Single Review: Linkin Park – ‘The Catalyst’

Ahh, the art of naming a song with a title that isn’t heard in the lyrics… it’s a dying art, I’ll tell you now.

Well, a catalyst is defined in the Collins 21st Century Dictionary as “the singular or numeral fundamentals of a process”, so maybe Linkin Park have something big planned, hmm?

The title draws a different sketch within the music; almost an act of pomposity by demanding it’s audience read deeper into the song, it makes you think more about what the song has to say, because at the end of the rampaging instrumentalism, the lyrics to ‘The Catalyst’ are slightly vague.

“God bless us everyone/We’re a broken people living under loaded gun”… what does it mean? Well, if I were to say it was a concept explored to never-before-seen ends (in mainstream music) in Coldplay’s ‘Violet Hill’, would that help? Or maybe Muse’’s ‘Uprising’? Got it yet?

Yep, the song is about corrupt governmental acts and how they crush the hopes of the poor and needy, but however hard they try, the one thing they can’t crush, is our spirit. It’s that kind of story y’know? Something deeper than what makes up 98% of the Top 100 right now, which means this song has a limit of maybe… #36, before it slips up and plummets down the charts, declining 20 places every week or something absurdly underappreciated like that.

A song about governmental flaws such as communism and being corrupt is a heavy deal. At the heart, it carries a lot of angst and pain, but Linkin Park have managed to overcome this kind of sentimentality by the sheer ferocity of the whole song, it’s furious guitars and stomping drums prove to us Linkin Park mean business, they’re leading a battalion of mis-treated souls to de-throne those who’ve done them wrong.

‘The Catalyst’ starts with Chris Bennington shouting/singing as if his lyrics were a call to arms, declaring people to rise up out of the pits and strike back and the Fat Cats and the people who don’t work yet enjoy a lavish lifestyle. And from then on, it’s a six-minute anthem of pure aggression and rage, it’s incessant chanting and political challenges recalling the sound of Muse and Green Day.

It channels influences of electronica over a pulsing synth riff as Chris’ vocals reach all new highs, conveying the anger and protest in every gruff, strained syllable. So whilst Muse and Coldplay had the songs and the lyrics on a similar level, none of them articulated the lyrics to fit a sound of an actual uprising – Chris is barely managing to pronounce things properly at the volume of his shouting – “Oceans bleed into the skeurh-ahhh [read: sky]”.

For such a dramatic song, a dramatic video is needed to accompany it, and Linkin Park have provided one. It’s actually more artistic and futuristic than it first looks as it shows the world from the point of view when nothing is left – the resources have been used up and the town’s a smog-filled wasteland, left barren and derelict when it’s people fled in fear.

But if that’s all very depressing to you, fear not, as Chris has decided to stick around and do some arty things whilst lying in a puddle.

Is that powder paint used towards the end? Someone ring Ke$ha…

It’s a very powerful six minutes your in for if you whack this on, from the outset, it storms it’s way through electronic production, with it’s efficacious lyrics of revolt and it’s crescendo towards the end, it’s a brilliant modern rock song, I just find it a shame that many will not respect how good it actually is.

Rating: 4.5 STARS

Download: September 6, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘A Thousand Suns’

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