WHAT YEAR IS IT: New Linkin Park, Papa Roach songs are good

The sixth-grade version of myself loved Linkin Park and Papa Roach. As the years went on I distanced myself more and more from their music, putting them into the guilty pleasure category like we all do when we grow out of the music we listened to in our adolescence. But in 2017, I have to say: Linkin Park and Papa Roach both dropped some pretty dope tunes.

First, Linkin Park. My friend Caitlin brought this song to my attention. The track “Heavy” features rising electropop artist Kiiara, whose 2016 track “Gold” was one of my favorites of last year. Good on Linkin Park for sharing their massive platform with someone who is just getting their start and who is very good.

I don’t love the beginning of this Linkin Park song, it’s a little too Chainsmokers-ish for me. But as it approaches the chorus it begins to grow on me a lot. The chorus showcases lead singer Chester Bennington’s underrated vocal range before Kiiara comes in to bring a bit more depth to the song on the second verse and her own rendition of the chorus. This is a pretty damn good song.


In a Feb. 16 interview with Billboard, Linkin Park founding member Mike Shinoda discussed how the band changed up their writing process on their upcoming new album One More Light – due out May 19.

The thing that really drove this album was we kind of flipped our writing process backwards. Historically for us the (instrumental) track usually comes first, like we’ll make a body of music and the music will inspire the lyrics. In this case we actually flipped that around and the very first thing we’d do each day is we’d get into the studio and say, “What’s on my mind? What do I want to sing about and write about” and that defined a whole different kind of writing. It builds a wonderful foundation to put everything else on top of. And the soundmaking is actually one of the most fun parts for me, so then it’s like icing on the cake. I know I’ve got a strong song, a strong foundation and then it’s just icing to put on top of it.

Next, Papa Roach. I still fuck with their first two albums, and some tracks from their later releases. But their new song “Help” is arguably the best thing they’ve put out since 2004’s Getting Away with Murder. Even the band noted on Twitter the other day that critics and casual listeners of their music had to acknowledge the song is good. Count me as one of the casual listeners who is doing that right now.

Papa Roach lead singer Jacoby Shaddix taps into the emo genre with the opening words before returning to the band’s grimy and distorted guitar sounds that made them blow up more than fifteen years ago. In an interview on Rock 105.5 in North Carolina, Shaddix discussed what he thinks their upcoming album will sound like.

“We like to say that the album itself, the full-length record, is like if Infest[2000], our first album, had sex with Getting Away With Murder [2004] and they had a child, this would be the record. Because with a track like “Help,” that song kind of harkens back to “Scars,” but it’s a little bit more, I guess, uptempo and upbeat that ‘Scars’ is, but just the juxtaposition of this… ‘Cause it’s in a major key, so it sounds kind of upbeat and happy, but the lyrics… It’s just a dark anthem, and I like that juxtaposition. And we tapped into that on a track like “Scars” back in the day, and we were, like, ‘All right. Let’s see if we wrote something in a major key again.’ We’ve done that with songs like ‘Lifeline’ in the past. And so, yeah, it’s got a little element of some old school with some new school. And I’m just excited for everybody to hear the record in its entirety, because it takes you on a ride. I’m rapping on more than half the record, and then there’s tracks that are just… It’s all over the place.

So yeah, in 2017 I am fucking with Linkin Park and Papa Roach again and am low-key excited to see what else they’ve got up their sleeves.