Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Why I Like Linkin Park (and why you should, too.) Part 1

Several weeks ago now, I had the pleasure of attending a Linkin Park show at the Greensboro Coliseum. It was one of their last stops on the Meteora tour (Meteora is the name of their current album). I've been meaning to write about the concert since then, but work, church, work, finding out we're pregnant, and having visitors kind of got in the way of my posting.

Kellsey and I come by our love for LP in a round-about kind of way. Four or five years ago, when we lived in Winston-Salem, we became friends with Joe & Anne Farrell, who, one otherwise unremarkable day, played some strange music for us while we were hanging out at their house. Joe casually walked over to their stereo and asked us if we'd heard of "this band called Linkin Park." "Not really," we replied, visions of swing-sets & slides & green grass running through my head (you know, things-in-a-park stuff). So Joe hits play and this strange hybrid of rock/hardcore/techno/electronica comes out, and I can't decide if I'm hearing something American or Euro or Asian. He tossed us the liner and we noticed that the lyrics to that particular song were rather insightful, so we bit: "Interesting. How do you know about this band?" "My brother will be their new bass player," Joe says, grinning.

That, at least, is how I remember my introduction. It's probably only slightly related to how it actually happened, but you get the gist of it. If you want story details which are correct and correlated with reality about anything that happened more than three months ago, your best bet is to talk to Kellsey. (I like to think of it like: with Kellsey you get the word-for-word translation of the past, with me you get more of a dynamic, idea-for-idea translation of the past. Depending on your needs, you'll want one more than the other. Like in a courtroom, you'd want to be talking to Kells.)

So, from the get-go, we had a quasi-personal connection to these LP guys. We were pre-disposed to like them, since Joe could personally vouch for his brother, who could personally vouch for the other guys in the band. (I mean, they wanted Joe's brother to be in their band, they had to be good guys, right?)

Another reason which made it inevitable that I like LP's music was what I'd grown up listening to and loving: good old rock&roll, hardcore (e.g. Strongarm, Six Feet Deep, P.O.D.), punk, post-hardcore (e.g. Stavesacre), techno, dance or "house" music (as they called it in Miami), and industrial music (e.g. Circle of Dust, Chatterbox).

You'll notice that all of those bands are "Christian" bands. They're the ones I remember. I owe any sophistication in my musical tastes to Walter, who introduced me to all this stuff, and without whom I'd still be thinking "Bang Bang" by Danger Danger was a rockin' song. Walt played much secular music for me as well, just so you know. (Maybe sometime I'll post on my perspective of Walter's musical journey.)

All that to say, one of the reasons why I like LP so much is that I think they bring together in their compositions influences from all those genres. Since I like those genres, it's not so surprising that when a group of artists come along who bring them all together in a new kind of sound, I would like their work! There may have been bands who put it all together before LP, but I don't think anyone put it together as well as they do, nor with as much commercial success as they have had. (And I don't think that "commercial success" necessarily disqualifies a band from being "good" or "legitimate" or "authentic", by the way.)

That's why I like the instrumental, rythmic and melodic work that they do. Because LP makes good art (although in this case, the art is music), I think they're accessible to a broad audience, and you don't have to have liked those genres to like them now.

Next time: lyrics, or maybe some personal interactions with the band, maybe both.

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