The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CD Review: Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns"

It really irritates me when a band I love and have a long history with ups and changes their musical direction to something I'm not stoked on, thereby challenging my loyalty to them. I like to think of myself as a loyal person, so when something disappoints me, I feel torn. Such is the case with this newest effort by Linkin Park, A Thousand Suns.

I had a bad feeling about this CD when I wrote this post about their song "The Catalyst" but was more optimisic when I heard "Wretches and Kings." Now that I have heard the entire release, all I can say

My first reaction when hearing the album for the first time was "where are the guitars?" Indeed, it seems this rather essential instrument is taking a back seat in the new dancier, electronic musical direction this band is taking.

There is way more emphasis on keyboards, which is nice, and I do like the political lyrical themes, which I thought was a strength of their last CD, Minutes to Midnight. Mike Shinoda also contributes more vocals than before, which is also OK; I love that guy. But unfortunately, that also means more hip-hop stuff, too. The hip-hip stuff on previous albums was completely fine with me, because there was a balance of that genre's elements and the angst and edge of metal. It worked for me. But now the focus seems to be more on the hip-hop beats and sounds combined with very irritating sound effects that, if I heard them in a club, would make me head to the nearest exit as fast as I could so I could fight off the inevitable migraine.

The clubbishness of this album is really off-putting for someone not into that kind of scene at all. There are songs on here that, even on low volume, give me a headache. "When They Come for Me" is one of them. There are also quite a few insipid tracks on here that I have no idea what these guys were thinking of when they made the decision to put them on the CD. Case in point, "Robot Boy" and "Jornada del Muerto." "Waiting for the End" is another.

I hate to say it, but there are more bad tracks on this album than there are good ones. Most of the songs are groaners. In fact, I can only honestly say that I like two whole songs here, the aforementioned "Wretches and Kings" and a nice, slower piece called "Iridescent." In the case of "Wretches and Kings," it does have some of those annoying sound effects I was mentioning, but it's the song most reminiscent of "old" LP. "Iridescent" sounds like something from Minutes to Midnight, which isn't a bad thing, since I did enjoy that album even though a lot of people did not.

And what happened to Chester Bennington's harsh vocals is a mystery to me. They only appear in "Blackout" and "Wretches and Kings." I miss them. His clean vocals are amazing as always, however.

Also, what is up with the cover? What is that? A dove? What? It also gives me a headache!

Altogether, a frustrating listen. Sorry, LP, but this is a horns down for me. /m\


Eric James said...

Nice review again. I can't believe that they are still around tbh. They have put out such mediocre and poor material after Hybrid Theory and it seems that they are also a victim of trendiness as well. Oh well, I was never really a big fan of LP anyways. ;)

CanuckFan said...


SajiNoKami said...

'thereby challenging my loyalty to them'

I have been seeing this similar sentiment. A lot of 'old LP' fans seem to be taking the 'change' of LP's music as a personal attack on them. I really don't get this. They are artists, they make music, you happen to like some of it.. I don't think they are challenging any 'loyalty'. They are just doing what they want to..

For me, this is the best one. Been a casual listener since 2001, only band in the last decade, after Hybrid Theory, I just bought the albums as they were released, without any real knowing of what I was getting. ATS was the first album that actually made me interested in the band itself and want to go to a concert. It seems like the natural progression of where they were going, even now that I have listened to songs outside the 4 main albums, ATS seems even more logical.
I do understand the 'But unfortunately, that also means more hip-hop stuff..' It is not for everyone. You seem more the rock side of LP.. while two of the reasons I got into LP was the electronic element, with Mike's rapping as a close 2nd [LP did get me to enjoy more metal though].

Either way, the fact you actually gave reasons for not liking it, was good. Really annoyed with the: it sucks, where's LP? reviews.

CanuckFan said...

Hi SajinoKami! Thank you for commenting! Always love to hear new voices here!

I am definitely not taking this personally. I totally agree that artists have to do what they have to do in order to grow and be fulfilled as artists. I certainly don't think LP purposely set out to start challenging anyone's loyalty, but rather this is just my general reaction to this new musical direction. I am just feeling torn with my loyalties because I disliked the album so much - and I feel guilty about it! I've had this happen before with other bands, and I get over it, trust me! It's just like Nightwish: I prefer the old to the new, so I focus on the old and let the new have it's place but don't listen to it as much. That's basically what's happening with me & LP.

I do a lot of reviewing in another part of my life (I'm a book reviewer) and so I am very in touch with why I do or do not like something, and I feel it's important to articulate that very well with all reviews because, as you say, the "this sucks" reviews really say nothing at all and it means people aren't really listening & thinking about what they're hearing.

Anonymous said...

When i heart "The Catalyst" i knew it's not album for me so i know only that one song and the only reason i still listen to it is part from "lift me up, let me go" to the end. I like vocal line there and that's all.
Now they remaind me Celldweller but much worse version.
I don't understand why they feel so strong need to change they sound, they were good at what they did.

CanuckFan said...

Wow, one whole vocal line! And I thought only liking two songs was sad!

Almagest said...

No offence, but only a few entries below you said:

"we all can't stand main stream crap, we had similar complaints about the music industry, me and another music lover who is a total music geek agreed that nu metal sucks ass"

Forgive me - I don't think I've ever really listened to Linkin Park at all because I've never had any interest in nu metal at all (save Evanescence, and in their case only a limited, temporary interest when I was still a metal n00b) and what little I've heard from the genre put me off immediately - but is the first Linkin Park album, not to mention the rest of their work, not part of the same style?

CanuckFan said...

Ah, Almagest, you are too sharp!

Yep, LP is nu metal. However, they are the ONLY nu metal I have ever liked (I don't count Evanescence as nu metal). It's generally a shit genre, but I did make an exception for them because I liked their first two albums and I think Mike Shinoda is the shizz.

Almagest said...

Hmm, I see! Interesting, thanks!

I don't think so either, but they seem to draw some clear influences from the genre. Whatever.

CanuckFan said...

I know it's contradictory, but what can I say? I'm human! :D

Almagest said...

Oh, I was referring to Evanescence with that comment. Sorry for not being clear.