When talking about his new collaboration album, Collision Course (with Jay-Z), Mike from Linkin Park says, “With this kind of thing you have to use the hits. Obscure off-tracks won’t help anybody or get people as excited. It wouldn’t be as fun.” Maybe that’s why this disc is so easy to get into; all the tracks used are some of the artists’ best bull’s-eye efforts.
The endeavor is a result of MTV’s idea called Mash-Ups. Very simply, they take two artists and put them in a room together hoping that the proximity spawns greatness. The musicians are supposed to combine their songs into mixed mega-hits. Linkin Park and Jay-Z’s teaming is the first of these Mash-Ups. The result is an incredible meld of Jay-Z’s hip-hop with the synth/rock/rap/shriek style of Linkin Park. This week the product hit stores in the form of a packaged CD/DVD combo, following the duality theme.
You can listen to the studio productions of the tracks or pop in the DVD and watch them being created and later performed. The DVD portrays Jay-Z as having very little input in the actual “mashing” of his tracks with those of Linkin Park. Upon his arrival, Mike and Chester of LP had already combined the background music and even inserted some of Jay-Z’s pre-recorded vocals. He simply got off his private jet, entered the studio and said, ‘Sounds good.’ Jay did impressively lay down some new vocals as if he’d been rehearsing for days. But then again, isn’t touring with R. Kelly a good way to get into spittin’ shape? The whole studio process appeared to only take one afternoon. That, in itself, is amazing.
Toward the end of the process, Mike says, “Don’t you wish making our last album was this easy?” It is hard to believe that these creations were the product of a few hours of cutting and pasting, but they were. Hopefully, this means more genius collaborations.
The video concludes with a stellar live concert, which impeccably mimics the CD’s sound and execution. The performance offers nothing new apart from the disc, but leaves nothing out. With the success of this project, we should shortly be seeing many partnerships in this style. It won’t be long before MTV puts out records by Mos Deftones, Ricky Martina MacBride and Stinglebert Humperdinck.
Unfortunately, though, the offering is disappointingly short. You would think that when you combined two great four-minute songs, you’d end up with an eight-minute masterpiece. But none of the six tracks ever even pass the five-minute mark. Over half hover at less than three and a half minutes. This leaves a fan feeling incomplete while waiting for the many verses that were left out. At times the words feel awkward when sped up or slowed down to match the new beat. But this fades quickly after you stop trying to hear the song you know from the radio and start just listening to the song as a totally new creation.
The colossal combination only produced six tracks together, supposedly justified by the DVD included with the CD. But did anybody really buy the album to analyze LP’s facial hair or Jay-Z’s sneaker choice? The meager amount of tracks is slightly disappointing, but much better than the feeble two that were originally scheduled to be combined (as the DVD reveals). So the CD ends a bit briskly, but it is so fun that there should be no problem with leaving it in and hitting play again.
In the end, this disc is purely and simply incredible from a musical standpoint. There are many ways to pick it apart, but the music stands out as nothing short of spectacular. The experience is not only worthwhile, but worthy of praise. The album will have fans looking up the original songs of both artists, broadening their musical tastes. We can only hope that the next MTV Mash-Up is as brilliant … and maybe a bit longer.