I want to really cover a broad spectrum of popularity with bands I talk about, so sometimes I’ll be talking about a true pop cultural juggernaut.
Linkin Park first appeared on the scene in the the final days of the nu metal era and immediately turned heads. What first caught my attention was the dual-attack vocal delivery. While having two vocalists was not a new concept, it was uncommon for the genre. Linkin Park brilliantly adapted the rap rock element of nu metal by quite literally coupling a rock vocalist with a rapper.
This approach reinforced the offering on their debut album, a strong, well-produced alternative rock record that saw their popularity skyrocket. Few bands can make such an impact with a debut, but Linkin Park did it and never lost momentum.
As their popularity grew, rather than rest on their laurels, or stick to their lane, Linkin Park’s sound was refined further with every new album. They perhaps lost some of the aggression that had characterised their debut, but in its place was a more mature alt rock sound, with big arena-pleasing hooks and even a slight pop sensibility.
But the most important thing to note with this gradual shift was it was clearly sincere. This was not like a few other bands I could name (but won’t…) whose goal seemed to be mainstream success by way of accessible pop rock with little similarity to the band’s back catalogue.
With Linkin Park, it was clearly always genuine. They grew, they lived, and they explored their sound. There is nothing more admirable a band could do. And in doing so, they brought happiness to thousands upon thousands of people.
The story, as we all know, does not have a happy ending. I don’t want to dwell on it, nor do I want to ponder what could have been. Instead, I’ll just point out that, while Linkin Park have come and gone, an enormous fan base with countless wonderful memories remains, and their impact on modern mainstream rock is irrefutable. I supposed, in that way, it is a happy ending in a sense.