Sound — 9
A Thousand Suns shows how Linkin Park have progressed over the years and demonstrates their change in musical direction. Unlike their previous albums, A Thousand Suns is a concept album of sorts and features many segues as well as full length songs. This album is much more hip hop and electronic oriented than its predecessor, Minutes to Midnight. They include more influences, such as ambient music and Public Enemy (the band cited them as an influence). Every song (excluding The Messenger) includes heavy use of synthesizers and samples. A Thousand Suns is also Linkin Park's most diverse album. Brad Delson's guitar playing is less predominant on this album. The guitars are still there, but on most songs they are heavily synthesized and often times not an important part of the song. The lack of guitar does not make the album bad, but many songs would be better if the guitars were used more. Each member performs the music phenomenally. Drummer Rob Bourdon's drumming is better than ever. Pheonix plays the bass as good as he did in the past. DJ Joe Hahn plays a more important role on the album. There is turntable scratching on multiples songs, which is one of the highlights of the album. Linkin Park experiment more on this album. "The Messenger" is an acoustic song, never done on a Linkin Park album before. A couple songs sound similar to Minutes to Midnights, others sound more similar to their older works, but the album maintains its own unique sound. The album is composed very well. The full length songs are all great and contribute something different to the album; however, the album would be better if there were a couple more good full length songs and less segues. The segues are good for the most part, but a few of them sound like half written experiments rather than fully worked out songs. Because of this, the album takes a while to pick up; there isn't a full length song until track three.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, the album isn't awe-inspiring, but they work well with the music. Linkin Park were inspired by nuclear warfare, although that is not what the entire album is about. The album's title is a reference to a quote made famous by J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is featured in "The Radiance" as an interviewee. The album also features a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" and the "Bodies Upon the Gears" speech by Mario Savio in "Wretches and Kings". The speeches work with the music surprisingly well. Lead vocalist Chester Bennington sings beautifully; his vocals on A Thousand Suns are on par with all of his past work. He goes out of his comfort zone on may songs, he even screams on "Blackout". Mike Shinoda's rapping is present on three songs ("When they Come For Me", "Waiting For the End", and "Wretches and Kings"). The rapping, unfortunately, on A Thousand Suns is not as good as the rapping on past Linkin Park albums or the Fort Minor album. Shinoda's singing is used more, singing in most of the songs. His singing is more powerful than it was before, although it is nothing amazing.
Overall Impression — 10
A Thousand Suns is on par, possibly even better than Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the band's first two albums. It flows beautifully as a concept album. The main problem with the album is the fact that there are not enough full length songs (there are only nine). It would also be a better album if there were more guitar parts and if each member participated on each and every track more often. Standout songs are "When They Come For Me", "Wretches and Kings", and lead single "The Catalyst". All of the songs are great, even if they don't seem particularly interesting at times. A Thousand Suns is one of the best albums released this year. It proves yet again that Linkin Park are great musicians and know how to write good music.