The Hunting Party – Strangest Reaction

As you may, or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Linkin Park for a long time. The only album of their’s that I do not like is Hybrid Theory. The more I listen to Hybrid Theory, the more I dislike it. Last month, they put out a new album titled The Hunting Party. This album officially became the first album that I hate. And I don’t like saying that, because I want to like it. I want to find something good about this album but just when I start to dig a song, it takes a really weird turn for the worst. I don’t think an album has ever weirded me out, and made me so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sit still, until now.

Linkin Park’s 5th album, Living Things, was not their best, but I like it. I can see where it needs improvement, but that doesn’t hurt the overall quality. I actually can say that about all of their previous albums, even Hybrid Theory. I definitely can’t say that about The Hunting Party. And I didn’t make it pass Mark the Graves, after that one I stopped listening. I just couldn’t anymore. Now, my discomfort could be partially due to my hypersensitivity, because there are certain sounds at certain frequencies I can’t handle, and they give me the heeby-jeebies. But every single song I listened to had these weird sounds I couldn’t tolerate. Does anyone else feel this way?

It sounds like they were trying too hard to do something, and I’m not even sure what that something is. Is this a punk rock album? A heavy metal album? A rap/rock album? An attempt at sounding like the love child of Metallica and System of a Down? An… album?

“But A Thousand Suns was weird!” No, it wasn’t. A Thousand Suns was an album of epic proportions. It said something, it did something and it pushed the envelope. I am writing this not more than ten minutes after listening to most of The Hunting Party and I don’t even remember the lyrics. I don’t even understand the songs. I’m all for simple lyrics, after all, I grew up listening to Motown. Simplicity can be profoundly moving and even philosophical, but The Hunting Party never did that. The lyrics are so generic that they’re empty.

I’m all for bands switching up rolls. My favorite is 2NE1’s song Clap Your Hands (bakksu chyeo), in which Park Sandara raps. I don’t think any 2NE1 fan had ever heard her rap before that single came out. It was not only different, but it sounded great. She has a natural reggae voice, and since it’s a reggae song, it worked well. This is a great combination of a singer with plenty of self-confidence to try something new, and a great producer.

Why did Mike Shinoda try to sing like Chester? I think over the last 14 years it has been clearly established that Mike is not a rock singer, and resembles a dying cat if he screams. I don’t even remember what song this took place on… I only remember that it happened, and I think my brain is desperately trying to make it unhappen. Now all I can think of is Mike’s old blog entry about seeing The Happening, and leaving the movie theater because it was so bad. Well, I left the album.

I think my strange reaction is also due to a very old fanfiction I read many years ago about Mike Shinoda going totally insane and making this weird punk/industrial rock music, and The Hunting Party sounds like a real-life manifestation of this story. I think we’ve gone so deep into the insanity realm here, that we can’t get out. We’re screwed.

4 Responses

  1. You NEED to give the last song, A Line In The Sand, a listen, tho. They recorded part of it during A Thousand Suns times and you can absolutely hear that. It’s the only song from THP I still regularly listen to. The slower parts of it are motherfucking GORGEOUS, like, gorgeous enough for me to put up with the faster parts (which feel a bit forced and… well, Chuz just CAN’T scream the way that would fit the song, he doesn’t have the Angst in him anymore :/ so he just sounds pissed, which doesn’t quite fit Mike’s ABSOLUTELY FUCKING GORGEOUS part).

    The rest of the album… well, since I followed the process a bit I was prepared that most songs were going to be fast. And since the Hybrid Theory fans on Tumblr were already sh… ruining their pants in excitement, I actually expected to hate THP with a burning passion (especially since Recharged already prepared me, that LP are totally able to release awful garbage), but I didn’t pull a disgusted face while listening to it, so I was pleasently surprised (here is my first reaction to it: … I was still a bit traumatized from their awful Rock am Ring performance a few days earlier, which consisted of 95% lame medleys, btw).
    To me it’s all in all a very ok album, but it didn’t really click with me. Like, I don’t feel like listening to it, but neither do I always automatically skip the songs from it when they come up on my mp3 player. I like Final Masquerade for the Bennoda, but the only track I absolutely ADORE is A Line In The Sand.
    I don’t expect the band to ever make something as mindblowing as A Thousand Suns again, where I STILL sometimes lay down and just listen to the whole album in one go because it is just THAT good, and where I listened to it on a daily basis for almost a year or so after its release. I kind of still headcanon that Mike had a nervous breakdown back then and that’s why they don’t take much risks anymore, because he’s afraid to break down again… would also explain why their lyrics are kinda, well, shallow on some newer songs.

    • In response to your last paragraph, that’s what I was thinking about Mike. The lyricism just fell apart this time. I don’t remember ANY of the lyrics besides “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Also why I mentioned that fanfiction. And I was totally digging Mark the Graves until they started doing those weird pauses between guitar riffs, and it actually had an ATS sound until they did the weird shit.

      • For some very odd reason most reviewers have said they got the strongest ATS vibe from Until It’s Gone, which to me is one of the weakest songs (with some of the weakest lyrics) from the album and completely lacks the multi-layered epic feeling ATS had, but all they seem to have heard was “ah, electronic stuff” and that’s where it ended for them.
        Most stuff on THP is pretty catchy, tho, imo, and some stuff might sound great live, but… yeah, well, what I said in my first comment…….. (who knows, maybe Chester was more involved in writing the lyrics than he usually already is? ;P also I heard or read somewhere that some of the other guys, at least Brad, tried their luck writing lyrics, too, this time).

        I mean, it’s cool they didn’t have an external producer this time and all, but maybe, just maybe, that’s something they could’ve needed. Someone to kick their asses when they don’t push themselves to their limits enough :/ I mean, it was ok with Living Things, because they wanted to find a middle way between the things they learned with ATS and what they felt was “their” sound, but THP was supposed to be something more “interesting” they didn’t hear elsewhere these day, and for that purpose, it absolutely lacks something imo. I don’t know how I’d feel about it if I would’ve actually expected to like it (instead of, you know, not expect anything, which was what I did).

        Ok, I’m rambling again even tho we seem to agree anyway 😉 you know what I mean

        • To me, the strongest ATS vibe is A Line in the Sand.

          I was really looking forward to LP not having a producer, and I even praised Mike for that on his blog when he wrote about it. Now I see why that was a bad choice… lol.

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