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Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

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    In 2010, Linkin Park was one of the biggest bands in the world. They had put out two iconic albums with 2000’s Hybrid Theory and 2003’s Meteora, quickly turning heads for their unique sound, successfully fusing metal and rap together. Instead of getting painted into a corner as a nu-metal band, Linkin Park wanted to show they were so much more. They started to tinker with their sound, and the result was 2007’s Minutes to Midnight. Despite the album producing hits like “What I’ve Done” and “Bleed It Out,” the record received mixed reviews. Most of the songs were slower (aside from “Given Up” and “No More Sorrow”), there were guitar solos, string arrangements, Mike Shinoda sang more than he rapped, and Chester Bennington sang more than he screamed. Longtime fans of the band weren’t sure how to react. While they easily could’ve abandoned this experiment, they doubled-down on this new sound on A Thousand Suns, and the result was something special.

    To be fair, Linkin Park didn’t decide to give up all of their old sound on A Thousand Suns, but they did evolve into the band who they’d be for a majority of the 2010s. Gone are the heavy guitars fused with hip-hop. In its place are electronic beats and interludes, industrial rock vibes, and arguably the best vocal work of the late Bennington.

    A Thousand Suns is a concept album that blends political issues with technology, human nature, and the threat of nuclear war. Linkin Park keeps these themes present throughout the album, especially with snippets of speeches from Martin Luther King Jr., J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Mario Savio. The record keeps the story flowing through the use of short songs and interludes that help build up the bigger tracks that drive these messages home, like how “Jornada Del Muerto” perfectly sets the stage for “Waiting for the End” towards the back of the album.

    The album’s tone is established on “Burning in the Skies,” a slow-burning track with calming guitars and clean vocals from both Shinoda and Chester. The album takes a darker turn with “When They Come for Me,” which marches along with a tribal drum beat and even features some Shinoda tossing in callbacks to “Points of Authority.”

    Now just because there aren’t any crunching guitar riffs on this record, doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of heaviness. “Blackout” gives us some of Chester’s signature screams, which will make longtime fans of the band grin. “Wretches and Kings” features a hard, driving electronic beat that’s like a fire alarm mixed with a Nine Inch Nails song. You also get that nice Chester and Shinoda back and forth that the band does so well. “The Catalyst” is overloaded with electronics, scratchy turntables, drum beats, and Chester and Shinoda’s vocals all perfectly blended together, creating a nice cocktail that served as the lead single of the album.

    The second single, “Waiting for the End,” is a song that easily belongs on the Top 10 list of Linkin Park’s best tracks. The song has this atmosphere to it, where you know you’re listening to something special, despite the fact the song is clearly about the idea of death. It’s a song that feels big, but there is an eeriness to it not in the light of Chester’s tragic death in 2017. Especially when he sings “Waiting for the end to come/Wishing I had strength to stand/This is not what I had planned/It’s out of my control.

    It’s tough to listen to Linkin Park today knowing that the band’s lead vocalist is no longer with us and A Thousand Suns stings a little bit extra. After listening to the band for ten years, it was this album that amplified what a phenomenal singer Chester was. While I always loved his earth-shattering screamed vocals, it was in the moments of peace and calm where he shone the brightest.

    You have the beautiful “Iridescent,” which opens with Shinoda singing over a piano, before the beat kicks in and Chester sings what might be the most powerful chorus the band has written “Do you feel cold and lost in desperation?/You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known/Remember all the sadness and frustration/And let it go, let it go.” The argument could be made that this is Linkin Park’s strongest ballad.

    While Bennington impresses throughout the record, it’s the final track, “The Messenger,” that shows he saved the best for last. The only sounds you hear are Bennington belting out every lyric over an acoustic guitar. “When you feel you’re alone, cut off from this cruel world/Your instincts telling you to run/Listen to your heart, those angel voices/They’ll sing to you, they’ll be your guide back home/When life leaves us blind/Love keeps us kind/It keeps us kind,” Chester sings.

    The track is the band’s first-ever acoustic song, and it concludes the album on a hopeful note, but hearing this after knowing how Bennington’s life ended, it’s heartbreaking. We lost a great one way too soon. A Thousand Suns is a record that many still view as divisive. There were fans who liked the direction the band was heading in, and there were those who favored the sound of Hybrid Theory and Meteora. Hybrid Theory is a special record that struck a chord with millions of people in a way that not many albums do. There will be more to say about Hybrid Theory when that album turns 20 next month, but A Thousand Suns helped take Linkin Park to another level. They showed they were not going to fizzle out as many rap-metal bands did. Instead, they continued to grow and ended up creating one of the strongest LPs in their discography


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    Toner likes this.
  2. Pepetito

    Regular Supporter

    I don't recall this album being met with the expectations of "one of the biggest bands in the world". I know a lot of people that checked out after Minutes to Midnight.
    Still love Hybrid Theory and Meteora though.
    stars143 and SFguitar like this.
  3. JRGComedy

    Trusted Supporter

    I hated this album when it came out but I've revisited it and have come around on it in a big way.

