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OKCrew

Why ‘Hands Held High’ is So Special

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On upon first glance/listen, there are obvious reasons. The unique use of organ and marching drum patterns matched with the most political Shinoda raps ever heard at the time (arguably since ‘Kenji’); all six bandmates harmonizing in choir-like fashion. It was also the first time we heard Mike and Chester harmonize lead vocals on a studio track, in those final four measures.

 

But what makes the song even more special is that it is also the only song ever with strings arranged by David Campbell, co-production with Rick Rubin, AND Mike rapping all on one track, despite the frequency in which the three collaborated.

 

David Campbell arranged the strings on both “Faint” and “Breaking the Habit” off Meteora, as well as "Remember the Name," "Feel Like Home," "Cigarettes" and "Slip Out the Back" off The Rising Tied.

 

We all know Rick Rubin co-produced MTM, ATS, and LT, but out of those 3, the only album that still had string arrangements by David Campbell was MTM.

 

The only songs off MTM with Campbell’s string arrangements were "Leave Out All the Rest", "Shadow of the Day", "Hands Held High", "The Little Things Give You Away", and "No Roads Left.” The only song out of those with Shinoda raps? HHH 🙌🏻

 

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk

 

 

Edited by OKCrew

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I think it's time for the band to return to strings-oriented songs like you mentioned. Imagine a full album of strings/orchestra (ala Viva La Vida) would be an interesting take for the band with a mix of folk and acoustic. 

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1 hour ago, RYG4R said:

I think it's time for the band to return to strings-oriented songs like you mentioned. Imagine a full album of strings/orchestra (ala Viva La Vida) would be an interesting take for the band with a mix of folk and acoustic. 

 

I 100% agree!

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3 hours ago, RYG4R said:

I think it's time for the band to return to strings-oriented songs like you mentioned. Imagine a full album of strings/orchestra (ala Viva La Vida) would be an interesting take for the band with a mix of folk and acoustic. 

 

Big fan of this idea.

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Blackbirds also had strings, was shown on the DVD. Was even referred to as the 6th string song back in the day before we knew what the song was.

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2 hours ago, Garret said:

Blackbirds also had strings, was shown on the DVD. Was even referred to as the 6th string song back in the day before we knew what the song was.

 

Garret you’re absolutely right! Blackbirds is the one other song thay fits the Rubin/Campbell/rapping Mike criteria! Since it was never an album release, the “personnel” of the song is harder to find but we def saw Campbell arranging the strings for it on the making of ‘M2M’ DVD

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5 hours ago, Hahninator said:

 

Big fan of this idea.

 

I was always dreaming about them doing MTV Unplugged concert back when MTV was still doing it or at least somewhere perform few songs with live orchestra or so it would be EPIC. 

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3 hours ago, sordomuda said:

 

I was always dreaming about them doing MTV Unplugged concert back when MTV was still doing it or at least somewhere perform few songs with live orchestra or so it would be EPIC. 

 

Yeah I’ve always thought about that too. The only performances I can think of with live strings are when Phoenix would play the cello at the end of My December, Numb/Encore/Yesterday at the 06 Grammy’s, and the celebration of Chester’s life show

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On 12/14/2019 at 2:05 AM, OKCrew said:

 

I 100% agree!

 

On 12/14/2019 at 3:32 AM, Hahninator said:

 

Big fan of this idea.

 

I find it interesting honestly. After listening to LT, RECHARGED, and OML, it's starting to feel bloated. A stripped down folk, acoustic, strings-oriented record would be a breathe of fresh air. Final Masquerade (acoustic), Primo, Devil's Drop, Three Band Terror and Sharp Edges were heading into that direction. We need more of that. 

