2.5 Out Of 5 (** 1/2)
What did you all think about the new song 'Heavy' by Linkin Park? Were you disappointed like me? Or did you really like it?
Let me know by leaving a comment below or on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.