Who needs anger management when metalheads start to rap

10.05.2008
Linkin Park kinda snuck up on us. Hybrid Theory, the album it released in 2000, quietly fed on the blood of rap-metal pioneers such as Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit and Powerman 5000 until -- BOOM! -- it had swollen like the most monstrous tick you've ever seen. Unbeknownst to many people, Hybrid Theory was actually the biggest-selling CD of 2001, on the strength of hand-wringing hits such as ''One Step Closer'':

Everything you say to me
Takes me one step closer to the edge
And I'm about to break

That's good, healthy anger being expressed by some Southern California high-school pals who, in the Hybrid Theory CD booklet, effusively thank their supportive families alongside a list of product endorsements rivaling the booty accumulated by the Rolling Stones.

You would think that Linkin Park has plenty to be happy about now. It's headlining the ''Projekt Revolution Tour'' with Mudvayne, Xzibit and Blindside -- around here, we're calling it the ''Dysfunctional Spellers Tour'' -- which comes to the Blue Cross Arena at the Community War Memorial on Tuesday. Last week, the band released its second album, Meteora.

But no, the men of Linkin Park are not happy. Meteora is awash with very angry songs.

How could this be? Life is good. After poking around in the dumpster outside of a California psychologist's office, Weekend magazine has uncovered the records of the therapy sessions which led to each song on Meteora. Tossing out the two instrumentals, these 11 sessions led to 11 songs that offer insight into the troubled life of Linkin Park. Here are excepts from the actual analyst's notes:

Session One: ''Don't Stay''
A musician, the patient Linkin Park appears under the influence of the dissonance pioneer Marilyn Manson. Self-inflicted alienation a problem: Claims ''Sometimes I need to remember just to breathe,'' but calms down after an office window is opened.

Session Two: ''Somewhere I Belong''
Patient's ominously melodic muttering builds to cacophonous shouts of ''I want to let go of the pain I've held so long . . . somewhere I belong.'' More alienation? Mr. Park's comment, ''I can't justify the way everyone is looking at me,'' suggests diagnosis of paranoia.

Session Three: ''Lying From You''
Patient is worried that frequent delusional episodes may be ruining his personal relationships: ''The very worst part of you is me.'' Persistent references to ''condescending talk of who I ought to be'' signal he's losing self-confidence in sexual performance with women. Prescribing Viagra.

Session Four: ''Hit the Floor''
Cynical, self-indulgent comment of ''One minute you're on top, the next you're not'' may indicate fear of failure, or uncertainty in sexual roles.

Session Five: ''Easier to Run''
Session rife with pretty but disturbing echoes of Michael Jackson. Patient has discovered that pain, blame and shame rhyme.

Session Six: ''Faint''
The demon in Mr. Park's imagination now answers to ''Trent Reznor,'' or ''Nine Inch Nails.'' What is this Nine Inch Nails? Will check Freud's Interpretation of Dreams.

Session Seven: ''Figure.09''
More feelings of lost identity, ''giving up part of me, I've let myself become you.'' Borderline Oedipal.

Session Eight: ''Breaking the Habit''
Session a strange dichotomy of beauty and the ugliness of comments such as ''Memories consume, like opening the wound.''

Session Nine: ''From the Inside''
After some improvement in Session Eight, Mr. Park digressed to an angry howl of ''I won't waste myself on you.'' Full can of pepper spray required to subdue patient.

Session 10: ''Nobody's Listening''
Obvious plea for attention. The use of ''Yo'' is disturbing: Perhaps a second personality -- street-hip African-American rapper -- is emerging.

Session 11: ''Numb''
Patient opens session by proclaiming, ''I'm tired of being what you want me to be.'' Feels unable to live up to expectations, created by previous successes. Mr. Park is gently reminded that it's only rock music.

Final diagnosis:
In not one session did the patient, Linkin Park, fail to use scabrous words such as ''scar,'' ''wound, ''faithless,'' ''pretend,'' ''scream'' or various conjugations of ''lie.'' In four sessions, the word ''pain'' appears.

It is our professional opinion that the patient suffers from anxiety neurosis, paranoia, schizophrenia and general personality disorders characterized by a pervasive inability to cope with the problems of everyday life. In other words, Linkin Park's behavior is completely in line with the rest of its rap-metal, alt-rock brethren.

* * * * * * *

Guitarist Brad Delson, who sounds like a really nice, funny guy, called from his home in Los Angeles last week to explain the Linkin Park thing.

What are you hearing in those big headphones that you wear during shows? Basketball scores?
Actually, I'm listening to old episodes of C-Span. I like to stay current on all the old bills that have been passed through the House.

Why is every one of the songs on Meteora so angry?
Chester (Bennington) and Mike (Shinoda) write the lyrics, and they're both obviously coming from different experiences. But they need a common ground, maybe not in the specifics but in the emotions behind them. The first single, ''Somewhere I Belong,'' ends on an element of hopefulness that we haven't previously explored.

You are aware that the lyrics read like pages torn from a psychology textbook, right?
Mike and Chester want to be honest with their lyrics.

You sound like a pretty happy guy.
We're all pretty happy, which is kind of surprising when people meet us because the music is kind of dark. But we're all easygoing.

You turned the back of your tour bus into a recording studio on the last tour, and some of that material appears on Meteora. Did anything happen in the bus that you wouldn't want your mother to hear?
Since there wasn't a lot of room for anything else, I don't think much was going on besides making music. The touring lifestyle is pretty unglamorous, or unsalacious. We're trying to create a work environment that's professional. Live shows are a social thing, so people think it's a party all the time. But you're not boozing it up at work, are you?

No comment. In a fair fight on the Mudvayne tour bus, who would your money be on: Chud, Guug, Ru-D or Spug?
I haven't seen any of their fight moves yet. I'll give them each an equal shot.

So, no point spread yet. What's the first big thing you bought after you had some money?
A pair of diamond earrings. Except they're not real diamonds, they're fake. They're cubic zirconia, $25. Everyone says to me, ''Dude, those are pretty sweet, what'd you pay for them?'' And I just say, ''You don't want to know.''

Democrat and Chronicle


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