A Papercut with Sharp Edges – A Linkin Park Retrospective

By now, I’m sure that everyone’s heard about the sudden passing of Chester Bennington. The news that got pretty much anyone shattered, including me and all those masses of Linkin Park fans.
While this band was never under the radar of Your Dead Partner for being too mainstream (I’m not the one who decides on what’s too mainstream for this journal), I felt that it’s fitting to look back on what they brought to the music world. Because we all know that Linkin Park will never be the same without Chester‘s unmistakable vocals. Or will it? Tell me in the comments!

Let’s take a look at the band’s famed debut album “Hybrid Theory” that took the world by storm when it was released seventeen years ago. I don’t know why and I’m not sure how, but the music of Linkin Park offered something new and unconventional for the time. At the time, nobody even labeled it Nu Metal, right? Let’s say that I didn’t care about “Hybrid Theory” that much when it came out – I eventually got back to it with the release of “Meteora“, but more on that later. Let’s listen to “Crawling“. One of my all-time-favorite songs of Linkin Park.

It was that one certain hit-potential in every track that made them stand out. Just think about “In The End“… Or… Well, you probably know yourself.

And we shouldn’t forget about “My December“. Come on, this song would make anyone cry. Would it? If anything, “My December” is one of the tracks where Bennington‘s vocal abilities truly stand out.

My interest in Linkin Park got woken up with the release of “Numb” and it’s iconic video. Probably just because the video was shot in my hometown Prague. And then that sudden interest went sleeping again until 2007.
Basically, “Meteora” was that one big, aggressive sister of “Hybrid Theory“, if you know what I mean. Also, it was more polished than the debut. Way more polished and more daring in a way. 

Linkin Park established themselves with “Meteora” and everybody could be sure that they’re here to stay for quite a time. Besides that, it became evident that they try to reinvent themselves on every release. “Breaking The Habit” was completely minimalistic when compared to “Somewhere I Belong“, for example. But after four years, something came that changed my opinion about this band forever.
Here’s “Numb“, in case you forgot about it: 

And what happened four years later? “Minutes To Midnight” happened and once again, it was different from what we heard from Linkin Park in the past. 2007 was a great year in music, by the way. I just have to say that.
Minutes To Midnight” went into the more radio-friendly direction. More than “Meteora” and “Hybrid Theory” combined, but that’s not a bad thing. Some people might tell you otherwise. To me, “Minutes To Midnight” was one of those masterpieces released that year. It was not really Nu Metal now and it had Pop elements in it. But who cares? Who gives a fuck if it’s good? 

This record showed the band in a brand new light. The focus was set on melodies and structure. Here’s “Shadow Of The Day“. It’s so anti-Linkin-Park, right? But well, this band is all about reinvention and doing something nobody expects them to do. Not every band dares to be this experimental.

And of course, “What I’ve Done” was strangely appealing when it first came out.

Want another rather underrated track from “Minutes To Midnight“? Here’s “Valentines Day“. Something comparable to “My December” in a way:

I believe that Linkin Park released “New Divide” between “Minutes To Midnight” and the new record “A Thousand Suns“. To be honest, I didn’t dare to listen to “A Thousand Suns” at first since I was scared of it disappointing me after everything that “Minutes To Midnight” has done to me. To be honest, I don’t really remember that record well… It just showed another face of the band. Somewhat sending out mixed signals, getting everyone clearly confused. They simply played around with Electronic music and while it wasn’t bad, it was definitely… Different.
On “Living Things” we could hear something familiar again. The line “We’re building it up to break it back down” from the single “Burn It Down” perfectly describes the band’s changing sound throughout their career.
I admit that I’m not sure what happened on “The Hunting Party” and I’m scared of taking a full listen to “One More Light” even though I don’t believe it’s bad at all.
And here… Here’s the latest video for “Talking To Myself“:

Linkin Park were never afraid to experiment with their sound and it takes balls do to it in such a radical fashion and that’s why this band has got my appreciation and respect. A band that isn’t scared of going from radio-oriented Rock to something Electronic-driven all the way to the waters of Pop is a rare find nowadays. Or what do you think?
I could prove this fact to me once more while writing this article. It was fun to hear the evolution of their music… Going from “Papercut” on “Hybrid Theory” to “Sharp Edges” taken from “One More Light“… 

Rest in Peace, Chester. Thank you for the music.


About Maurice Hutný

Also known under his nickname "Mohutný" (Czech for "mighty"). A friendly, yet mysterious contributor for The Partner, responsible for news and articles of all sort. Don't let this ugly picture of James Blunt fool you.