The Catalyst – Linkin Park

Earlier this week, Linkin Park released “The Catalyst,” first single from their newest album. “A Thousand Suns” is to be released in mid-September, so this gives fans and critics alike plenty of time to take this first morsel of Linkin Park creativity and enjoy it. It should get us pumped up to go out and buy it, despite the slight letdown that Minutes to Midnight was.


And then, there was this:

I didn’t like it at all upon first listen. It debuted on the morning show I listen to on the way to work, with most listeners calling in saying they didn’t like it at all. This was my initial reaction as well.

I gave it a few more listens, and my opinion of it is improving, gradually.

The of electronia melody and synthetic beats, while not really entirely new to the LP brand of music, is much too prevalent- at least for a single. There are plenty of songs in the LP catalog that make great use of sampling by the band’s mixer. What has made them great in the past is HOW Chester’s piercing voice and lyrics combine with Mike Shinoda’s clever rhymes. How samples of violin (Faint) and woodwind instruments (Nobody’s Listening) come together with their talented musicians on guitar, bass, and drums. Or how rap and rock come together to form EPIC songs (In the End, One Step Closer)

LP can be raw emotion (Crawling), a screamfest (Given Up) or a gentle reflection (My December). The most important part of every song LP writes is the cohesion of the parts, because there are so many. The cohesion of instrumentation with computer generation. The cohesion of genres. (Collision Course, wth Jay-Z)

Now don’t get me wrong, “The Catalyst” is not a bad song at all. It just isn’t great, and it doesn’t set any sort of expectation for the album. Then of course, perhaps this was done on purpose.

I’d even venture to say that it is a very well written and produced song, harboring an industrial, futuristic sound. The song seems to take the form of a prayer for humanity in the backdrop of a chaotic near apocalyptic setting- a setting where even the non believer might have no resort but to pray for salvation when humanity’s sophistication becomes the supreme oppressive weapon. The electronic melody towards the end of the song fades away and all that is left are words and piano.

“The Catalyst” is a prologue, and nothing more. I don’t know why this song was chosen as a single. This is the type of song that as you’re listening to the entire album you stumble upon and you’re like, “Hmm, that’s different. It’s not bad at all. It’s kind of catchy, almost infectious.” This song does NOT get my excited for the album. It is a new direction, but I would hardly call it refreshing or ground breaking.

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser

One Response

  1. …..if it came on the radio, I might change it…it kind of just sounds like noise upon first listen.

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