"A Thousand Suns" by Linkin Park

Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns

Warner Bros. Records
2010

Review

An album that only die-hard fans can love.

I like Linkin Park. I really do. I like it when their combination of rapping and screaming is set to some good angsty fast guitars. I think that the band has been trying to escape that sound though and that they've had varying degrees of success. Obviously, when they stick to expectations I'm going to be a happy listener. It's when they stray from the formula that things don't always go so well. They obviously don't want to be the band to repeat themselves album after album, and for that, I congratulate the group. I just think they've got a few more albums to go before they figure out what that direction is as A LOT of this album is just random inconsequential interludes.

"Waiting For The End" has been blowing up your alternative radio for some time. See, I think this song is indicative of what their "new" sound should be. This sound is not so much an entirely brand new direction as much as it is a refinement of the sound that they've already established. Chester's screaming is now singing. Mike Shinoda's rapping is now, um, singing. Yes, Linkin Park makes great Pop-Rock ballads and the sooner they accept that the happier us long term fans will be (is it me or do they have the most success when they sound just like Dirty Heads (not to be confused with Nappy Heads)? I loved "Bleed It Out" off their last record and this is very similar to that song.

"Blackout" has the screaming again mixed with an uptempo dance track that you know, just does not work. It's like if you are going to scream have more rock influence or at least have fun to sell it. But to me, this type of sound just doesn't work for them (or for fans of screaming). For example, "Wretches And Kings" which is just dirty dirty raw Hip-Hop/Rock song that COMMITS. This is Run DMC/Sitting on Chrome style Hip-Hop/Rock fusion that goes all out with what the group is good at! But again, it's taking what the band is good at and expanding upon it. Sure, it's limiting for Chester to be just screaming a hook, but it works.

Ditto for "The Catalyst" which is - I think - the type of Linkin Park song that Linkin Park doesn't want to focus on but it's GOOD. It's more melodious than their earlier work...but Chester gets to sing AND scream, and the band gets to get a bit more experimental. All that's missing is a Shinoda rap. Works for me.

In the end, there are too many random instrumental interludes. I just see this album as a necessary diversion on the road to the band's evolution. Peep the radio singles, but unless you are a die-hard completionist maybe hold off on the full-album purchase.

3.778 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. The Requiem (02:01)
2. The Radiance (00:57)
3. Burning in the Skies (04:13) 4
4. Empty Spaces (00:18)
5. When They Come for Me (04:53) 3
6. Robot Boy (04:28) 3
7. Jornada del Muerto (01:34)
8. Waiting for the End (03:51) 5
9. Blackout (04:39) 3
10. Wretches and Kings (04:10) 5
11. Wisdom, Justice, and Love (01:38)
12. Iridescent (04:56) 3
13. Fallout (01:23)
14. The Catalyst (05:42) 5
15. The Messenger (03:01) 3