Sound — 5
Linkin Park in their many years of music have stayed for the most part consistant with their sound. The new album definantly sounds like Linkin Park "esque", with a rich feel, and underlying industrial synth beats. However the first track "Wake" I find to be a bit of a deceptive intro to the album considering most of the tracks are anti-Linkin Park style ballads. Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda's voices have aged a bit, they still sound good, but they don't sound like the young and energetic Linkin Park everyone fell in love with some years ago. In "Leave Out All The Rest" it seems to me that they have gone more towards a pop-like sound, therefore it doesn't appeal to me as a hard rock fan. General overall sound it seems that this new album is geared more towards mainstream pop audiences, so for the record label, that's a good thing, for fans like myself, that's not. "Hands Held High" is not good Linkin Park by any means. In fact, it's the worst track on the album, if not the worst track they've ever released. I dislike the organ at the beginning, I also dislike the choirs singing "AMEN" through the track. But in all seriousness, it's too slow and sappy to qualify as a good track from the band. They've veered away from their original image, and original sound, and come out with an album that's more so of a let down than anything else. Linkin Park, is barely Linkin Park anymore.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics were good in the songs, that's one thing the band maintained consistency with. Shinoda's rap verses were good, and flowed well with the music. Shinoda also sings very well in "In Between". Chester however with "Valentines Day" was just irritating. The frontman makes a better rock singer and screamer as opposed to a sweet, gentle and sappy vocalist. For example, Chester sounded better in "Given Up" than "The Little Things Give You Away". In the track "Hands Held High" I wasn't impressed, it's too political for enjoyment. I really didn't like the track because it's another band delivering a depressing, negative political message, and for me, music is an escape from everything and not an outlet for political opinions. Especially from a band like Linkin Park, you wouldn't expect a political song. Lyrics were good, for the most part.
Overall Impression — 5
I was definantly expecting something better to come from this band. With tremendous success with the past albums, I was anticipating an outstanding album where every song could be a single. I was also expecting a harder sound. Overall, Linkin Park produced an album, but in my opinion it's their worst album to date. The songs are not your typical Linkin Park songs, they're deep ballads, half of which I wouldn't even consider in the rock genre, more so the pop genre. Linkin Park started as a big corporate project that was very successful, but unfortunately with this album, I feel Linkin Park had little to no control over it, which prohibits the band's creativity. They were probably told, "Do it this way, not that way" and due to contractual obligations, they had to. Linkin Park's other albums featured numerous build-ups and climaxes in songs that hit a very heavy downbeat explosion of guitars and noise to make a very powerful track. On this album, there are unneccisary build-ups and climaxes that result to nothing really. If you're listening to the album for the first time, you'll hear these buildups and expect them to get hard, when in turn instead of getting hard, they get soft and gentle. My advice to Linkin Park would be, Ditch Rick Rubin, he lead the band in a direction that appears to be, the downfall of the entire project. Warner Bros had the wrong man in mind for this band. Ditch the pop producer, listen to Hybrid Theory and Meteora again, and start back from your roots. Now I have the pleasure of waiting another four years for a Linkin Park album that may or may not be any good. So the anticipation is more negative expectations than positive ones.