    I also listened to One More Light for the first time recently and wow is the title track a tough listen now. Beautiful song though.
    beachdude and Brent like this.
  4. 150Wrds

    Newbie Supporter

    Hated this album when it came out, I was a massive Linkin Park fan and wondered what they were doing. After about 10 listens it started to work for me though and after all this time, It's probably my favourite album of theirs. Waiting for the End is their best song too.
    Toner, beachdude and JRGComedy like this.
  5. estacey99

    Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible.

    the best LP album and I will die on that hill
    Zilla, Toner, beachdude and 2 others like this.
  6. 150Wrds

    Newbie Supporter

    I hope there is room for two
    smowashere, beachdude and estacey99 like this.
  7. chewbacca110


    Three's company, y'all.

    I say this any time I can - it took guts to release this album. They lean full in on their vision even though fans wanted more hip hop beats and screams. I concur what the review says about this being a difficult listen knowing Chester's fate.
  8. josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    This 100%. I remember the day this came out, same day as Halo Reach. Two massive letdowns of my early teenage years. Love the experiments on here, they went full Radiohead, but it still has the soul of Linkin Park. I would've loved to see them evolve into obscurity. At the time however, I complained that there were "no guitars".
    beachdude and 150Wrds like this.
  9. Daniel Cura

    I still maintain that this record is Linkin Park's best work. This is the one that really encapsulates a feeling and tone across the whole record as a one, cohesive piece of art, rather than a collection of songs. Seeing them live during this cycle was pretty incredible too. I recommend watching the making of doc that came with it, and how they struggled with making the same kind of music that was expected of them from fans, labels, and advertisers, and they just say no and do their own thing. I'll always defend this album.
    Zilla, Toner, Crisp X and 4 others like this.
  10. 150Wrds

    Newbie Supporter

    I still think a lot of people look down on Linkin Park because of the Nu-Metal stuff, but they are definitely a band who were (are, fingered crossed) willing to just do what they want, push the boundaries a little and try different stuff. Not the biggest innovators by any stretch, but they were that band which allowed me to think more outside of the box, made me realise that my favourite bands could do different things on different albums. They made me the the one who was always annoyed when someone would say 'I wish it was like their last album' - Bands/Artists should be allowed to do what the hell they like.
    AshlandATeam likes this.
  11. dlemert


    I spent hours playing Halo Reach with this record on in the background. Great times.
  12. pbueddi


    This album holds up so well.
    Toner likes this.
  13. disambigujason

    Trusted Supporter

    I think this was most disappointed in an album I’ve ever been, and still strongly dislike it. Some great songs and moments, it sounds great, but so much of it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
  14. LightsOut


    I recently discovered the hunting party. What are your tough on it?
  15. TEGCRocco

    Cyclops Stan

    This is so easily the band's best album IMO. From the sonic direction to the overall concepts and themes the band tackled with it... in no way would I have expected this from the guys who put out Hybrid Theory at the turn of the century or even New Divide just the year before. This was the guys firing on all cylinders creatively
    beachdude and Toner like this.
  16. An album that I, like many others, was disappointed by at the time but then came around over the years. It's such a journey and I love albums that give me that cinematic feeling.

    A mixed bag. Chester's vocals were rough and his melodies samey all across the album, which make it hard for me to return to it. I did appreciate the post-hardcore influences here and there, even if many songs blended together in the end.
    LightsOut likes this.
  17. Toner

    A Welshy in London Supporter

    Lots of us up on this hill!

    I obviously love Hybrid Theory because I don't know any 30-something who dislikes that album (if they say otherwise they are a god damn liar). I remember checking out when Minutes to Midnight came out because Transformers was so bad it made me hate Linkin Park by association.

    A Thousand Suns was so good it made me forget Transformers even existed.
  18. Orla

    right on! Prestigious

    No matter how many times I revisit it, this album’s just not for me. Utmost respect to the band for making it, though, and I can see why it’s a favourite for so many fans.
    disambigujason likes this.
  19. somethingwitty


    For how cheesy, yet influential, Hybrid Theory was, this record was their best. Living Things wasn’t a terrible follow-up either.

    One More Light being their last album is a shame though. That was a huge misstep.
  20. Pepetito

    Regular Supporter

    Couldn’t disagree more. Hybrid theory and meteora blow this out of the water.
  21. ZeoVGM


    A Thousand Suns is Linkin Park's best album.
    beachdude, Orla and pbueddi like this.