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On 12/13/2019 at 8:00 PM, OKCrew said:

 

Yeah I’ve always thought about that too. The only performances I can think of with live strings are when Phoenix would play the cello at the end of My December, Numb/Encore/Yesterday at the 06 Grammy’s, and the celebration of Chester’s life show

they played My December, Pushing Me Away, Crawling (w/ Aaron Lewis), and In The End acoustically during AAC Night 2 in 2001. A Place For My Head had an acoustic intro as well 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Scourge said:

they played My December, Pushing Me Away, Crawling (w/ Aaron Lewis), and In The End acoustically during AAC Night 2 in 2001. A Place For My Head had an acoustic intro as well 

 

Woah this is freakin awesome! I never realized Phoenix played the cello on anything other My December or Crawling (live or otherwise). That Pushing Me Away was amazing. Thanks for sharing

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Hands Held High is an amazing song. It’s the ultimate anti-war song IMO. The lyrics are so heartfelt and great. Mike delivers them flawlessly, too. The reason some people didn’t like the song was because of the message but also because they said that Mike’s rapping didn’t fit well over the instrumental. However, the band originally sang over the instrumental, but Rick suggested to them that they try rapping instead because it would be something completely different. And it worked. The chorus is also super cool how they used each band member singing the amen line and combined them. It was cool seeing it explained on the Making Of MTM Webster Hall viewing version. Mike also has said during an interview in 2014 that the song was something really special. It’s a timeless song too because it can apply to today’s world just as much as it did in 2006 when it was written. The ending also is great with Mike singing those lines.

 

Live, it wasn’t that bad, IMO. I know the band said that they never really loved how it sounded. I saw it played in Manchester, NH in 2008 and it sounded epic. I love just Chester singing the chorus. Some don’t. But they did a version in Toronto in 2007 with the crowd singing the chorus and it was also cool. Idk. It’s just a great song to me.

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I prefer the live version over the album version because of how great it sounded when Chester was singing Amen out loud. A very underrated song IMO

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2 minutes ago, sordomuda said:

I prefer the live version over the album version because of how great it sounded when Chester was singing Amen out loud. A very underrated song IMO


It is def underrated. I think because it’s SO different from the signature LP sound that a lot of people didn’t care about it. It’s like In Between, which I love a lot, but most people hate it. They are just so different sounding from what the old LP sound was. 

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12 hours ago, Garret said:

Hands Held High is an amazing song. It’s the ultimate anti-war song IMO. The lyrics are so heartfelt and great. Mike delivers them flawlessly, too. The reason some people didn’t like the song was because of the message but also because they said that Mike’s rapping didn’t fit well over the instrumental. However, the band originally sang over the instrumental, but Rick suggested to them that they try rapping instead because it would be something completely different. And it worked. The chorus is also super cool how they used each band member singing the amen line and combined them. It was cool seeing it explained on the Making Of MTM Webster Hall viewing version. Mike also has said during an interview in 2014 that the song was something really special. It’s a timeless song too because it can apply to today’s world just as much as it did in 2006 when it was written. The ending also is great with Mike singing those lines.

 

Live, it wasn’t that bad, IMO. I know the band said that they never really loved how it sounded. I saw it played in Manchester, NH in 2008 and it sounded epic. I love just Chester singing the chorus. Some don’t. But they did a version in Toronto in 2007 with the crowd singing the chorus and it was also cool. Idk. It’s just a great song to me.

 

So my major hobby/coping skill/thing I do is make mix CDs for others and myself, but sometime's I will also give myself a personal "assignment." Recently I tasked myself with making a mix based on my personal top 10 favorite albums of all time. Each album had to be from a different artist, and the mix had to have 2 songs from each album (one single and one deep cut). Tracks 1-10 are the first selected songs from each album, counting up from the #1 album to the #10 album. Track 11 is a "bonus/honorable mention" acting as an "intermission." Then the final 10 tracks count those same albums back down, just with their second selected songs, from #10 to #1, for symmetry.

