A Thousand Suns in 30 words or less:

Linkin Park released their fourth studio album on September 14, 2010; produced by Rick Rubin, as was Minutes to Midnight; experimental; edge of progress; melodic, confident; either provokes thought, respect or ignorant anger

My Randomly Ordered Top 7 Moments of A Thousand Suns

  1. “When They Come for Me” : “Everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first”;  1:21; Mike Shinoda knows what people are expecting.  Heck, you’re almost 10 minutes deep in the album at this point without a signature scream from Chester.
  2. “When They Come for Me”; 4:18; A break from the major and minor modes, the power chord-driven rhythm guitar, and pentatonic solos into a harmonic minor mode is more evidence of Linkin Park’s dedication to what is best for the song, and not to what people think they want.
  3. “Robot Boy”; 2:13; “You think compassion’s a fault and you’ll never let it show/ and you’re sure you’ve hurt in a way that no one will ever know.” Same angst sans screaming.
  4. “Blackout”; 0:57, and especially 1:10; The first scream from Chester, as if they knew what people wanted was more rap and more screaming; so they made us wait until half way through the album, then gave us both in a track that is simultaneously the epitome of their new sound and reminiscent in some way of every aspect of their earlier work.
  5. “Wretches and Kings”;0:41; Chester and Mike step forward as the most powerful, most genre-transcending duo in music, even adopting an eclectic delivery to add something extra to an already extraordinary track.
  6. “Iridescent; 0:18; “When you were standing in the wake of devastation/ you were waiting on the edge of the unknown/ With the cataclysm raining down/ inside’s crying save me now/ you were there impossibly alone.” Undeniably well-penned lyrics.  Iridescent, meaning something that when looked at from different angles changes colors, placed against a cataclysm, meaning a violent upheaval that causes a fundamental change.  The irony of it all is that such good lyrics may have been on Hybrid Theory, but they were lost in the screams, the heavy guitar and the turntables. Now, face to face with the same angst-riddled lyrics, you are much more likely to actually hear them then just nod your head.
  7. “The Messenger” A chance to see Chester sing acoustically, without screaming, and just showing his range and imperfections.  It isn’t uncommon for Linkin Park to strip down their earlier songs live to show how melody was always the foundation, and this song is a testament to that.

No review could really completely sum up “A Thousand Suns” without taking into account the expectations and critic pressure surrounding this album.  While most reviews will fall short, Mike Shinoda himself found a fully comprehensive review that he could respect.  In a nutshell, to survive you have to adapt.  Irregardless of what worked yesterday, music denies formulas.  Or should I say, history denies formulas.  Popular radio relies on them to entertain the masses of people who prefer nodding their head to using it.  That said, what Linkin Park may lose in fans who expected a band that would continue to give voice to their unresolved anger and frustration, they will gain in people who realize there are more important things in music than a hook, and there are more important things in life then pacifying your own emotions.


September 14’s Music Cache

A rare performance from the band of the hour of Given Up, in which Chester holds the entire scream.

Skip to a minute in, sit back and enjoy

Come my lady, come, come my lady