Released: February 16, 2017
Okay, so here’s the catch; Nu-metal band Linkin Park premiered their new single “Heavy” yesterday, with featuring artist Kiiara by their side. Yup, part one done. Second catch; the accompanying visual is exactly what I expected from the band; something mystical, something subliminal—in a way—and a tinge… well, a complete punch of futuristic elements that only evolves their imagery even more? Yup, ticked that off my check list. But what about the sound? Well, that’s just a new story to tell.
“Heavy” is a… how you say, “alternative” pop number… yes, a pop number. It’s a track that emphasizes a more relaxed and subtle sound that has once debuted back on a couple songs back on their most recent/previous records, but unlike those songs, “Heavy” pushes that relaxing vibe a lot more with a contemporary drum machine, soothing piano riffs and complimentary synths and keyboards in the composition. To me, this is a very similar experience that a lot of other modern bands/musicians/songs these days. But apart from that, I think the most shocking revelation was frontman Chester Bennington; when he started singing, I was lost… then found… then lost again. Like, I swear, I honestly asked myself “Is that Chester? Really? The loud extreme vocalist from back in that era where we dressed in overly baggy pants, jerseys, etc.?” I honestly couldn’t get my head around it; his rhythmic vocals, alongside singer Kiiara, were so distracting (in a good way though).
Now finally, here’s the catch. Upon its release, the track has brought a lot of attention for both good and bad reasons, mostly because this is a band whom once helmed the iconic nu-metal genre during the start of the 21st century, who have NOW just sung over a chilled pop track. I can understand the many frustrations, especially if you anticipated what you wanted, but got the unexpected. Yes, fair enough and understanding. But to be honest, I’ve followed Linkin Park since their hey-day, so I’m a semi- fan of their work (both nu-metal and contemporary elements, and the result of having brothers that constantly blasted it on the speakers throughout the early 2000s), but I can honestly say that I enjoyed the song very much. I think it’s yet another expansion of their experimental phases, and is actually very progressive within their-new set genre (well, not technically set but only for now).
Now here me out; I’m a fan of Japanese music til’ death and I’ve followed many artists/bands and their work since their debut, or since the start of 2010s and listened to their music in chronological order (Okay, I ain’t going drastic here). And to this day, I’m still a fan of all their work but let me tell you; some artists barely even escape their own mindset; sometimes it gets too dated, and sometimes from a fans perspective, you feel that a change is in dire need. (I ain’t hinting no names, cause no shade will be thrown today) Because overtime, the innovation starts to drop; the creativity just feels streamlined, and it might as well feel like your going to go to the coffin with their music (no shade). So I appreciate Linkin Park’s experimentation, even though I will say that the song DOES get a little too similar to acts out on the charts, cause the chorus sounds too familiar to put my tongue on a definite similarity.
Overall, “Heavy” may have an “ironic” title and quite a big departure for fans to handle, but it’s actually a good song. The production is refreshing, the narrative is quintessential Linkin Park, and their ability to dive into new genres is inventive for them. Like I said, I understand the ultimatum of everyone’s frustration towards the track because its reasonable, but I also enjoyed how the band keep evolving and not staying so focus on one genre anymore. To me, this was a long-time coming, and it shows a lot more maturity in their sound as well. But having said this, I would like their classic nu-metal sound to re-appear on their upcoming album One More Light as I do feel it is quite overdue (is that an understatement?), but if not, I’ll probably still enjoy this effort for the time coming.