Does Mike Shinoda limit himself?

Discussion in 'Linkin Park Chat' started by AaronJxD, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. #1
    AaronJxD

    AaronJxD Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a common opinion that Mike is the most talented member in Linkin Park, and we've seen on occasions just how creatively brilliant he can be in regards to music, but these occasions don't seen to be very consistent, at least in terms of utter brilliance. As the guy who calls most of the shots and guides the band in terms of direction, does Mike limit himself, thus limiting the band?
     
  2. #2
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    I think the band members have an idea of what Linkin Park is, stylistically speaking, and they stick to it. Chester talking about how he can't write certain types of lyrics in Linkin Park, and how he feels more freed up in that respect working with Stone Temple Pilots, comes to mind.

    None of us can be sure, but I would guess personally that Shinoda is trying his level best on the rapping front and we're hearing the results of that.
     
  3. #3
    Louis

    Louis Message me if you need to talk. We love you all. LPA Team

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    I honestly feel the band holistically limits itself. A Thousand Suns might have been the only instance in which the band did nearly everything it could to defy any sort of expectations or standards, and even so, there may have been opportunities to go further than that. LIVING THINGS was a comfortable album, and I think The Hunting Party was much the same way. These albums feel, by and large, safe. I don't think we're really seeing the band by any stretch just looking to do what they might do in a vacuum, excluding any external influence. It's frustrating because you hear the band talk about not wanting to be what people want them to be, but you know that's what they're doing. It has to still sound like Linkin Park, in some way, and I think because the band lives in that world of wanting to sound like themselves while still kinda doing different things, we're never going to really hear anything particularly innovative.

    Part of the problem is that while I think a lot of fans like the fact that the band is putting out records on a pretty consistent basis (about every two years), I think that's hurting the band a lot. Three years between Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns produced a really satisfactory album that still might have been hurt by tight deadlines. I wish the band could just take the pressure off itself and say, "No, we're going to take about four years and put out something that we really like and isn't subject to any particular limitations and is deliberately another conscious move away from our comfort zone." The fact that the band's comfort zone on this last album was about, "Is Brad good enough to have consistent solos?" and "Can Rob drum this fast and this hard?" is kind of concerning to me as a fan, because that says a lot about how the band isn't pushing itself musicianship-wise. Sure, it paid off - we've seen that Brad had some great guitar work on the album and that Rob is a far better drummer than was ever let off in previous works - but The Hunting Party was not really a great album. It offered something new in the sense of the guitar-work and drum-work, but qualitatively, we got nothing new. We got the same mediocre lyricism, we got the same "I'm Mike and feel like I have to rap about my swagger" raps and the same "Where's Joe?" feeling and blah blah blah. The fact that there is a thread asking about where we can find some good bass lines from Phoenix, and that we can only pick out a handful of songs, makes me kind of sad. There is simply no time being given to thoughtfully consider where the band can truly create something refreshing, something daring, and something polarizing. There was a lot of that before A Thousand Suns, and even on Minutes to Midnight to some extent. We don't see it anymore.

    I don't think it's Mike specifically, though perhaps it could be. He brings most of the demos, and he said himself that the band tends to pick those demos to work on. Okay, but I'd love to see a bit more of what happens to those demos between the time they come out and the time they're put on an album. I'd love to see the lyrics on their first go and where they end up on their last go. I wish the band had done more to show us how the album was made, instead of releasing these foolish forty-second LPU clips that don't show us very much at all, because then at least we'd have an explanation as to why everything off of these last two albums feels so incredibly safe and restrained.

    I know this all sounds harsh, and kind of cruel perhaps, but I remember feeling so willing to defend A Thousand Suns to anyone who didn't like Linkin Park, because I could show them a piece of the album and they'd ask, "Wait, this is them? That's really different. They've changed." But, what am I to say now when it just sounds like the band switched out guitars with electronics on LIVING THINGS and then just turned up the amp and the tempo on The Hunting Party? And you know, especially when you know that the band is capable of so much more - that so much better lyrics have been written (even before Hybrid Theory), that more thoughtful songs have been crafted - that's what makes being a Linkin Park fan really frustrating sometimes.

    I dno, I'm sorry that turned into a rant - but this thread illuminated some of the frustrations I've been feeling with the band. It needed to get out somewhere.
     
  4. #4
    polleo

    polleo You're gonna carry that weight. LPA Super Member

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    I completely agree.
     
