With their new album One More Light recently released, Linkin Park once again is causing uproar for the fans that grew up with them. This time, the band is a little more outspoken about the backlash but the song still remains the same.
LP frontman Chester Bennington had some choice words about the fans’ opinions in Kerrang! recently while defending their reasoning to change their sound. The song, “Heavy” received much criticism from fans who felt that the band went pop, thus continuing the ten – plus year complaint of Linkin Park selling out.
“Because guess what, calling us a sell out for that purpose is… selling out on your f---king excuse as to why you don’t like it. You’re a f---king pussy. For any band to take musical risks because you like what you’re doing in spite of what you know some people will say they don’t like, it doesn’t matter if they like it or not – what matters is that you took the chance to do something that you felt was important to you and that’s what being an artist is all about."
Bennington made a great point in that aspect to which it may not have been a bad decision on the band’s part to experiment with new music – all of their records have reached the Billboard Top Ten when they were released. Their popularity doesn’t seem to waver much either based on that.
So it begs the question, why are fans still upset years later?
A band like Linkin Park is unorthodox but with the talent all five members possess they created a firestorm in the early 2000s. A combination of rock, rap and lyrics everyone could relate to serve the band well with their first two records, Hybrid Theory and Meteora.
After Meteora, the band noticeably began to change their sound. The hardcore fans didn’t take to this kindly and since then the disdain against the band has grown more and more as they continue to put out new material.
The Nu Metal genre was short-lived but was highly popular during its course. However Linkin Park was at the center of that and fans weren’t ready to let go of what the band had created.
While many bands evolved over time, their sound was the one thing that was consistent. Linkin Park evolved, but completely changed direction with their music. The lyric themes seem consistent but that was about it. Whether it was a change of heart or just growing out of their original sound, the band justifies their decision based on being artists.
For me, I can appreciate the band taking risks as they continue to make music. I was a huge fan years ago, but I don’t particularly like their new music much. “Heavy” does sound like a majority of music that is out there today – but if anything else Bennington has a great voice and that certainly stood out to me despite the revelation.
One thing is this – as humans grow, change and evolve - the band done so as well. Fans don’t have to like it, but for the band to still make music and making waves they may be doing something right after all.
Sarah Hirsch can regularly be seen on The Camel Clutch Blog, Daily DDT and on Just Sarah-A Woman's Voice