Tag Archives: Linkin Park


Glorious Noise Continues to Diligently Track the Course of Pop Music

Johnny Loftus

Everyone – except for maybe Jonathan Davis – knows Nu Metal is so close to buying the farm, the realtor is calling to negotiate closing fees. Sure, Creed is going strong. And Linkin Park’s {Hybrid Theory} was the best-selling album of 2001. But these standouts don’t represent the vitality of the genre as a whole. Creed is a glorified (no pun intended) sports bar power trio whose sonic trailer park vibe would appeal to Camaro-driving weight lifters in any era of music, Nu Metal or not. And Linkin Park is already distancing itself from its Nu Metal packaging, as LP MC Mike Shinoda can be found rapping on the new X-Ecutioners record and branching into side projects. Remove the success of these types, and Nu Metal’s hurting. It’s no wonder. After all, you can only rage against the machine for so long. Shit, Rage Against The Machine isn’t even raging against the machine anymore. So where does that leave a bunch of dirt-asses like Puddle of Mudd? Likely wallowing in their much-maligned name choice as they take your drive-thru order.

In the last few months, thanks to the inevitably cyclical nature of pop music (not to mention a serious commitment from M2), a diversified group of bands have been giving Nu Metal a swirly in the back of the visitors’ locker room. The Strokes, The White Stripes, Gorillaz, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Kweller, Starsailor, Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, and most recently Clinic have all weighed in as heavyweights in this new group of artists, who can only be compared to the eclectic early 90’s heyday of MTV’s 120 Minutes. Like a smarter, stripped-down version of Perry Farrell’s visionary Lollapalooza tours of yore, genuinely diverse acts with actual talent have begun a slow-burn takeover of American popular music. Though markets and tastes are completely different in the two countries, it can be said that the UK embraced this trend first. Many of the bands above – English or not – have enjoyed monstrous UK success over the past couple of years. And now, just like downloadable ring tones, America is finally catching up to what Europe has known about since before Wes Borland left Limp Bizkit: musical variety is where it’s at, chum.

The question is, what will happen next? If you recall the backlash to Nirvana, thousands of committed, talented bands were embraced by the Big Five, only to be cornholed, kicked to the curb, or worse. Now, the industry hasn’t changed. They still rip out spines on a daily basis. But two things may separate this latest wave of rockers from their forebears: the Internet, and hindsight. The former has readjusted the tenets of the DIY aesthetic, re-wiring the punk ethos into a multifunctioning mixture of marketing savvy, low-cost, broad-based communication, and of course technology. Hindsight feeds dot com DIYism. A band like Jimmy Eat World, established on their own before the majors ever came calling, has the ability to leverage their established market into a creatively beneficial (and maybe more lucrative) contract. What would the average alternative rockers have to offer an A & R guy in 1994 besides a few crusty flannels and a soundman named Pisser? The White Stripes are another example. Already having worked successfully within the independent culture, their growing domestic success is just gravy. There’s nothing wrong with appearing on Conan or having a single on the Billboard 200. Of course not. Jack and Meg White’s music deserves to be heard. But don’t think for a second that those two are letting an industry hack with big shoes walk all over them. It’s their hindsight – and one foot buried in the indie rock community – that will save them from a major label flame out when tastes change again in 1 or 2 years.

But in the meantime, why not enjoy it? Us AND them. If M2 is the new 120 Minutes, and I can hear Del Tha Funky Homosapien rapping with Damon Albarn as I wash my hands in the restroom at Hot n’ Now, then things are getting a little better. Sooner or later, a real rain’ll come and wash all the filth off the streets. But until then, why not revel in the irony of hearing “Fell In Love With A Girl” booming out a jeep?