  5. #5
    Derek

    Derek LPAssociation.com Administrator LPA Administrator

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    Amen. This band had the potential to go in some completely wild directions after A Thousand Suns, but instead they became safer. The band might take something like that as an insult, but when you lay out out the way you did in the above paragraph, it's hard not to see where the band has limited themselves.
     
  6. #6
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    Most people would feel that that "Linkin Park-ness" is essential to the band being what they are, but, personally, the Linkin Park songs that I regard as their best ones are songs that which are only identifiable as Linkin Park because of Chester and Shinoda's distinctive voices. They are songs that I would still think are good if another artist had written and performed them.

    So I think, as you guys do, that they could go all-out and abandon that safe zone and be better for it. I like to think that it would bring out more of those songs that aren't just merely good Linkin Park songs but actually straight-up good songs.
     
  7. #7
    Agent

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    I would like to think he limits himself and that he's capable of more based on the fact that he's done some great stuff (ATS/FM) in the past.

    But he seems completely happy and content with mediocre projects like LT, THP, Steve Akoi collabs and even the new FM song. So I don't know. Maybe he's just fallen off.
     
  8. #8
    MattLP

    MattLP No control No surprise

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    Idc what anybody says, LP is mike shinoda's band, chester might be the lead singer, but mike is the master mind.
    And the rest of the band just hops on for what his plan is. LP have become a very "bi polar" band they cant seem to stay
    steady with one formula.
     
  9. #9
    Gibs

    Gibs The Prog Nerd Über Member

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    [​IMG]

    You really hit the nail on the head with the bit about the Phoenix Bass Thread.
     
  10. #10
    Iopia

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    This is a really well thought out response, and I completely agree.

    Just to add to it, I feel the problem is that they're too comfortable. They're perfectly happy writing more "Linkin Park" songs, and they're happy with where they are as a band. You'll notice throughout history that some of the greatest pieces of music were written when the composers were uncomfortable. Abbey Road was written when the Beatles all hated each other. The Wall was written because of Roger Waters' frustration with screeching stadium audiences. The only time LP have ever been frustrated like that is while writing Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns. Their frustration came from not wanting to be "that rap-rock band" anymore. Once they successfully got away from that, (and they admitted this during the Living Things cycle), they became comfortable to write whatever music came to them naturally, instead of pushing themselves to "de-Linkin-Park-ify" themselves. And at the end of the day, when they just write whatever comes to mind, a large proportion is going to sound "Linkin Park-y". It takes a lot more hard work to write in a style that you haven't done before, and they seem to be happy now to just write the music they're good at writing.

    The band have kept pushing themselves during the last two album cycles, as Mike has said hundreds of times, they'd get bored if they didn't, but I get the impression that their process now involves both experimenting and writing stuff they're used to, depending on their mood, whereas before they threw out anything that wasn't fresh and focused on 100% experimentation.

    I think most people here, myself included, prefer the older way, while the newer way is probably much less stressful and more enjoyable for the band, which they probably prefer right now. Forcing yourself to experiment is hard work, even if it produces great results. As a human being, I'm really glad the band is happy with where they are as a group, but as a music fan, I kinda wish there was a little more tension, frustration and competition in the band to drive creativity. Right now they seem to be stuck at the point where, to quote Mike IIRC, they're "comfortable in their own skin".
     
  11. #11
    Blackee Dammet

    Blackee Dammet Feminism Is My God Now

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    Truth be told Mike's rapping has never been much better than "pretty good". Kenji and Where'd You Go are highlights because of the emotional context, but as far as his actual rapping ability? Not really. As far as his ability to make overall musical output in regards to Linkin Park, I think he's more of a "throw it all at the wall and see what sticks" guy. ATS wasn't great but then he got scared and deliberately dialed it back, he went one way and, maybe through something as simple as boredom, went another. Rinse and repeat for a decade.

    His 'Could give a fuck' attitude towards trends or expectations post-Meteora is commendable and the end result is every so often you get gold, but I don't think he's a savant who's holding anything back, intentionally or otherwise. He'll just swing at everything and occasionally hits a home run.
     
  12. #12
    MattLP

    MattLP No control No surprise

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    It feels Mike's tough guy rapping is trying to get the rap community on the linkin park train. I just have a feeling the next LP record will have more rapping on it.
     
  13. #13
    MagmaXtreme

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    Have to agree as well with this constructive criticism. Basically LP are still following the same formula. Chester and Mike are delivering the same kind of performances on each album we expect, and while at times they may be trying something new, it doesn't quite push the envelope.

