Whenever my main last.fm chart is criticized, Linkin Park is usually the first target. I stand by my music collection, and this is my defense of Linkin Park:While I admit that their new material is junk, Hybrid Theory/Meteora-era Linkin Park had a unique sound in modern hard rock that set them apart, even amongst other nu-metal bands. People scoff, but it’s true. When I was really in to nu-metal, I tried finding any band that sounded like Linkin Park, and there simply weren’t any. Linkin Park had: the hip-hop element brought in by Mike Shinoda; the electronic overlays from Mr. Hahn; the slow, melodic guitar playing from Brad Delson. There are some nu-metal bands that had bits and pieces of this, but never all three at once. And while people complain that Linkin Park’s songs all sound the same, the one thing I can tell you is that no one sounds like Linkin Park. Despite being repetitive and formulaic, Linkin Park had a really good sound. I think they take a lot of unwarranted heat from the disapproval of nu-metal in general. People seem to get caught up on the fact that nu-metal bands were a bunch of grown men dressing and acting like teenagers, but in all honestly, compared to the post-grunge rubbish at the time, can anyone really say that despite its presentation, nu-metal was unoriginal? If you take any group of nu-metal bands, such as Linkin Park, System of a Down, Disturbed, and Sevendust, you’ll find their sound to be much more diverse than a group of post-grunge bands (Puddle of Mudd, Three Days Grace, Hinder, and Seether all sound the same, for example). Indeed, compared to most of modern hard rock, nu-metal was progressive, and Linkin Park was progressive among them. Is Linkin Park the most complex or interesting music I listen to? No. I don’t consider them a guilty pleasure, either. It is more reasonable to compare them to an everyday meal one eats to provide a baseline for higher quality foods. You’d get bored with fine dining if you had it every day, so you’ll often just cook something simple at home. A guilty pleasure, such as Lady Gaga, would be like eating Twinkies as part of your dinner. The next time you’re feeling bored with the highly technical music you listen to and feel like looking into hard rock, before you turn on something bad like Theory of a Deadman, try nu-metal, and try Linkin Park. For something supposedly mainstream, you’ll be surprised at its quality.