I often wonder what it would be like to hear the music of my youth for "the first time" in the context of todays modern music with my vast apatite and knowledge of music (mainly Metal & Hip Hop). It dawned on me that Meteora was essentially that. Although I am familiar with Linkin Park, I have never actually listened to anything other than "Hybrid Theory" and "Reanimation" (smelly album). This would be a great opportunity to get a taste of listening to that music in the present day.
I was rather skeptical at first, a little unsure what to expect, but very quickly this album rapidly grew on me and I found myself feeling like it was the 00s again, listening to Hybrid Theory for the first time. At first Meteora came of as more of the same, but on repeated listens it became very apparent how fine tuned and well crafted this record is. On the surface not much has changed about their sound, its more of the same formula, Mike's mini raps, Chester's screams balanced with clean hooks and of course the characteristic electronic sounds accompanying the Nu Metal backbone. Under the surface there is more at work here, it feels like the group made a conscious decision to tone down the aggression slightly and focus on mastering their pop sensibilities and hooks. The melodic leads and choruses on this album are so infectious and satisfying, everything from the delivery of Chester's appeasing cleans, the crisp and soft guitars, electronic melodies just feel so in-sync and on the same wavelength. Its far from challenging and very much easy to enjoy, which is a strength they play to. Linkin Park is not trying to change your understanding of music or challenge your perspective, they are writing straight forward poppy music and they do it here to a perfection on particular tracks.
For all good thats been said, there are two things that came to mind, first of all the drumming, not at a single point in this album did the drums ever come to the forefront of my attention, is this a good or a bad thing? Is the rhythm department executing a subtle genius of accommodating beats, or are they just tame, generic and holding the tracks together? I really don't have an opinion but it was an interesting observation. Second of all the lyrics are once again the epitome of teenage angst, expressing simplistic and overly emotional fears and frustrations with a lack of any real introspection or depth to the subject matter. This is probably a strength though, easy to relate and simple to recite, its what you need in poppy music and perhaps the magnitude of this pop appeal is a reflection of how focused this record is on its catchy hooks and choruses. Overall, fantastic record, enjoyed it as much as "Hybrid Theory", very satisfying to hear more of that great sound they forged.
Favorite Tracks: Don't Stay, Hit The Floor, Easier To Run, Faint, Breaking The Hobbit, From The Inside, Nobody's Listening