Review Summary: For the most part LP abandoned their nu-metal sound, but it could have been executed better.
When Linkin Park released Meteora, they made no attempt to try anything new and they still stuck with their radio friendly nu-metal sound. While they are not one of the best nu-metal bands out there, they are still a talented group of people. Some of their most successful songs I still love to this day. Minutes to Midnight was a step in the right direction for the band and it was the first sign of Linkin Park starting to lose their nu-metal sound. So was it worth the four year wait? Well, the answer is mostly no, but there is a hint of yes in there too. With all of that aside, the album is not terrible.
1. Wake- A relatively slow intro track that builds up from an ambient piano tune to an extremely boring and simple guitar riff. It does not really do anything to enhance the experience of the album and it did not have to be included. 1.5/5
2. Given Up- Well, the title of this song pretty much says it all. It opens to an uncharacteristic clapping sound that we never heard from Linkin Park. Another dull, but extremely catchy guitar riff comes in and leads into Chester at his vocal best. He sings about, well, giving up and questions what is wrong with him. "Tell me what the f**k is wrong with me!!!" The lyrics are a step downward for Linkin Park because they are extremely juvenile, but Chester gives his best scream yet lasting nearly 18 seconds. This song should have been in place of Wake as it would have been a better opening track. 3/5
3. Leave Out All The Rest- Now this is a great track. It is the first slow song that Linkin Park released and it pays off very well for the most part. Chester sings with just the right amount of emotion and it is the perfect radio song. However, once again the lyrics are not very creative and the music is not very original. 3.5/5
4. Bleed It Out- A great guitar riff greets our ears as the song begins and Mike Shinoda makes his first appearance rapping on the record. His rapping verses are fantastic and typically leads into Chester's chorus: "I'll bleed it out, dig it deeper just to throw it away!" I can not stress enough that Linkin Park has never really had original lyrics, but they are ultimately forgivable in most of their songs. 3/5
5. Shadow Of The Day- This is another immensely popular radio hit that is among the lackluster songs on this record. Chester croons about giving up again and it gives a horrible message to radio listeners. This is one of my least favorites on the album and one of Linkin Park's worst songs. 2/5
6. What I've Done- Following Shadow Of The Days is one of the albums best song. It opens with a relatively short piano tune and the simple yet catchy guitar comes in. Chester sings about starting over again and mending the wrongs that has been done and it gives a much better message than the previous track and it deserves its place on the radio. 3/5
7. Hands Held High- Another one of my least favorite LP songs begins with music that ultimately stays the same throughout the track. Mike raps for most of this song and even sings with Chester towards the end of the song. His singing voice is great, but not even his great voice and rapping can save this song because it is just too boring and the corny AMEN throughout the song is unnecessary. Skip this one. 2/5
8. No More Sorrow- It begins with a much better guitar riff for LP and builds up to an awesome chorus that is preceded by lyrics of getting back at those who wronged you. Chester is again at his vocal best and Chester shouting "thieves and hypocrites" is great. 3.5/5
9. Valentine's Day- After hearing this song, LP has established that they can create slower songs that do not have a nu-metal sound. This is a great and bleak song that really showcases how great of a singer Chester is. The guitar is soothing and the lyrics are quite bleak yet somewhat relateable. It builds to a great climax at the end that results in a great end to one of the best on the album. 4/5
10. In Between- Mike is a great singer, but it is a shame that he does not get to showcase his voice on great songs. His vocal interplay with Chester is once again great, but does not have the music to back it up. It has a little bit of strings with some drumming sound effects thrown in there and the guitar is boring once again. It's quite a disappointment. 1.5/5
11. In Pieces- This track is quite intriguing because it is one of the most unique on the record. Chester sings about someone who has cheated and how there "truth in your lies." It begins with a somber tune and comes some cool drumming sound effects. It all leads up to a great climax with a simple guitar solo and the first guitar solo that ever seen from LP. The drumming is decent towards the end. This is one of my favorites. 4.5/5
12. The Little Things Give You Away- Amazing is the best way to describe it. This is the perfect closing track that clocks in at about 6:30 which is one of the longest tracks LP ever produced. It is emotional, well produced, and the best climax of any song on the record. Mike and Chester's vocal interplay at the end is perfect and ending the song with just Mike and Chester vocalizing and no music really paid off. Well done Linkin Park. Well done. 5/5
Minutes to Midnight was definitely a step in the right direction for Linkin Park. What it really comes down to is that it just was not executed very well. The album contains some standout tracks, but sadly they are hard to come by on the record. If you are willing to accept the change in style than you should definitely pick this one up. However, if you are fans of Linkin Park's older nu-metal sound then you will be disappointed.
Tracks I recommend:
- Valentine's Day
- In Pieces
- The Little Things Give You Away