Sound — 8
Varying there style greatly on this alubm, Linkin Park, working with Rick Rubin, have produced an extremely sonic, if not slightly overproduced album. Althought the album has very high quality instrument sounds that were obviously created with care and time, the departure from their traditional rap metal/rap rock style left the listener waiting for more at the end of the album. The album did not feel very complete and with the sonic change, the band completely lost any agression they may have had when writing this album or any previous albums. Not all was bad about the album though. The sonic change did show that Linkin Park can break through the generic rap metal sound that they were accustomed to and create something entirely new. Chester Bennington's vocals on this album were clearly some of the best he has ever done ranging from high pitched screams, to low unearthly rumbles, to rasping breathy vocals, to smooth pop singing. Mike Shinoda, although not appearing much on the album, did manage to produce several fantastic and rhythmic rap verses most especially noted in the song Hands Held High where the sonic difference between the music and the vocals created a contrast like no other on the album. More so Shinoda should be credited for his producing skills, creating fantastic sounds and ideas and mixing it all together to create something never heard before. Overall the album has a good sound but can get repetitive and has lost it's agression with the musical style change.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics in this album ranged from incredible to disgustingly simple. Although the single What I've Done has great rythm and a very driving chorus, the lyrics are very baisic and have no real meaning. Several of the songs were very repetitive in there lyrics that seemed almost as if they were written in a hurry or with very little care. On the contrary songs like Valentines Day and Hands Held High really capture the listeners attention with interesting lyrics. The singign on the album was fantastic and clearly some of the best done in the modern era by a male vocalist. Chester clearly worked on exploring different styles of singing and has greatly improved his range of vocals and styles since Hybrid Theory and Meteora. Mike Shinoda went for an entirely different feel with his rap verses on this album and even went so far as to sing an entire song. Although the lyrics can at some times be much to be desired, the vocal ability of Mike and Chester overpower their lyrical boundries and create a solid vocal effort worth listening to.
Overall Impression — 8
Although sonically differnt from their other albums, Minutes to Midnight can be seen as the culmination of Linkin Park's efforts combining intense song writing skills with their tradition rap metal style and twisting it in a whole new way to create something beautiful but with many flaws. Although this album is supposed to be their best, it can almost be seen as a beggining to a whole new Linkin Park because although the album was good, in this new style it could definitely get better. Some highlights from the album would be No More Sorrows, Hands Held High, What I've Done, and In Between. Linkin Park shows that they too can handle a severe style change and still pull it off with flair and style that clearly will lead to more new and better albums. Although many will not like the new album because of its sonic change, the listener has to listen to the album from an unbaised standpoint to see exactly what Linkin Park was trying for. This album although different, still exemplifies the heart of Linkin Park and is clearly one of the best releases of the year.