Wednesday, November 03, 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns"

I've loved Linkin Park from the very beginning. I can still remember being 15, changing the channel to MTV and getting totally wigged out by their "Crawling" video. It was probably one of the first times I dared listen to rock music. My musical influences as a kid consisted of my big brother, who was partial to Boys to Men and Method Man, and my mom, who had Marc Anthony and Tina Turner stuck on replay. Sooo because our house didn't exactly have a head-banging, mosh-pit inducing record collection, seeing that video was the equivalent of stumbling upon Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Shock. Awe. And intrigue.

I think what I liked most about the band, besides the intensity of lead singer Chester Bennington's throat-ripping scream-singing, is how seamlessly their resident rapper Mike Shinoda fits into their songs—like the two genres have always been meant to be fused. My favorite album of theirs was actually their 2004 collaboration with Jay-Z, Collision Course, a mash-up of some of their best songs. Unlike most rock bands, all of their albums don't sound exactly the same: loud and tortured.

On their latest album A Thousand Suns, my favorite songs were the ones that had an inspiring message and stellar production:

The second single of the new album, "Waiting for the End," is a sorrowful song about loss and trying to come to terms with being left behind. I love the simple, but earnest line: "This is not the end / this is not the beginning."

"Wisdom, Justice, and Love" (interlude) & "Iridescent"
While it kind of sounds like 30 Seconds to Mars, I like the intro snippet of Martin Luther King Jr.'s anti-nuclear war speech. The band has never strayed from expressing their feelings about what plagues the nation.

Fret not life-long fans, they haven't become bleeding hearts. "The Catalyst," the first single off their new album is an example of their efforts to give us the best of both worlds: a political message and a throwback to their signature sound.

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