An Examination of "The Catalyst" and the Surrounding Hate (lonnnggg)

Hi everyone, new here, well... I was a member of the old boards a long time ago, but this is new for me.  It seems like the boards are either filled with prase for "The Catalyst" or hate and Linkin Park sold out comments.  I decided to write a little essay on my thoughts about Linkin Park and their new song.  It's really long!!  Sorry guys but I wanted to post something meaningful besides "this is shit" and "they suck".

 

As a band that has been prominent since the early 2000s, Linkin Park have accumulated many fans over the years, starting with their earliest single “One Step Closer”.  I was in the sixth grade when I first heard Linkin Park and I loved their sound and their lyrics.  I used to wait by the radio for “In the End” to come on because at the time I didn’t have their CD.  Once I had their CD, it never left my CD player and it was literally the only CD I listened to; I even, in my 12 year old wisdom, denounced any band that wasn’t Linkin Park as unworthy of my attention.

                Over the years, I’ve had to deal with the hate as a Linkin Park fan, constantly being told “Linkin Park sucks” etc, etc.  One of the earliest Linkin Park sucks fights I got in was with a board user who claimed that Linkin Park was all studio talent and lacked the ability to hold down a live show.  My response?  Could you run around a stage for an hour and a half and still sound like a heavenly choir of angels?  Linkin Park is a very, very successful band and therefore, they are going to gather a lot of hate and criticism that may or may not be warranted.

                Their latest single “The Catalyst” seems to be taking a lot of heat around the forum and the internet (there is now a Facebook page dedicated to “Techno Linkin Park Sucks”).  Why?  It’s very different from what old fans are used (and even Minutes to Midnight fans will find the sound distinctly different).  Now, change is a good thing in music because it keeps the band fresh and new.  One of my biggest gripes with Linkin Park during the Meteora phase was “OK, what is so different from Hybrid Theory?”  The guitar riffs, to me as a musician, sounded similar and Phoenix was rarely, if ever, prominent on any of the tracks (a disappointment considering one of my instruments is bass).  I got bored with the album quicker than I got bored with Hybrid Theory and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have an album to play on repeat for months.

                That being said, “The Catalyst” is not my new favorite song.  I didn’t even have it on my iPod until I decided to write this examination since I didn’t want to base this on poorly founded opinions that were garnered from one listen of the song.  However, if I had not decided to write this, I probably would have just waited for the album to come out and saved the $1.29.  This is unlike me considering as a Linkin Park fan I had always pre-ordered everything and I even imported their albums from various parts of the world so I could have all the special tracks.  This downward spiral for me and my obsession with Linkin Park started with Minutes to Midnight.  I was really excited when I was browsing the iTunes store one day to see that Linkin Park had a new album (my attentions at the time had been more on AFI and I forgot about LP’s new album).  I immediately bought the deluxe edition and popped it in my CD player (yes, I actually drove to the store special to go get it; I like having physical copies of music).  I thought it was decent and I listened to it on my iPod at various points, but I was never enthralled with it; I quickly moved back to AFI and other bands and “The Catalyst” seems to be taking me in this same direction.

              My biggest qualm isn’t with the change in musical style, as I said before, I welcome this.  My biggest gripe is with the lyrics—political much?  Personally, I’m tired of bands taking the sing about being oppressed and bitch about the government route.  I’ve heard it so many times; I don’t want to hear it anymore.  No, I’m not a diehard patriot either.  It just gets old.  I also feel that these lyrics lean a bit towards the “sub-par” standard as well—they’re OK, but I think Linkin Park could do better.

My other gripes with “The Catalyst” are the lack of truly audible guitars.  Yes, I know there are guitars on the track, but I would have liked them to be more audible.  The other gripe is the breakdown between “…where oceans bleed into the sky” and “God save us everyone”.  It seems out of place to my ear—like, “Where did that come from?” and not in a good way.  It feels misplaced, like someone took a bunch of samples from Garage Band and threw them together or someone just realized they could write music because they have Protools and a cheap Casio keyboard.

All in all, I am disappointed in “The Catalyst” but I hold out hope that maybe the rest of the album will be better.  I will buy it when it comes out and give it a relatively unbiased listen.  I wouldn’t say Linkin Park sucks; there is definitely still talent there—there’s a reason they’ve come as far as they have—maybe I’ve just grown away from that style or from Linkin Park in general.  While they still hold a place in my CD collection and a place as one of the bands I like to listen to, they are not my favorite band anymore (this phrase would have been unfathomable to my 12 year old self).  After dedicating hours and hours on a dial-up connection to making fansites, the Hybrid Theory EP, Hybrid Theory, and Reanimation will always hold a special place in my heart while Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns will most likely only hold a special place in my CD collection.

Linkin Park, like the rest of us, are people and don’t we all get bored doing the same thing over and over again?  I don’t blame them for changing it up.  The new concept doesn’t grab my ear or attention as much as their older stuff, but that is the price of change: loss some, gain more.  I’m sure there are many fans out there that are in love with the new sound and new song.  Linkin Park is a great band that treats their fans well.  I still have all my autographs from the Projekt Revolution shows I went to and the LP Underground sticker I had to wear to get in.  Thanks for letting us into the mosh pit first!  I didn’t wash my hand for a week after Mike gave me a handshake!  I’d like to see them again in concert and I’d buy a t-shirt, I just think I’d be more subdued in my fandom this time around.

Tags: a, catalyst, linkin, music, park, suns, the, thousand

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Well said. Unfortunately it'll probably be ignored by the majority on this site, attention spans seem to lacking here. (I would recommend LPAssociation.com as a place to better discuss things LP related, if you're not already familiar with it.

I also came to LP back when OSC was released. I saw the video, heard the music and was hooked. That was my musical awakening so to speak. LP were the first band I actively followed, they were my band. Similar to your 12 year old self, my 12/13 year old self didn't want to hear any other band. I loved pretty much everything they did, including Meteora when it came out.

But around that time (2003) I was starting to get into other bands, namely Metallica & Tool. Over the next year or two they usurped LP as my favourite bands as i started to see the variety in their music, lyrics and song structures and the lack of variety in LPs.
I can safely say if MTM had been another version of HT then LP would be nothing more than fond memories to me at this point, in large part because of Meteora, i find it boring for the most part now.
Songs like In Pieces, NMS, HHH, V-day and especially TLTGYA brought LP back into prominence for me. Even so the singles were still formulaic and safe. I felt kind of like LP were holding back a bit in that regard, afraid to push beyond the limits of radioplay.

That's a big reason The Catalyst excites me, non-formulaic, not really radio friendly. It's a big statement about what they're doing, especially as a first single. They're taking risks with their song writing now, not being so predictable, not wrting for the radio like they did in the past. That comands respect in my book. Even if I end up not liking the music, I respect a band doing their own thing. That's probably why LP slipped down my list years back, I saw how formulaic and safe they were being and I just lost interest.


RE: Political lyrics
I want to point this out to you and i hope you'll keep it in mind when you listen to A Thousand Suns.

"The album's personified imagery is neither dogma nor political premeditation. The emergent themes and metaphors illuminate a uniquely human story."

That's from LPs open letter to fans about ATS. Heres a link to it.

Also, regarding that massive enthusiasm (dare I call it "extreme fanboy-ism") many of us had for LP (and probably other things too, for me it was soccer) back in the day, I hope no one is measuring new albums against that. That enthusiasm has faded but it has nothing to do with quality of music. It just something that becomes subdued as life grinds on.

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