Sunday, July 19, 2009

Joy Division



I can't help it.

For all of its flaws, I've seen 'Transformers 2' twice now (click here to read someone else who also saw it twice), and I still get my kicks out of it. One of the reasons for that is the soundtrack. Watching it in the cinemas, I find myself thinking how similar it is to the first one. Not that it is a bad thing, no, but I figured that perhaps there would be a bigger progression between the films.

As I watched it, I kept thinking of Hans Zimmer and the Pirates trilogy. The first two films sounded really, really similar, but the third shot into stratosphere (to this day, I still listen to 'I Don't Think Now's A Good Time' for my scriptwriting stints). Upon closer inspection, I realised that the OST really comes into its own...on its own. I suppose the film version was a lot more uniform than I thought, but each track on the new OST really stands out and have its own identity. The structure is the practically the same...

...but I digress. This is not about the OST per se, but it is about the song from Linkin Park.

It has, of course, been out for a while before this, but while the tune was catchy enough, I never did actually listen to the lyrics. As the credits rolled up on the screen for the second time for me, I couldn't help this time but pay a little more attention to it, and it sounded...good.

While Linkin Park never really dropped off the radar for me, it's been a while since they've truly caught my attention. Looking back, I realised that it was way back on the much-maligned ReAnimation album that their song captivated. 'Pushing Me Away' was already rather good on the original 'Hybrid Theory' album, but the remix version moved it up a couple of notches. Slow build, with a big, angry climax, it was also the lyrics that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It speaks to me, somehow.

'New Divide' moves me in the same way. It's different, of course: the tempo's a lot more consistent from start to finish, and you could almost hear the Hans Zimmer of 'Black Hawk Down' mode. The lyrics, however, were the big winners; a catchy tune will tap my feet all day long, but the right lyrics will make me think. Perhaps more importantly, it will make me feel. Mentally and logically speaking, the song is a call for understanding, repentance, forgiveness, redemption, and a new start. But that's the part that made me think.

The part that made me feel was the second line of the second verse:

"There was nowhere to hide / the ashes fell like snow"

For some reason, a reason that I can't articulate, it struck me as beautiful. Ashes fell like snow. You can see it, you can imagine it right here, right now, even as you're merely reading it. Some lines really stick, and this...I can't just get the song, tune, theme, lyric out of my head, but I find the image it inspires to be absolutely irresistible. You can check out the acapella version here; the mark is 1:23. Also in this version, you hear every gasp of air that Chester takes. It's heavily mechanised, but you can feel the gulps of air that goes in. It makes you realise, in a way, how much this takes from him.

But it still doesn't beat "the ashes fell like snow." I don't know why. It has a familiar ring to it, and perhaps it has existed before in some other form, but not like this.

It's haunting, it's arresting, it's striking, it's beautiful.

Dammit, it's art.

I wish I had thought of it first...

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