  

This way, the 2 songs I choose to represent my all-time favorite album both begin and end the mix. As you can tell I put a LOT of thought into this little hobby, but it's extremely gratifying and highly recommended because it's therapy every time i get in my car now. The most thought came down to what would be the #1 album, and what 2 songs from that album could represent it. Obviously my #1 artist is LP, but deciding on which album from them was difficult. There are very strong arguments for all of them, particularly the first 4. I ended up choosing Minutes to Midnight, even though it was FAR from my favorite when it first came out.  

  

I have a diverse taste in music so this "Top 10 Albums Mix" also had music from many other genres and generations including Sly & The Family Stone, Phish, T.I., Bastille, Run-DMC, and more. So the two songs chosen to rep M2M not only had to appropriately represent both M2M and Linkin Park as artists, they also had to be fitting bookends to the most epic and eclectic mix I ever made. "What I've Done" was the obvious first choice to kick off a mix of iconic classics. It's not only one of their all-time most popular hits, it's a tried and true symbol of their period of transition, and not just because of its lyrics or that Mr. Hahn origin story. It simultaneously offers little tastes of both where the band had been (hard Chester vocals, heavy guitar riffs, turntable scratches), and where the was going (Mike singing instead of rapping, guitar solos...Transformer soundtracks...). 

  

But the way an album/mix ends is just as important as how it begins. What is the yin to WID's yang? HHH could not have been a better fit to close out an assemblage of what I personally consider to be simply the greatest music of all time, for both the "special" reasons I listed in the OP as well as what you describe here. HHH is simply timeless. What song on M2M more clearly depicts that this was a project coming off the heels of both Mike & Chester's experimenting with solo projects? Where can you more clearly hear that all 6 bandmates are being pushed by legendary producer Rick Rubin to expand their creative horizons? Where else have all their vocals ever been layered as a 12-piece choir? Not to mention the contributions of David and his 14-piece string orchestra. Everything about this song's structure is unique for both Linkin Park and popular music in general, from the marching drum beat, to the slow, cross-picking guitar, to the use of organ and piano together, to the coupling of live strings with electric bass. Mike's hard-hitting lyrics and delivery continue to move and haunt us in its tragically current relevance. Then Mike starts singing that unexpected, perfect two-bar phrase over and over. Then Chester comes in harmonizing over him. Nothing can beat that. There is only one band who could have ever pulled this off and they only could have done it on M2M. 

  

So, like you both said, underrated and under-appreciated. Also i like the live versions too. I attached the tracklist in case you're interested in the format. All purchased 16-bit lossless files or better (the M2M tracks are 24-bit). Again, highly recommended activity if you're into it and have the time.

 

Top-10-Greatist-Track-List.jpg

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3 hours ago, sordomuda said:

Because of this song and few others i am really starting to think MTM was trully their magnum opus. 

 

I’m definitely in a similar place right now. Obviously we wouldn’t love this band so much if there wasn’t a really strong case for every single one of their albums. Each one represents so much about where they were at as a band and can easily function as a “favorite” in its own right. For the longest time I probably considered M2M in the bottom 3 in my personal ranking of their work, and maybe it’s just because my personal taste has just evolved, but looking back, it’s the album the kept LP from disappearing after Collision Course, and pushed them into the juggernauts of longevity and experimentation we ended up loving all the more. Also how many albums have FOUR Platinum (and one Gold) singles?

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3 hours ago, OKCrew said:

 

I’m definitely in a similar place right now. Obviously we wouldn’t love this band so much if there wasn’t a really strong case for every single one of their albums. Each one represents so much about where they were at as a band and can easily function as a “favorite” in its own right. For the longest time I probably considered M2M in the bottom 3 in my personal ranking of their work, and maybe it’s just because my personal taste has just evolved, but looking back, it’s the album the kept LP from disappearing after Collision Course, and pushed them into the juggernauts of longevity and experimentation we ended up loving all the more. Also how many albums have FOUR Platinum (and one Gold) singles?

Ikr? A trully epic and legendary album. A CLASSIC. 

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