evo·lu·tion (noun) from Merriam-Webster:
“a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth”
When you consider the word evolution in music, it brings to mind musicians that have transcended genres they themselves created. Groups like The Beatles and artists like Trent Reznor are examples of artists who have developed and honed their work through years of dedication. The music created during their beginnings bears little resemblance to later works simply due to a slow progression culminating in a polished and deliberate creation.
For a band that defined genres and broke down barriers, Linkin Park catches a lot of grief from self-proclaimed music connoisseurs. Fair or unfair, the California-grown alternative metal group is the go-to band as the butt of jokes about angst-ridden teenagers who are both too awkward and too emotional to properly deal with their grief. Fortunately for Linkin Park, however, there are those of us who can both appreciate the jokes and appreciate the music.
When Linkin Park made their national debut with the release of Hybrid Theory back in 2000, they carved their place in a movement that would become known as “nu metal“. Hybrid Theory combined elements of industrial sound and hip hop structure, with smatterings of electronica to create something truly unique. A remix album, Reanimation was released two years later, cementing the idea of a group that wasn’t afraid to continuously change their sound, even going so far as to allow other artists to apply their own interpretations.
2003 saw the release of Meteora, which was very similar in style to the group’s previous offerings. Linkin Park then took a detour in 2004 with rapper Jay-Z for the Collision Course mashup. The story changed with the 2007 album Minutes to Midnight, however, which took a decidedly more rock turn, and even threw in a ballad for good measure. The album contained very little in the way of rock-rap, with vocalist Mike Shinoda rapping on only two tracks. With their 2010 album A Thousand Suns, Linkin Park utilized synth and dance-bass lines in a creative blend with their signature rock style.
It seemed as though with every new album Linkin Park would just keep creating new ways to tell their tale, and earlier this year they did it again with Living Things, a musical culmination of the greatest sounds and themes the band has ever made. With this album, they came full circle, returning to the nu metal sound, and adding numerous other elements to the fire.
If history is any indication, we should expect the group to reinvent themselves yet again in about two years.