Showing posts with label linkin park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label linkin park. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2019

the top ten best hit songs of 2009

So I'll admit to being surprised that this, of all things, is the next top ten people want me to cover. You'd think folks would want me to finish off the 2010s proper before going back to 2009, but there you have it.

But I get it, because while I'd struggle to call it the best of the 2000s, 2009 was a pretty glorious year. Not only did it showcase the birth of YouTube chart criticism, but it was such a potent year to cover! 2009 is widely accepted by most as the birth of the club boom, where the kinetic, rock-tinged pop of the mid-2000s picked up more layers of glitter and went to party hard, picking up a grabbag of whatever hip-hop had survived the ringtone era, whatever rock that was willing to party, and basically lock the placid country scene out of the clubhouse entirely. More to the point, it was impossible to not see 2009 as a year of reckless abandon: the economy had crashed, most of my generation was broke, and if we we didn't have money, we were going to party as if we did - it might have seemed bleak, but I think a lot of us were riding the contact high that came from a new president and a desperate desire to believe in hope... even if that contact high would lead to incoherent silliness and a hangover we'd only halfheartedly regret. But I'll say this: even if I've slowed down a little bit, it's hard not to miss the manic fun of this year, especially when there were so many great hits, so let's get things started with...

Monday, February 19, 2018

the top ten best hit songs of 2004 (VIDEO)

Well, this was long in coming... and overall, a pretty solid list. Not sure it's my wittiest list, but for those of you who remember the era, I think it works.

Next up, Black Panther and Wade Bowen, so stay tuned!

the top ten best hit songs of 2004

So this is the third big top ten outside of the current year that I've put together, and I think it's conducive to describe how this year differed in trends and sounds in comparison with those I discussed before. 2010 was at the height of club boom overexposure, and everything that charted, good or bad, was either informed by it and painfully dated, or ignoring it and sliding rapidly towards novelty. 1967... well, that was a year heralded by many as overstuffed with classic songs, but you could make a credible argument it was an 'off' year for many established greats, more transitional than anything else.

2004, meanwhile, has some elements of both. On the one hand, the charts were very much in the throes of the crunk explosion, but by proxy it was heralding hip-hop's utter dominance of the Hot 100. Yes, in 2004 indie rock was blowing up like you wouldn't see again for nearly a decade - most of which would hit the charts a year later - but 2004 hit the sweet spot where the kinks of southern hip-hop were getting ironed out and allowing for more diversity beyond New York and L.A.. And that was only a good thing, as 2004 was a huge breakthrough year for a number of acts that are now touted today with a ton of critical acclaim, either for landmark debuts or critical highpoints they'd seldom if ever reach again. And when you tack on the fact that pop rock was beginning its own rise, country hadn't started sliding to vapidity, and R&B was holding its own. The only genre that seriously suffered was mainstream pop, but that's more because hip-hop crossovers were doing it so much better, and when you consider that it really didn't have the stark lowpoints of, say, 2007, you can make a very credible argument that 2004 was one of the best years of the 2000s, at least for the Hot 100. And I can't even really say it was colored hugely by my nostalgia - yeah, I know and like a ton of this Hot 100, but it's hard to deny in a year flush with the debuts of Kanye West and Maroon 5, Usher's best album, Alicia Keys' best album, plus high points for Avril Lavigne and OutKast that we got something really special in 2004. And if you think that spoiled a lot of my list... well, maybe a bit, but you haven't seen nothing yet, so let's get this started!

Friday, May 19, 2017

video review: 'one more light' by linkin park

So this happened... eh, from the looks of the early response most people are coming down even harder, but that doesn't quite surprise me, given the change in sound.

But next up... ooh, this'll be fun, so stay tuned!

album review: 'one more light' by linkin park

So recently Linkin Park made some headlines in probably the worst way possible: telling their fans to 'move the fuck on' from their debut album Hybrid Theory

And I want to unpack why this was possibly the last thing you want to say going into the release cycle and promotion of a new record - because on some level I get it. Credit where it is due, Linkin Park have shown themselves willing to evolve and push their sound - not exactly in a way that's revolutionary, but it takes a band with some stones to follow Minutes to Midnight with A Thousand Suns - which, for the record, I'm still on the record liking probably a lot more than many Linkin Park fans. Fans that probably discovered you thanks to Hybrid Theory selling millions of copies and being a permanent staple in many people's collections. And even though I think that album has aged pretty badly, I get why people love it, and it does have its moments.

So while I get that Linkin Park wants to move on and I completely understand their frustration with entitled fans who want them to make another version of it, maybe it's not the best marketing decision to call that out right before you want them to slap down money and buy your newest record! And this is not Linkin Park at their strongest either: rock radio has changed dramatically and downsized considerably, hip-hop and electronic music has moved into wildly different territory, and their lead-off single hoping to cross over to pop radio 'Heavy' with Kiiara has not exactly been well-received, especially by those Hybrid Theory-era fans that will be your most guaranteed source of income! Worse still it comes across less like Linkin Park are pushing into new territory sonically and more just trying to keep up with the mainstream, even if it's not an intentional artistic choice - which to some extent I get after their 2014 album The Hunting Party failed to cross over to the Hot 100, but they're at the point where they could easily headline festivals for the next thirty years and not give a damn about mainstream radio! Either way, it was not a good sign going into the new album One More Light, and despite only being a casual Linkin Park fan, I was nervous. So how did it turn out?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 11, 2017 (VIDEO)

Man, this was a week of surprises - half songs I didn't think I'd like as much as I do, half because there wasn't a single damn Future song that I liked (and believe me, I tried).

