Captain Marvel finally came out last weekend to smash success, shattering first week expectations. Set in the 1990s the film features an amazing soundtrack to match the film full of pop culture references like Blockbuster Videos, Gameboys, Troll Dolls and that dope vintage Nine Inch Nails shirt (the band is now selling a collabo item). In addition to the Elastica hit song ‘Connection’ heard in the trailer, the film features memorable 1990s tracks by megastars Nirvana, Garbage, Hole, Beck, R.E.M., Salt N Pepper featuring En Vogue, TLC, and No Doubt. The film also features other artists like Heart, Lita Ford, The Hunting Party, The Marvelettes in addition to The Captain Marvel Official Soundtrack Album score by Pinar Toprak. No word yet if the popular songs will be released as a soundtrack yet. The next film in the MCU series from Disney/Marvel Studios is Avengers: Endgame next month.
I’ve never been a fan of the phrase “guilty pleasure”. I think you either like something or you don’t, especially when it comes to music. Notwithstanding, admitting that you quite like Linkin Park is most definitely a time when the phrase can come in quite handy.
Since their debut album, the much purchased and much vaunted Hybrid Theory (Warner Bros.) graced us with its presence, Linkin Park have been a band for whom it has been very easy to dislike. Dependent on your point of view they have been described as “sell outs” “not metal” and, simply, “terrible”.
I’m not sure about whether The Hunting Party (Warner) is a return to rock as much as it is a return to Hybrid Theory– namely a bunch of highly efficient, energized songs that trade on all the leitmotifs that made this band famous and popular in the first place. And, you know what, I happen to think it’s alright, actually.
‘Keys to the Kingdom’ starts off in a fairly aggressive manner, the band seemingly re-energised and up for something akin to a fight. It’s as if they have reconciled themselves to the fact that they are never going to win over everyone and have settled for sounding, well, like Linkin Park.
If you don’t like Linkin Park, you’re unlikely to be swayed by the dozen tracks on offer here but, even if you are amongst the naysayers, you won’t fail to recognise that this is something approaching a return to the form that created the megastars in the first place. Of course, the entire record is filled with all the silly nonsense that you’ve come to expect from Messrs Bennington and co. Once again, the late 30-something multi-millionaires cast themselves in the role of eternal teenage outsiders railing against impending apocalypses, corrupt politicians and looking for the new horizons of better days etc.
Despite no cliché being actively overlooked, I still find myself warming to what’s on offer here. The debut single, the punchy and effervescent ‘Guilty All The Same’, with rap artist Rakim, has plenty of gusto and drive; second single, the more reflective ‘Until It’s Gone’ is, in the nicest possible way, ‘Numb’ part 2 which, to my mind, is no bad thing. Former System of a Down-er Darion Malakian turns in a really smart turn on one the album’s stronger cuts, the immigration tale of Rebellion; Page Hamilton and Tom Morello pop their heads and respective instruments in as well, which, as you all know, are also Very. Good. Things. Indeed.
I understand that I win no cool points on this one but I’m far too old to actually care about cool points. The Hunting Party is a highly polished and effective record. It is not a masterpiece, but neither is it a car crash. As an exercise in efficient, modern heavy metal, it’s pretty good. Yes, there, I said it. New Linkin Park album: pretty, pretty good.