What you are about to read isn’t much of an essay or an album review. It’s simply a painting of mine and a few thoughts…
Change is rarely ever easily accepted. I’m sure you agree. Moving into a new house is hard, and it takes a while to call this new house your home. Switching schools is difficult for any kid. My grandfather still firmly believes that a broom is a more functional cleaning tool than a vacuum cleaner, only because he refuses to adapt to change. Heck, I still have trouble accepting 3-D.
The same can be said for artistic direction. You know, you acquaint a particular art style with a particular artist… and you might love this artist for that style. And then, when the artist decides to experiment a bit, to try out something different… you lose it. You condemn the artist for moving into new waters. You command the artist to return to his original style. You restrict him. Dear reader, when I say ‘you’, I do not necessarily mean you. You know who you are.
Changes in Superhero costumes between films or comics are always scorned upon. When movie directors dare to craft films of genres beyond those expected of them, you hear things like, ‘So-and-so should stick to so-and-so-genre’. If a horror author tries his hand at romance, well, you get the idea.
I believe an artist must be given room to change. To venture beyond his or her usual domains. Diversity is necessary for any artist. That’s why I refuse to acknowledge some pop stars as artists. They refuse to grow. All their songs are the same, except for their lyrics. Now-a-days, even their lyrics are the same.
Whoever you are, I’m sure you know of Linkin Park. You must know of their new album, ‘A Thousand Suns’. You might even know about how some fans hate their new style, criticizing their new sound, their new subject matter, their departure from their rock, nu-metal sound…
A quick mosey through some online blogs and forums showed me comments like ‘LP’s 1000 suns is diarrhea to my ears!!!’ and ‘R.I.P., LP!’ and ‘I don’t knoe if itz worth w8ing 4 3 more yrs for LPs next album!!!’. And a lot more. Boy.
I wasn’t a fan of LP before ‘A Thousand Suns’, so maybe I have no right to ask fans to accept LP’s new direction. I tried giving ‘Hybrid Theory’ a quick listen… I found it very I’m-a-pissed-off-teen-and-the-world-is-against-me-ish.
‘A Thousand Suns’ inspires me. It creates bold, brilliant images in my head. It brought me to pages on the internet I wouldn’t normally read. It moved me. ‘A Thousand Suns’ isn’t just a collection of songs. It’s wholesome experience.
The album deals with themes of nuclear warfare, war in general, and uses quotes by various political personalities like Mario Savio, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Robert Oppenheimer.
Each song spins a different tale and tells a different story. The album doesn’t aim at dishing out catchy tunes and choruses for repeated radio play… it’s aim is evoking a mood, a sensation, in the listener. Linkin Park explains well in the booklet of the album, “We were not making an album… We asked ourselves: Were we all earnestly willing, more than ever before, to abandon the percepts of commercial ambition in pursuit of what we believe to be honest art?”
I know the word of a seventeen year old movie buff isn’t much, but I’ll say they were willing. Or at least that’s what the end product shows.
This, here, is a painting I did, heavily inspired by ‘A Thousand Suns’.
Apart from ‘A Thousand Suns’, I was also inspired by the graphic novel and great film ‘Watchmen’. The towering blue Vishnu/Krishna in my painting reminds one of Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan. Also, notice the doomsday clock on the hourglass. It might appear to be a ‘Minutes to Midnight reference, but it’s actually a prominent symbol from ‘Watchmen’.
Feel free to comment below, be it on the writing or the art.
Cinematic Jackass, signing off…