Monday, October 11, 2010

Linkin Park's 'A Thousand Suns': The FULL Album Review... sort of...

Tagged from
*Life rant...

Nearly had to ponder on this one: I was quite short on funds when the album was released, and I still need to catch a bus ride home. Inevitably I picked the latter, and then went back this week to purchase the thing... all before my final examinations... XD

So before I withdraw for the end-of-semester crunchtime, I figured I finish this review.

P.S. the review for HG Masurao may come a few days after my Final exams; expect a few Bushido-Gaijin tendencies... XD

*end rant... 

On to (possibly) the first Blog-based Album review... methinks...

Released worldwide last September, Linkin Park's new album A Thousand Suns has had its shares of rants and raves, ranging from heavy yet appealing deviations in the band's musical style, to a full departure to what catapulted  them into worldwide fame a decade ago. 

Nearly a month later, Filipino fans have finally got the opportunity to immerse themselves into what the new Linkin Park is all about.But unlike the album's predecessor, Minutes to Midnight, which was released with a parental advisory tag, the new album released in the Philippines was the clean version, maybe to appeal to the expression-sensitive types as well. Do not expect a decrease in the quality of the message of the album though.

Simple, hard CD Case (Compared to the Digipak covers used in Minutes)
Taking inspiration from the words of J. Robert Oppenheimer (aka the father of the Atomic Bomb), the Album speaks of what can happen during (and even after) a nuclear fallout. The cover itself is a testament of such ideals; it looks much like the pupil of a human eye being drowned in a sea of light (probably from a nuke).

The CD design was also taken into consideration, with streaks of smoke covering the entire CD; it was quite a nice touch honestly, contrasting the simplicity of the album cover.

A quick quirk though: they may have pushed the concept a bit too far with the design of the inside pages. I had quite the trouble of reading the lyrics on some of the pages, as their orientation was distorted to conform with the message of the album. (a big minus there...)

On to the songs...

Nine full songs and six filler tracks (reminiscent of Reanimation) comprise the near 48-minute album. Some of the reviews recommend to listen to the album in its entirety - as it was like a full song. I don't buy their claims though; I for one see 5 different chapters plus a light epilogue, upon listening (repetitively) to the album itself:

First part: from "The Requiem" to "When They Come for Me"
Second part: from "Robot Boy" to "Waiting for the End"
Third part: Blackout
Fourth part: Wretches and Kings
Fifth part: from "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" to "The Catalyst"
Epilogue: "The Messenger"

Now, it will be quite hard for me to describe, track by track, the entire album, so what I will do from this point on is to give recognitions (awards-style) to some of the songs, particularly the full-length ones:

* Most Underestimated Song: Iridescent

- A lot of the songs in the album have that 'single release' potential. This song is no exception, but unfortunately may not possibly be released as such. The progression from piano, to simple drum beats, to group vocals (a LP first) is quite seamless that one will end up raising fists in elation. Add also the possibility of a symphony-based version of the song and you could possibly mistake this for a church anthem (maybe).

Most Complex Song: tie between The Catalyst and When They Come for Me

- Two possible victory anthems; one borders on middle-eastern influences, the other on futuristic beats. One doubles as a melodic response to the haters of the band (possible equivalent to 'flipping the finger" at them), the other is more of a labyrinth of ideas of repentance, revelation, and ascension. 

* Most Overrated Song: Blackout

- A true showcase of the band's versatility, particularly between vocalists Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda: the former raps majority of the verses, then connects his trademark scream on the chorus (somewhat a welcome gesture for fans of Hybrid Theory); the latter goes for a mellow vocal solo on the bridge. Still, few may only appreciate this, probably due to the razor-edge screams.

* Certified Moshpit Anthem: Wretches and Kings 

- Heavy bass, face-melting guitar shreds, and mind-twisting synths and scratches, coupled with Shinoda and his flawless rapping ability inspired by Public Enemy, and you've got yourself a track worthy of fist-pumping with gusto. Mario Savio's symbolic cameo provides the groundwork (and the centerpiece) for this idea-mad activism song. (Expect this to be battle cries of rallyists, along with No More Sorrow...)

* Most Mind-Soothing Song: Waiting for the End

- Call it an emo-anthem if you wish, but the smoothness of Bennington's vocals in this song really blend well with the ragga intro and outro. I did not also expect Shinoda adding melodic rhythm in his raps for this one, which make it all the more relaxing. (makes me want to go to the beach or something... '^^) 

* Most (sort of) Normal Song: Burning in the Skies

- Reminiscent of What I've Done, this song, along with Iridescent and Waiting for the End, would be the singable tracks of the album. Not to distorted, not too fast, not too high on the notes, not too complicated; a true Goldilocks song, this... which is quite good on the ears too...

* The "What does it actually mean?" Song: Robot Boy

- The lyrics on this one does not quite blend with the title, much like the band's other previous songs. Maybe it draws more on the possible emotions and experiences of a robotic being, if it ever had them (Note: the song's aura may be a tribute to the movie AI: Artificial Intelligence, but maybe it's just me...)


Summing up, I will not remove what I said previously about this album. At first, you may not get the elements taken from the past three albums. But after immersing your senses to it, the fusion really does make sense. It really makes up for the full decade of evolution for the band, pushing everything to the limits with just the ambition to create honest art.

Maybe the only criticism I could find here would be the details on the lyrics in the album's booklet, but that's just me...

1 comment:

  1. One of my friends is 12 years old and he listens to linkin park. I asked him what his favourite linkin park song is and he replied "the catalyst".