It is a long-standing joke in American society that the most massively absurd creations were certainly "designed by committee". While we're pulling from axiomatic folk wisdom we could easily invoke the "too many cooks in the kitchen" clause here as well (or some variation thereon which involves the spoiling of soup). So if one too many well intentioned and skilled chefs is a problem, imagine the trouble America would be in with, not one, but a whole boardroom full of souless marketdroid hollywood-wannabe music industry executives! With that introduction I present to you America's newest, cleanest, prettiest, yet angsty teen "rockers": LI\/\KIN PARK! A band designed by committee if there ever was one.

    The guidebook for our analysis of LI\/\KIN PARK (yes, it's officially spelled with a backwards "N", in starkly creative contrast to that other goatee metal-rap band that's spelled with a backwards "R") will be their massively popular hit single "In The End". But to set the stage I need talk about the following.

    There are bands and musicians in the world that change things. That rise up out of the swirling depths of the music being played by millions all around the globe. From time to time, like an evolutionary leap, a spark will ignite something special and a musician or a band will start to make a sound that makes everything that came before seem irrelevant. With some notable exceptions, the music industry often makes almost no money off of bands like this because they demand, and receive, respect and admiration from their audiences through channels which the industry doesn't control.

    The music industry, in response to genuine musical evolution, then sets off creating clones, and clones of clones, and clones of clones of clones, until all the credibility has bas been washed away and all of the profits wind up in the bank account of some portly CEO named "Clive" who rarely comes in from his golf game to sit in his cathedral like office at Mega Records Inc. To achieve his prosperity, Clive employs an army of vacuous bubble-headed, we-decide-what-the-new-cool-is, don't-mess-with-my-focus-group(or-my-Porche), stair-climber-in-the-office-riding, industry executives. It is these same people who brought you Kenny G, O-Town, Christina Aguilera, and their venomous brothers in television who keep insisting on bringing you "Big Brother" even though no-one has watched it since 1999. "Well if we could just 'retool' it a little and make it more like 'Survivor', or 'Charlie's Angels' or 'Springer' or any other show that anyone ever watched". It is this group of souless bastards that controls MTV and your FM dial, and their latest "if it were only a little more like..." financial bonanza is called LI\/\KIN PARK.

    Let's imagine the committee meeting together:

"Market research indicates that the lucrative teen girl market is already saturated with N*SYNC records, we need a new product, one that sparkles on MTV. What are our hottest acts right now?"

"Backstreet Boys, Limp Bizkit and Creed"

"But to create a combination that sinister, we'd have to genetically engineer some cute teenage boys that could be both remote controlled by skilled choreographers AND 'rock out' convincingly. Speaking of rocking out, I got the new Bryan Adams CD 'Mellow Gold' and turned it up loud! Why my cute little fru fru poodle "Freddie Prinze" must have thought I was going to start headbanging! Whatever that is." *

{hearty laughs of agreement from around the room}

"I agree that the new Bryan Adams CD 'rocks hard' but over at CBS records all their 'rockin' bands wear scary masks and have misspelled names. We'll have to use those touches to compete in the credibility sniffing 18-23 year old male market"

"Brilliant, so we'll get some band of good looking teenagers off the street, or just hire models, and put a backwards "N" in their name! The cyclotron electronic name generator suggests "LI\/\KIN PARK!"

"Now I've gotta run to my herbal enhanced Ty-Bo acupress-a-massage. We'll talk."

    I expect that you think I am exaggerating. As evidence I present to you the song "In The End" by LI\/\KIN PARK.

    The song begins with a piano melody, which segues into a hilariously serious rap. Now, we're not talking about the vocal flourishes and personalized stylings of other white-boy rappers such as Eminem, or even {shudder} Fred Durst**- here we're talking about the plain... well... vanilla flavor of Vanilla Ice quality rhyming.

One thing...
doesn't even matter...
how HARD you TRY

    It sounds like Karaoke and it goes on for ages like that. All the while there's an intentionally creepy high-pitched guitar line wallowing about. This is lifted straight from Limp Bizkit who, in turn, stole it from Korn. Speaking of Korn, my favoite thing about LI\/\KIN PARK is that in their videos they do the little Korn dance! They bend way over so their guitars are hanging nearly to the floor, then they bob up and down without ever standing up. I love it! What is this, the 60s? When people actually stole dance moves from each other. I love it. Ha ha ha.

    Okay so we've made our way past the limp verse, and into the thick bellowing chorus. Pretty generic fare, I guess, and not much to complain about. You could call it Creed, except with the voice of a 16 year old, but this is wholly uninteresting when compared to the crowning moment of the song: the vocal bridge. Do you remember in that committee meeting that one of the blondes mentioned N*SYNC?

"Too Crazy!" you say?
"They'd never go that far!" you object?

    For your listening pleasure I submit the following audio clip ( ). It's amazingly shameless, a special little "he's the cute one" vocal solo so overtly in the style of N*SYNC that I wonder if they didn't have to rent one of the boys' handlers to produce this bit. Thrash Metal, indeed. It's not that I'm against genre-bending, it's just that the hopeless trend chasing is pure comedy. I imagine the poor lads in the band probably cringed when it was forced on them like Dilbert cringes when the PHB want to add a new "feature" to a project. If you haven't listened to that clip yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. If that doesn't make you laugh, I can't imagine what would.

    LI\/\KIN PARK. It's orig-i-fortified and cred-i-liscious!

* Note that credit for the Bryan Adams joke goes to a non-noder friend.
** I can't believe that I just accused someone of having less credibility than Fred Durst. Something is deeply wrong here.
Thank You to everyone who submitted ideas for hardlinks in the innovation / credibility paragraph.
Thank You, as well, to Linkin Park fans for tolerating a critical point of view, and not firebombing my house.

Orange Julius: You are wonderful! Thank you for a great writup and for reminding people to enjoy music. That's an important thing to remember in the face of critisism in a performance/subjective/art arena. As for the critisism itself, however, would you argue that the rapping here is, in fact, of high quality?