Why Fans Should Embrace The New Pop Linkin Park

Why Fans Should Embrace The New Pop Linkin Park

It is easy to label Linkin Park a bunch of sell-outs. Almost too easy.
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All 10 songs were perfected, the album was finished, and the dust had settled. Linkin Park, the godfathers of nu metal and rap rock ... had gone pop?

Dominating rock charts for most of the 2000's, Linkin Park released two monstrously successful albums in "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora". "Hybrid Theory", the band's debut album in 2001, reached Platinum in sales and remains the best-selling debut album of the 21st century. "Meteora", their follow-up album released in 2003, sold 27 million copies worldwide and was ranked 36th in Billboard's Top 200 Albums of the Decade. In the two critically-acclaimed albums, the band released household jams including "In the End", "Crawling", "One Step Closer", "Numb", and "Breaking the Habit". Linkin Park channeled the frustrations of life, with teenagers specifically finding comfort in the band's struggles. A majority of the darker themes originated from the early childhood of Chester Bennington, LP's dynamic vocalist. Positive or negative, people could identify with Chester's self-reflections of anger, suffering, discomfort, and lack of confidence. Personally, Linkin Park's music heavily impacted me when I faced the obstacles of middle and high school, and still help me to this day.

Linkin Park had a unique, instantly-recognizable style to their music; they incorporated facets of rock, metal, electronic, and disc-spinning to form a comprehensive, compelling sound. When they performed live near your area, you canceled all plans because you knew it was going to be a hell of a show. Ranked in 2014 as the greatest artists of the 2000's in a Bracket Madness poll on VH1, they were on top of the world. All they had to do was continue producing heavy-hitting, emotional rock and roll to seal their legacy. So, with the promotion of One More Light, a very obvious shift towards the mainstream pop trend, what happened?

It is easy to label Linkin Park a bunch of sell-outs. Almost too easy. For the past decade or so, mainstream artists like Rihanna, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, and Maroon 5 have achieved super-stardom by producing songs that the general population finds catchy and meaningful. Most importantly, they have been grossing millions and billions of revenue doing so. Staple radio stations like 96.5 and 102.1 no longer play Nickelback, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Pearl Jam and others exclusively like they used to, because family-friendly rock has been replaced by pop artists such as Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Hozier, etc. The influence of music, without a doubt, has shifted away from rock and roll to pop music. Who wouldn't want a piece of that cake? We commonly see throwback artists "sell their souls" to become relevant again, because it goes whatever direction the music industry dictates. That's why the headline is so fitting and juicy. "Metal Gods Linkin Park Sell Out For More Money". A rock fanatic like myself may believe that they have turned their backs on their music, their legacy, and their fans. It doesn't matter that they built temples and domes with their individuality, because that is all suddenly erased. The very music that some of us survive to is gone, just like that.

However, longtime fans of LP shouldn't view this as a crisis. This is why.

Aside from "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora", this isn't the first time LP has experimented with their music. Between "Minutes to Midnight", "A Thousand Suns", "Living Things", and "The Hunting Party", LP added and subtracted elements of electronics, newer beats, guitars, and vocals, trying to do something new in each stage. Maybe playing the same music for two decades straight gets tiresome and boring. Sometimes, new perspectives are what's really necessary for the continuation of such a successful dynasty. Secondly, nostalgia plays a huge factor. I, like a lot of people, find myself wishing I had the best experiences of my life back. We all want to picture today as the summer of 2005, heading to the beach with the windows down, blasting lyrics to "In The End" with our good companions, and not a care in the world. That's over with, let's move on and make new memories. The third and final reason not to fret over LP is the fact that ageless Chester Bennington is only 41 years old. The rest of the group hovers around 40 flat. Seeing as though groups like the Rolling Stones, Kiss, and AC/DC are still kicking long into their immortality, there is always something left in the tank for a last-ditch, career-defining record, or four. Just because the group decided to cross a new avenue does not mean everything they have done is lost; it may very well be on hold. Who knows? Maybe they will learn that exploring uncharted waters isn't as rewarding as it seems.

To sum up the discourse and decisions of Linkin Park, give them the benefit of the doubt. Some fans may believe they've lost their way, some may believe they know exactly what they're doing. Just because they aren't headbanging and giving your daughter a background song to her online picture collection doesn't mean that LP is dead. As fans, we must honor and appreciate the countless memories and happiness that they have provided. LP claims that they are happy by taking this step, Bennington is confident that they are heading in the right direction. If that's not something you can deal with, go to your room, crank up "Hybrid Theory", revisit your teenage angst, and re-live the good old days.

Cover Image Credit: Billboard

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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