So, this is a topic of relevance, since this weeks Kerrang! Cover star is none other than Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington. He's once again telling the magazine about how satisfied he and the whole band are with their latest release, "A Thousand Suns" and how free they are due to their change of style from the Nu Metal sound hear on "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora". I read the feature feeling a slight sense of bitterness. It's because I want to join the band in their joy over their latest album and share a sense of their satisfaction and freedom and agree with their view that it's the greatest album they've ever done. But I can't. Because I absolutely can't stand A Thousand Suns. I figure this is also a relevant subject for this very reason. "A Thousand Suns" is another great example of an album which has divided opinion, just like Metallica's St. Anger, which I discussed in my previous post. I think that what happened after releasing "Meteora" was that the band got fed up with creating Nu Metal music and chose for their next albums to create music based on the various aspects of the sub-genre. Therefore, the hard rock and heavy metal element of Nu Metal was effectively emphasized on "Minutes to Midnight", as can be heard on tracks like "Given Up" and "No More Sorrow" and on "A Thousand Suns", Nu Metal's element of electronica and dance music is focused on in depth and played particularly well. But I hate electronica and dance music.
I am not for one second saying that I'm annoyed with and no longer like Linkin Park for releasing "A Thousand Suns", nor am I going to protest against it and demand LP to make more Nu Metal, but I am always going to choose their Nu Metal albums over the albums the band claim to have set themselves free. (Not to discredit "Minutes to Midnight" because I really love that album and I suppose it could be considered Nu metal, just more sophisticated). I've always loved Nu Metal, despite the constant criticisms heard all round, and while I can't really explain why I like it so much, I can explain why the criticisms pointed towards nu metal do not bother me:
"Nu Metal isn't real metal!!"
A statement used often by people who only listen to totally extreme metal like the black and death metal sub-genres, or so I imagine. I would say Nu Metal makes use of the distorted guitars and pounding rhythms that characterizes Metal. If you disagree, the fact that it's not metal is no real problem for me. I listen to plenty of music that could never possibly be considered metal. I'm a real sucker for Indie Rock and Pop Punk as well y'know.
"Nu Metal is too commercial!!"
Not really something I can help with. Those who use that as a complaint sound kind of hipster - like, as in they hate anything popular. I really don't mind if I'm listening to an album that has sold over a million copies though. It's fair to say that given that music taste of most people around me consists of obsessing over the top ten singles, I will never face the criticism of my music taste being too mainstream directly.
"Nu Metal is so unfashionable!!"
Oh well. I suppose you could say Nu Metal and I were meant to go together, then. Also I sort of have an image of someone using this comment to be wearing a hoodie. In which case, their remark would be somewhat hypocritical.
"Nu Metal is for 13 year olds!!"
Well, I probably have the mental age of 13, so Nu Metal is perhaps suiting. Anyways, this is clearly untrue. Or at least I hope so, since Slipknot's (If you choose to refer to them as Nu Metal) live DVD "The (sic)nesses" features several shots of women in the crowd taking their tops off and displaying their breasts. If they were 13 years old... Well, I'd surely be owning an illegal DVD.
"All the songs on a Nu Metal album sound the same. How can you sit through all those songs that sound the same?"
As I have made clear, I enjoy the Music of Nu Metal. Lyrically, some songs may be weak (Linkin Park's "Don't Stay" would be a good example) but if you've read all my posts, you've probably worked out by now that I care more about the actual music made. To tell the truth, when I listen to music I normally use the "Shuffle Songs" feature of my iPod, so there's normally a decent space between each Nu Metal song I hear. I could be listening to Linkin Park one minute, then the next minute it'll be Blink-182. Then Kings of Leon. Then Opeth. Shuffle Songs is just extraordinary in that way.
So, I hope to have made it clear that my hatred towards Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns" is legitimate, and that those who would say that it's great because it is a breakaway from their Nu Metal past can understand that I still love Nu Metal and posses the ability to love it, since none of the main complaints against it get in my way. Even though Linkin Park have moved on from Nu Metal, the genre is still very much alive today, through many bands who originally brought the genre to the masses in the late 90's and early 00's such as Korn and Disturbed, and may it continue to reign for many years to come.