Artist: Linkin Park
Label: Warner Bros.
By William Johnson
Six piece rock group, Linkin Park, released their fourth studio album entitled A Thousand Suns, on Tuesday.
Following in the steps of Minutes to Midnight (2008), A Thousand Suns is an experimental audio book that mixes styles found in previous albums with the bands newer sound. The result is something similar to when Ford revamped the body of the 2010 mustang: a more developed and streamlined version of a good idea.
The record is a concept album, the concept being nuclear war. The title is a reference to a Hindu proverb, Bhagvad Gita, that is used an allusion to a cataclysmic explosion. The first few songs are slow and short, with increasing action. Towards the middle of the album, the songs begin to climax in volume and mood. The intensity slows down dramatically towards the end for a power ballad.
The first half of the album showcases the newer style of Linkin Park, evident in the electronic artsy rock that last for the first seven tracks. Even guitarist/rapper Mike Shinoda’s lyrical flow feels out of place in the tribal themed track, “When They Come For Me”. The second half of the album picks up with is sure to be a single, “Waiting For The End”. The way Shinoda and lead singer Chester Bennington perform is reminiscent of previous albums on this track.
A new element to this album is the inclusion of completely acoustic track, entitled The Messenger. In it Bennington wails about the enabling power of love. In the chorus, his voice can heard cracking on the lyrics, “When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind.” This amount of vulnerability is new for the harsh growling singer.
Another new dynamic in this album is a singing duet between Shinoda and Bennington entitled “Iridescent”. What starts off as Shinoda leading the ballad over a piano accompaniment, turns into an arena rock ballad and then back into the fading piano chords playing background to Bennington’s crooning.
This album is a bag of mixed nuts, best served on shuffle. While it exceeds Minutes to Midnight, this record is still reaching for it’s own sound, something that was clearly established in older records.