Eh, anyway, next up we have something I wanted to talk about that's a little on the weirder side, so stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 11, 2017

So I didn't have a good feeling about this week going in, mostly because I knew what was coming. I knew that we were getting the first half of Future's 'two albums in two weeks' mistake, and when you follow it with The Chainsmokers working with Coldplay, Linkin Park working with Kiiara, and Lana Del Rey, I was gearing up for a disaster... and that's before I found out about our biggest new arrival, but we'll get to that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

video review: 'the hunting party' by linkin park

Well, this turned out surprisingly decent. Turns out going back to hard rock was a good fit for Linkin Park - who knew?

Okay, that should take care of the major releases for the week - next up... hmm, either Sage Francis or First Aid Kit, we'll see. Stay tuned!

album review: 'the hunting party' by linkin park

Do I honestly have anything more to say about Linkin Park?

This is a band of whom I've covered twice before, first with Living Things in written form and then my video review of the remix album Recharged - and honestly, I wasn't a fan of either album, as they felt like regressions into stale subject matter they'd already covered more effectively elsewhere and a musical sound that alternated between being dreary and boring and atonal and insufferable. And this is coming from a critic who can admit that Linkin Park has never really been a terrible band, even in their earlier days with Hybrid Theory. Yes, it's material that hasn't exactly aged well in comparison with their mid-period work, but it does have a certain visceral pathos that can work if you're in the right demographic for it. And I will give Linkin Park for two points that aren't often noted: a knack for incredibly solid hooks and an ability to evolve with the times, culminating with the excellent, more conceptual album A Thousand Suns in 2010, which I'll place myself in the minority by saying is probably my 'favourite' Linkin Park record. And yeah, there are better records exploring nuclear holocaust, even in the electronic rock and metal veins, but I'll give Linkin Park credit for experimentation and mostly sticking the landing.

And honestly, that was one of the reasons Living Things was such a disappointment for me, in that it simply took much of the same electronic rock sound and fused it with lyrics that couldn't support it, and it felt like a regression. And when I heard about The Hunting Party this year... well, I had no idea what to expect. Not only did the band say they were putting aside electronic rock and going back to a harder edge, they were planning to show more maturity in their subject matter as well. That, if anything, got my curiosity raised enough to pick up the album - how did it turn out?

Monday, October 28, 2013

video review: 'recharged' by linkin park

Well, this came together quickly - mostly because there's so little to say about this album as a whole. Next is probably Reflektor by Arcade Fire, because I've been preparing that particular diatribe for some time. Stay tuned!

album review: 'recharged' by linkin park

I have no goddamn clue why I'm reviewing this album. I mean, a remix album comprised of almost entirely songs from a record I thought barely scraped the ceiling of mediocre by a band that has completely run out of ideas? Really, I can't think of a greater waste of time other than review the new Christmas album by Kelly Clarkson (which isn't happening, by the way, so don't hold your breath)!

First, a bit of context. Last year, when my reviews were previously confined to my blog, I reviewed Linkin Park's Living Things, and suffice to say, I didn't like it. And while upon reexamination I don't think my review is particularly well-written (it's a little too overwrought and overloaded with lecturing), I stand by my opinions surrounding Linkin Park and the album in particular. The album was poorly written, it lacked instrumental heft and weight, it was an unwelcome return to the concepts of their earlier work that haven't aged well and a distinct step down from the high-minded ambitions of A Thousand Suns, and worst of all, it was boring as tar. Yeah, 'Powerless' was a good song, but outside of that a year later, I can barely remember the album and that's never a good sign. I mean, I remember fragments of 'Burn It Down' and I remember thinking that it was mediocre at best, a far cry from the grit and energy that occasionally made some of the band's earlier material worth a listen.

So maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that the album was getting the remix treatment, almost doubling the original album in length courtesy of guest DJs and rap verses. And as much as I'd like to be snide and point out that it apparently requires more hands in the mix to make Linkin Park vaguely sellable, I wasn't exactly set to condemn this album. After all, the remixes could add some layer of unique personality to pierce through the boredom I had with the original record, and who knows, maybe Pusha T might be able to deliver a better rap verse than he did on Kay's debut. So with that in mind, how does Recharged by Linkin Park turn out?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

album review: 'living things' by linkin park

Short version: in which I finally get a chance to vent about rap metal and nu-metal (yes, it's been long in coming), and I get the chance to explain completely why I hate those genres with a burning passion. Oh, and then I review some album called 'Living Things', which was only distinctive in its ability to disappoint me. Wonderful.

How many of you remember rock in the mid-to-late 90s? Because I can say this definitively - having briefly revisted that era to do a bit of research, you don't want to.

I should explain this. After Kurt Cobain's death and the collapse of Nirvana, grunge rock lost market share, and while alternative rock pushed by bands like R.E.M. continued to hold some sway, there was a rush to fill the void with a variance of musical styles. Punk received a mild mainstream revival thanks to bands like Green Day, weird psychedelic/prog rock began making headway in the underground (like with the Flaming Lips, Radiohead and Porcupine Tree), and even ska got a brief, painfully short time in the limelight. Sure, bands like Soundgarden and the Foo Fighters and the Smashing Pumpkins were continuing what Cobain started, but towards the end of the decade, they would find their mainstream spotlight usurped by an unholy, haphazard blend of genres that touched off some of the worst trends in rock at the turn of the millennium.

Yes, I'm talking about rap metal.