    I've mentioned before on this forum that the band seems comfortable now to the point that they're not pushing themselves so much. I remember when Chester talked about THP and mentioned how the album consisted of "good songs, and some of them are great songs.", and I get the sense that they're satisfied with making just 'good' music for the most part rather than going for the best they can be.

    I think to some extent though that the record label may have influenced the outcome of albums like THP as well, I mean can we say that UIG would have still been made for the album if LP was completely independent?


    At this point I think the band should take a well deserved break and enhance their musical repertoire collectively to come back with something really new and exciting, not just for them but also within the industry. However that doesn't look like that will happen as the next album is announced for 2016. I'd really rather not have them work to get more music with the same elements/attributes we expect out so soon, and instead properly examine and reinvent themselves artistically.
     
  14. #14
    MagmaXtreme

    MagmaXtreme Well-Known Member

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    His technicality hasn't evolved so much over the years but his lyricism, when comparing the verses on "Esaul" and the end of "And One" to recent works, has had quite a slip in quality overall...
     
  15. #15
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    If you're talking strictly about verbosity, then, sure.
     
  16. #16
    Søuł

    Søuł As rogue as they come

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    This pretty much sums it all up!
     
  17. #17
    MagmaXtreme

    MagmaXtreme Well-Known Member

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    There's also been a notable change in his vocabulary - often times he uses simpler phrases which are easier to digest though not as creative/clever. UIB might be one of the few exceptions in this case however.
     
  18. #18
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    Personally, I find that, with a few exceptions, the rap verses on "A Thousand Suns" (and a few of the rap verses more recent than that) resonate better with me than anything from the "Hybrid Theory" EP, and that's more important to me than how many words are used or how lengthy those words are. For me, just because a verse is technically better doesn't always mean that it connects.
     
  19. #19
    Moridin

    Moridin Death Contagious Deity

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    Good post Louis :chuck:


    That's interesting. I find it frustrating that they feel there needs to be a certain "type" of lyric. I guess that's part of the problem. Junk that, write the best you can.

    Also, the "Jack of all trades, master of none" thing that they do, I think they focus far too much on trying different sounds and not nearly enough on the songwriting itself. They push hard to sound different each time, but they rarely actually push the songwriting ahead, opting to keep things really basic.

    It's like they're trying to have it both ways, they don't want to be pidgeon-holed, but they also think the core songwriting can't change too much because..... reasons... Maybe they really worry about alienating people?

    I agree with the sentiment that they seemed to pull back after ATS, like the fan reaction gave the band a shock.

    So as far as Mike limiting himself, I guess maybe in terms of thinking the songs need a certain type of lyrical style. But he does take on so much of the creative side, pushing & experimenting with the sounds, I wonder how much creative energy he would have left to then push the songs themselves.

    So I'd like to see the others, Chester, Dave & Brad specifically, take more ownership of the band, instead of [seemingly] just leaving it up to Mike. Though it'd probably come down to Mike to open that door in the first place.
     
  20. #20
    minuteforce

    minuteforce Danny's not here, Mrs. Torrance. LPA Team

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    But the reactions to the last two albums haven't been much different. The reactions to the shows haven't changed.

    I think that, again, the band have this idea that they have to stick to x or their fans will be dissatisfied, but the fans are always unhappy. You can't change that no matter what you do, but the band plays it safe, coming closer to nu-metal than they've ever been this past decade. Shows that come off like desperate attempts to hold onto disinterested audiences (who inexplicably pay just to stand around groaning about how they'll leave after "Crawling" is done) using a myriad of old hits that nobody believes they still actually enjoy performing.

    Fort Minor fans, by contrast, are great. Shinoda does a risky solo show to essentially promote one song? With most of the set consisting of deep cuts and brand-new arrangements? No problem! They still know and love every song and, on top of that, they appreciate the experimentation. They'll be happy with whatever Shinoda decides to give them, and will be open to the idea of the project changing and evolving over time.

    My point is that I think at least some of us agree that Linkin Park have little or nothing to lose by not "limiting" themselves. Their fanbase is so fickle that it's a pointless endeavour anyway to actually try and win them through music. They win and lose fans with every album, so, in my opinion, they shouldn't be so precious about keeping that "Linkin Park-ness" in their songs; at the very least, they could start going crazy with their live setlists because their crowds look like they're watching paint dry no matter what's being performed. May as well just have fun.
     

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