Sound — 4
I just listened to the new Linkin Park album A Thousand Suns and I have to say it's disappointing to hear this band resort to rehashing previous albums. (No, Reanimation wasn't a rehash album, that was a remix album. There's a difference.) A Thousand Suns sounds like Minutes to Midnight with different tracks. The grungy, rock-filled albums of the past are obviously over, shoved out of the way in favor of new wave indie pop and anti-war/anti-government propaganda. Lots of ambiance can be heard on this track, lots of fades and rushes. The instrumentation is lacking for all of the effects they used to not make every song sound like the last. Remember Meteora? That neat experiment song Nobody's Listening? It sounds like they tried for that feel on nearly every song on this album. Like the entire album is an experiment, and a failed one at that. I'm generally a fan of Linkin Park. I gave their last album a shot, and some of the songs grew on me, and here I was hoping they'd go back to their roots for this new CD. I hoped for nothing, I was let down.
Lyrics — 2
The tracks on this album sound like they were all written with the intent to cry foul on the government, but do little else. It's an anti-war, anti-terrorism, anti-"do anything but f*cking complain" album, and very nearly crosses the threshold into EMO territory. There are tracks on this album that are too short to be worth anything. I can understand the intro being a short bit of music, but when there are other tracks that are snippets of speeches and nonsensical percussion runs, I start wondering if the production of this album was mixed with the production of an Eminem album.
Overall Impression — 4
Chester and Mike both seem to have lost the edge they had when LP first hit the scene. Originally, the band was ridiculed by everyone because they used generic lyrics and sang about things like dating and heartbreak, but their music was catchy, and angry, and it was a sound that was different from everyone else. It dug into your soul and latched on so that you couldn't ignore it or easily forget it. It was guitar and percussion heavy, it hit hard, and it lingered. This album, like Minutes to Midnight, has lost that edge. Chester and Mike and the rest seem to be wanting to tell this generation something, but they've lost the means to do it. Gone are the angry lyrics and the hard-hitting, different sounds. Gone are the drum- and guitar-heavy musical riffs. In their place are the same lines being repeated over and over in a different order, with synth-heavy tracks in the background. The closest you'll get to their old sound on this album is the song Blackout. And even then, it sounds like they had Michael Jackson sing/scream this track before the man died. And the background music just does NOT fit. It seriously sounds like it belongs in the water level of Sonic 4. It even sounds like it was generated with a MIDI synthesizer or a Genesis. Wretches and Kings sounds like a throwback to Fort Minor. You know who Fort Minor is, right? Mike Shinoda's little rap group pet project? They had, like, one commercially released album and a bunch of self-released LPs. It's actually not bad, but one good song in a collection of 15 is not a good thing. The title track for this album is The Catalyst. It's been featured in the commercial for some war game... I think it's Call of Duty, might be Medal of Honor. One of those games. I'd heard it there, I'd heard it on MySpace, I'd heard the remixes, I'd even took a shot at remixing it myself. It's crap. Seriously. The title track, for the first time in Linkin Park's history, is absolute shit. Like Blackout, The Catalyst's music sounds like it was done with a MIDI synth. The lyrics have a very LOUD anti-war/pro-religious sound to them. Are Linkin Park trying to crossover into the Christian Pop/Alternative genre? (I hope not, there are enough faux Pop/Indie/Alternative artists doing Christian music -.-) If I wanted to listen to a political Indie album, I'd throw in Thursday's Full Collapse. All in all, the album is a piece of sh*t with a SINGLE defining song. That song will probably never get any radio airtime. LP will litter the radio with their softer, politically stuffed songs (like The Catalyst) and declare to the rest of the world that they've forgotten their old fans.