Minutes to Midnight review by Linkin Park

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: May 11, 2007
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.2 (853 votes)
Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight
16

Sound — 7
Linkin Park has gone in a very interesting direction - a mellower one - on its latest record "Minutes To Midnight", and the album tends to feel a bit too radio-friendly at times because of it. This is not to say the band set out to make an album of pop-rock songs, but there is not a lot new that is brought to the table this time around. While frontman Chester Bennington has never sounded better vocally, the ballads that do the most justice to his voice also slow the momentum down a bit too much on the highly anticipated record.

At the CD's opening, there is a slowly building synthesized intro called "Wake" that quietly (you can hardly hear it for the first half) creates a mood. When the intro cuts off and leads into the first vocal song, "Given Up", it doesn't quite explode with enough energy or originality. There is some interesting percussion at the start of "Given Up", in which the band seems to mix a basic hand clap with reindeer bells. The guitars are used minimally in the verses, with the bass, drums, and vocals taking over. Not much seems to happen throughout most of it, until there is a breakdown about halfway through, injecting a much-needed dose of metal into it.

"Bleed It Out" is the first track on the CD that introduces Mike Shinoda's rapping into the mix, and it thankfully livens things up a bit. There aren't a lot of changes in the musical format along the way and it almost has a party-like vibe, but the energy behind the performances on "Bleed It Out" makes it a worthwhile listen. Because there are so many ballads on "Minutes To Midnight", just hearing Shinoda rap breaks things up a bit.

It does feel like a more sensitive side of Linkin Park is being explored, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a different turn. But a slower-tempo track like "Leave Out All The Rest" still is in desperate need of a big dose of passion. It has almost a generic feel and the band is capable of much more. "Shadow Of The Day" is a ballad that suffers from the same problem, and it slows down all the progress that was made on the track right before it ("Bleed It Out"). "Shadow" does include some very cool synth effects underneath, but the track could still use a bit more.

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are definitely one of the strongest points on the new CD. As usual, Mike Shinoda's rapped lyrics are clever and stand out on their own. In "Bleed It Out" Shinoda raps, "With a shovel up out to reach somewhere; Yeah, someone pour it in; Make it a dirt dance floor again; Say your prayers and stomp it out." Some listeners might not call it poetry, but Shinoda still makes things a bit more interesting.

There is a lot of inner turmoil and relationship talk found in the lyrics as well, and it's probably safe to assume it's coming from personal experience (Bennington went through a divorce since Linkin Park's last album was released). In "Shadow Of The Day" he sings, "I close both locks below the window; I close both blinds and turn away; Sometimes solutions aren't so simple; Sometimes goodbye's the only way." Even with a familiar topic like heartache, the band does do a pretty good job at not making it sound too cliche. Just the fact that it might have autobiographic meaning does make it an intriguing listen.

Overall Impression — 7
"Minutes To Midnight" does feature a few solid songs like "What I've Done", "In Pieces", and "Bleed It Out" that drive home the point why the band has made such a name for itself. There will also still be many fans of past albums who can adjust to the band's latest sound and embrace the ballad-heavy album. If given the opportunity to the listen to the album enough times, it's possible that some of the lackluster songs might grow on you.

More than likely the restrained sound heard on "Minutes To Midnight" will probably draw a wide range of opinions from fans of previous albums. While growth is always encouraged as a musician, it's hard to say if Linkin Park has moved forward with this album. There is nothing wrong with ballads, but those tracks never seem that original. Bennington uses a softer, sweeter style of vocal and it actually sounds great. Hopefully the songwriting can catch up with the musicianship by the time the next release rolls around.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    inlovewithmusic
    to be frank when i heard what ive done ..i was like ...man the guys are trying to make music that sells today ....but then i have to admit ...they are reeeeealy good at it ...although its not anything like hybrid theory or meteora ...its a really good piece of work..
    UGchicken
    Keenan isn't that great of a vocalist. There are much better. I was a little dissapointed. I knew it wasn't going to be as Metally though.
    RockMusicFan
    slash6464 wrote: oh and shinoda also said, that chester was one ofthe best vocalist, of our generation BULLSHIT!, maynard is god. i hope you guys know who maynard is
    Yeah he said ONE of the best, not the best, so quit bitching. Anyway, I was dissapointed when first listening to the album, but it definitely grew on me. The majority of the songs are good, but they still should have put in some more upbeat songs. That to me is the only letdown.
    mercurymay
    sounds like a let down... not sure if it's worth buying, i guess i'll just download it. **** it, i'll buy it.
    El3ctric Blu3s
    Hated it. Put it on my computer deleted every song cept bleed it out and threw away the cd. There first cd was the best one.
    RockhavenGuitar
    slash6464 wrote: oh and shinoda also said, that chester was one ofthe best vocalist, of our generation BULLSHIT!, maynard is god. i hope you guys know who maynard is
    Actually, i'll have to concur also. But tool, APC, is different music than linkin park so it's kinda unfair to compare the two
    ToolRickHead
    I'll have to agree, MJK is our best vocalist this generation. vocalist being in the rock-genre.
    thesimo
    it definitely took some getting used to ,i thought it ws garbage too, but stick it on as background music some day and you will start to pick out little parts which are really unique. eventually it just grows on u, they didn't sell an album, they sold some sort of fungi!
    DTOE
    'One of the songs is compltely raping with drums as a backbeat' ... best review EVER....
    docinder
    well.....its not my favorite cd, but, it will stay in my car for a while. i think that after you listen to all of the songs a few times, they grow on you. i think that people should give the record a chance. or three. >;D
    jhimbob
    the scream at the end of the breakdown in given up is natural, he does the whole thing live. it's not unrealistic, as said in feenuxopia's review up there.
    wraith696
    The funniest thing someone could ever say right now, is that Linkin Park turned to being 'sell-outs'. Yes, I'm sure they really wanted to break the mainstream now Becayse, come to think of it, 14 million records sold on a debut album is very underground. I haven't heard this album yet, but I doubt they'd be very good at trying to emulate the whole 'U2'-vibe. Then again, whne meteora came out, I was 12, so my tastes have vastly diversified since then. But I'll probably give it a listen no matter how bad it is, for old time's sake.
    MattIgoe0108
    What i've done was written in a week after everyone who heard it said the completed record needed one more song, so it's hardly surprising its not the strongest song on the album. M2M is really good, you can't just listen to it once and expect to love it thought.
    jasonkan
    what i've done sounds like numb alot of the times, except its more repetitive
    Canucks486
    Yes, first it seems to be very commercial but as a fan I can assure, this is totally Linkin Park
    Learn_to_fly
    lol to DTOE! but yeah i reckon this album is really good, at first i was very dissaointed but i gave it another chance and it actually really grows on u! Hands Held High is a good song. listen to it a few times and you'll see!
    saty
    cough**off topic** MJK is one of the best singers of our generation and definitely the best lyric writer of alt rock/metal... cough**off topic** as for M2M, after 4 years without listening to linkin park, they sure have done something good to have me listening to them again... the little things give you away is one of the best songs they have ever written...