A few weeks ago I got a text message from my boyfriend which said simply: "Linkin Park, what have you done?!"
Well, what Linkin Park had done was released their new album, A Thousand Suns. Forget Meteora, forget Minutes To Midnight: you will not recognise this new Linkin Park. Oh don't worry, they still mix heavy guitar with electronics, they still mesh Chester's raw vocals with Mike Shinoda's measured, melodic rapping. But the boys have branched out both musically and lyrically.
The best and most brutal example of the new direction and focus would be embodied by the track The Catalyst. Synthetic, raw and jarring with blunt, with very pointed lyrics. It's a bizzare combination of dance, metal and synth pop.
The only track I actually like so far on the new album is Iridescent, which is reminiscent of the soft, melancholy strains of songs like My December and The Little Things Give You Away from the 'old' LP days.
The track Wisdom, Justice and Love (as you can probably guess by the title) is extremely political, based off a clip from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech. However it is also a ridiculously short track at 1:32. There are a few of these throughout the album, which my boyfriend did not like at all. "They're just filler," were his exact words. By my count there are at least four songs which are under two minutes in length on this new album, and one coming in at two minutes exactly. Now I'm not saying all short songs are crappy, but... well there's not a lot you can say in two minutes, is there!
Fans are divided over this, with some absolutely hating the new sound, others enthuasiastically embracing it.
I for one love the new political/social drive. Lyrics are very important to me. The new LP is brash, unafraid and vehement. I agree with their message that music, being such a powerful tool and a big part of modern life, needs to realise and utilise its capability for change rather than being frivilous, or at worst damaging, all the bloody time. That's a message I can get behind. I'm really tired of mysoginistic rap, materialistic brainless pop and repetitive, empty dance music.
However, I don't like Linkin Park's new sound. Sorry. The kindest way to describe it would be to say that it sounds like an amateur remix of their old stuff.
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P.S. Would you guys be interested in some more music posts?