Once the glorious era of the 90s passed, rock no longer knew what it wanted to be. We had a few legacy genres like nu metal and pop punk making a comeback, but the new version of rock and roll was still taking off. Even as rap took over the charts, the sounds of loud guitars and anthems to throw your fist in the air could still hold their own.
In each of these songs, you can hear the rock and roll turn into something different. Although some songs are indebted to the past, the beauty is how they turn them into something much more modern. This was also around the time where you saw different album rollouts, leading to songs that veered towards something a lot more epic than just numeral riffs played for three minutes.
These people were storytellers and they were going to use everything in their power to make the best song possible. You can call it lightning in a bottle if you like, but it’s more than just being in the right place at the right time. There was a certain magic between those notes, and those musicians happened to be the ships that managed to record it.
Most adult kids of the 2000s probably don’t really like to revisit their nu metal days so often. Despite all the heaviness that came from these groups, there was also quite a bit of moaning, which made these acts sound more like children complaining about anything and everything. However, not all bands aimed to throw a pity party, and every once in a while they would hit something pretty deep.
While people like to bitch on Linkin Park for the moodiness of a song like Crawling, Breaking the Habit is where you start to see that pain come into sharper focus. Compared to other nu metal bands that have come before them, this song is oddly understated, taking time to sprawl as Chester Bennington talks about battling his sanity and trying to cut the cycle of self-hatred with which he continues to live day after day. . With just a little guitar riff pushing things along and bringing in some strings, there’s an added layer of drama here, as if we’re seeing Chester’s pain and depression spells unfold in real time.
This isn’t another nu metal song with a sad ending either, as the final verse loops back and forth and Chester talks about finally finding some clarity and articulating his feelings in a healthy way. It wouldn’t be enough for his demons to catch up with him later, with Chester dying by suicide years after his release. It must not have been easy dealing with that kind of pain, but writing songs like this is what has helped millions of his fans for years.