Sound — 2
Linkin Park used to have such a unique sound featuring a flawless blend of samples and piano with the standard heavy guitars of the genre. Minutes to Midnight doesn't have any of the intesity or heavieness of Meteora of Hybrid Theory. The album sounds extremely weak and generally unimpressive. The guitar sound is the first problem I had with the album. Instead of Brads normal PRS guitar and Marshall and Mesa amp blend he has reverted to vintage instruments and amps. His choice of vintage tube amps and strats would be perfect for a blues band, not a Nu Metal band like Linkin Park. Joseph Hann seems to have played a much smaller role in the album as well. The signature samples and dj scratching are hardly heard in any songs. The vocals have changed drastically as well. Mike sings and raps much less on the album than past albums although the sings "Hands Held High" by himself. The dual scream/rap vocals of past albums has been completely eradicated off of this album. The sound of this album is a major let down. Linkin Park lost almost all of their signature sound which make me ask the question "why buy the album if it doesn't even sound like Linkin Park at all?"
Lyrics — 4
The lyrics are not what you might expect. They are much more political on Minutes to Midnight than past albums. "Hands Held High" is definitely the stand out political track on the album, it seems like a rant on the Bush administration and the war on Iraq. The first single "What I've Done" is a track that points out humanities ill effects on the environment. While I have no problems with the lyrics they aren't up to par with lyrics on their other albums. There isn't as much depth, angst, or meaning in the lyrics which is a real bummer.
Overall Impression — 4
Linkin Park has long been a favorite band of mine. I love the mix of samples, heavy guitar, bass, and the occasional piano that Linkin Park so flawlessly mixes together. This album fell short is so many ways, the main reason was that Linkin Park not only changed style, it seems like they lost their identity. The music on the album is decent but lacky the intensity and originality of past albums. The slow ballads on the album would be the only highpoint of the album as the heavier tracks sound weak and uninspired. I honestly can't recommend this album or completely deter you from buying, I would recommend checking out this album any way you can and make up your own mind about it. You may love the new direction of Linkin Park, but I feel like I lost one of my favorite bands.