Linkin Park’s singles can often inspire the question “haven’t they already written this song?” An mp3 that does the rounds from time to time mixes Numb (on the left) and Pushing Me Away (on the right) to illustrate this with almost comical effect: All Linken Park Songs Sound Exactly The Same
As shown below, and forgive the hyperbole, much more than they sound the same all Linkin Park songs look the same. And while it’s easy to criticize the band for their overuse of a formula that’s by now cliche, the similarity between their tracks at least holds a lesson on the importance of song arrangement in pop music production.
The Linkin Park Formula
The standard Linkin Park structure looks like this:
- Quiet intro: Each song has a relatively quiet two-measure intro.
- The instrumental kicker: The full band come in together on the down-beat, and play two or four high energy measures, usually instrumental.
- Quiet verse: The song eases off for a verse or two, heightening the dynamic contrast between the song’s sections.
- Heavy chorus: Usually the same chords established in the kicker, with Chester screaming over top for added emotion.
Here’s how it “looks” in practice. Each image below shows the audio level in (roughly) the first 90 seconds of a Linkin Park song. Note that I adjusted the tempo of a few tracks for better visual alignment:
Numb (on the left) and Pushing Me Away (on the right)
Linkin Park remixes with Korg TRITON, TRITON-Rack, MS2000 and Electribes
Propelled by a unique mixture of hip-hop with elements of alt metal, electronica and classic rock, the southern California quintet Linkin Park has gathered an enormous and diverse following. The band has remained in the Billboard Top 20 for more than 80 weeks, with more than 13 million albums sold worldwide and over 8 million copies of its debut CD, Hybrid Theory, sold in the U.S. alone. Hybrid Theory was nominated for three GRAMMY awards in 2002, winning the Best Hard Rock Performance GRAMMY for “Crawling.”
However, the members of Linkin Park are not content to rest on past successes. They have already embarked on a new project – a remix album of the songs featured on Hybrid Theory – to demonstrate the breadth of styles they can work in. Korg products rank prominently among the tools Linkin Park is utilizing for the remix album, including the ever-popular TRITON, TRITON-Rack, MS2000 and Electribes.
“We are experimenting with things that are not guitars, and that’s where the keyboard elements come in,” band MC Mike Shinoda commented. “It’s a very heavy sample and keyboard driven album. One piece of gear I’m using and like a lot is the TRITON-Rack – it’s really light and versatile. There are so many sounds and ways to manipulate those sounds to make them your own that you don’t just have to grab and use a stock sound. ” He continued, “I also used the Electribes a bit. I used the ESo1 in particular to manipulate vocals or beats. There are certain effects in there that you can’t get with other equipment.”
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