Monday, October 06, 2003

Can Linkin Park keep it up? I liked bits and pieces of their first album, Hybrid Theory, but generally got annoyed by their ubiquitousness - "In the End" is an alright song, but it was just everywhere. That hasn't seemed to be the case with this year's Meteora; they're back to their native environment of rock radio, which I never listen to. Which means it's easier for me to enjoy/appreciate them on their own merits. And I am.

First single "Somewhere I Belong" is solid, muscular hip-hop-influenced rock. But it's the follow-up that's really gotten to me. Once Isabel hit, you see, and we were reduced to listening to battery-powered radio, mine ended up on our local AOR station, FM99. While half-listening, I heard the start of a song, something with a string sample which sounded all turntablistic. My ear was caught - what was this? Once the rapping and singing came in, however, it was all over. I knew it was Linkin Park, and I knew I'd been reeled in. "Faint" recently hit #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, and deservedly so - it's one of the frankly freshest-sounding things there, solid if not particularly innovative, yet still forging its own path.

Are Linkin Park the future of rock'n'roll? Certainly not. They still have to find ways to adapt and broaden their sonic palette. But they're young, yet - and with time, they just might pull it off. They've got the rapping/singing balance down perfect, they work turntables into their sound without sounding as if they're trying to hard for cred, and their hearts seem to be sincere. I'm rooting for 'em.

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