by Matt Balogh
At the forefront of the nu metal scene in the early 2000s, Linkin Park has grown to find a fan base of millions. By combining a large sound of heavy metal influence and hip hop elements of rapping style vocals, and DJ-led turntable scratching. This created a distinct sound for them, allowing their debut album Hybrid Theory to sell over 30 million copies worldwide.
Being a favorite of nu metal and hip hop fans alike, Hybrid Theory became a base for many nu metal bands to follow. Their singles “In The End” and “One Step Closer” had seen large rotation on rock stations, and continue to be staples in their live performances to this day.
Over the years, the band has put out 6 albums more, each to a sloping response by their long time fans. Fans have criticized their change in style, as it keeps inching towards a pop style. While not completely ditching their nu metal taste, their albums have featured more much lighter feeling songs, and less and less edge on their sound. Starting with songs like “Shadow of The Day”, and really everything on Minutes to Midnight, they have brought softer songs, and really a total departure to a pop rock-ish style.
In the case for their newest track “Heavy,” it seems as though they have completely converted themselves to a pop sound, ditching anything “rock” that the band had previously been known for. If the song suggests anything of the new album, this leaves anticipation of a rock-less, polished electronic pop album. The instrumentation is minimalist, and sounds almost completely computer generated, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Their downfalls, however, lie in the structure and lyrics of the song.
With not much going on in the background, the song seems to rely on the inclusion of the up-and-coming pop singer Kiiara. The singer does not bring much to save the song, and it resembles a pop duet in the vein of The Chainsmoker’s “Closer,” which exemplified the recurring motif of modern pop music: basic and seemingly uninteresting track that is attempted to be revived by new singer that is just as uninteresting. Kiiara’s vocal addition took the majority of the singing role after her awkward introduction in the chorus. Shifting energy very rarely throughout the track, the quickness of its length makes the song go from A to B, and feels like nothing had even happened.
The lyrics are really uninspired, just linking overused lines like “can’t escape the gravity,” “I’m holding on,” and the repetitive “why is everything so heavy,” which is ironic considering the nature of the song. The chorus had potential to save the verses from their simplicity, but is stuck to the repetition of the “why is everything so heavy” line.
For fans of the band, they have some real bad news coming to them. Hopefully the entire album won’t be following this style, as it lacks the feeling that Linkin Park had always packed. Although a change of style isn’t terrible, this song unfortunately doesn’t even work well as a pop song, and certainly works as only filler. Linkin Park has had a history of success and creativity, so it’s hard to blame them for experimentation. The song could possibly find the interest of die hard fans, or maybe fans of modern pop music.