Linkin Park
A Thousand Suns


5.0
classic

Review

by neekafat CONTRIBUTOR (69 Reviews)
December 8th, 2016 | 62 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Once you got the Theory of how the thing works, everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first.”

Rapped over the tribal drums and distorted crunch of "When They Come for Me," it's not hard to interpret Mike Shinoda's words as being directly pointed at the riotous fans of Hybrid Theory and Meteora. It's not hard to see why so many fans were surprised with Linkin Park's ventures into new genres, with Minutes to Midnight venturing closer to a varied alternative rock sound, and A Thousand Suns, which no real genre other than simply "alternative" can describe.

In many ways, A Thousand Suns is the inevitable outcome of Meteora's expansion on Hybrid Theory. The influence of electronica on "Breaking the Habit," the emphasis on distortion, the obvious restlessness of the confines of the nu-metal genre, all point to what would eventually come out in this album.

The degree with which Linkin Park enveloped themselves in the dense experimentalism of the album, compared to their previous efforts at least, is perhaps what surprises people the most. They didn't exactly throw aside their nu-metal roots as much as planted them into the ground and grew something bigger and bolder.

"The Requiem" and "The Radiance" begin the album by bleeding into each other, effectively establishing a mood of industrial efficiency, a world driven by machinery with uneasy vocals and Oppenheimer’s famous quote on the atomic bomb. This in turn fades directly into "Burning in the Skies," an almost lovely song that is easily the most poppy thing on the album, featuring gentle electronica beats, and a rare guitar solo. Chirping crickets at the end segue into "Empty Spaces," a swift track with the sound of marching and war which then cuts directly into the aforementioned hip-hop gem "When They Come for Me," which-- I've probably made my point by now.

The band often speak of this project as "an album," which might seem obvious to the point of stupidity. However, they mean to imply that unlike previous releases, especially Minutes to Midnight, this is not simply a collection of songs ordered in random sequence, but is as an organically flowing work of art. If you sat back and listened in order, the transitions aren't even noticeable. The record is geared toward listening to music in the traditional way, no skipping around and no setting it on random. They even released a digital version of the album called "A Thousand Suns: The Full Experience" which is nothing more than the entire thing as one giant track so that it can't be put on random.

This only helps A Thousand Suns as a concept album, albeit an abstract one. Rather than follow a straight narrative, it takes a more indirect approach. Focusing on ideas such as nuclear war, guilt, class struggles, Linkin Park ties these seemingly disparate issues together using this pacing and flow to add a cohesive feel and structure to the piece.

The historical speeches used throughout the album highlight the societal struggles brought up, such as the rousing bridges of "When They Come for Me" and "Wretches and Kings," and the transition track "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" utilizes a moving speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. about the cruelty of humanity against a minimalistic piano tune, and slowly transforming it into a expressionless, almost sinister robotic distortion. As the music drains away, all that is left is that robotic voice, forming an eerie image of humanity gradually losing its passion.

At the other end of the spectrum, rousing personal songs such as "Robot Boy," a strange yet ethereal song of hope and indifference, and "Iridescent," with its unbelievably powerful climax involving all six members of the band joining in harmony, remain as a refreshingly poignant and very well written balance to the angst of their early years.

It all comes down to the fact that while the album sounds exceptionally varied and eclectic, it never feels disjointed or out of whack. This balance is achieved better than any other record I can recollect. Every song serves to even another out, and there really is no other way to listen to it than as a whole. The only problem I can see with the flow would be the pointless track "Fallout," which bridges "Iridescent" and the brilliant lead single "The Catalyst." It's not a bad track in of itself, but it robs this pair of the potential one-two punch.

Another problem could be "The Messenger." Blending the folky acoustic guitar and piano with the extremely passionate vocals from Chester Bennington, this is undoubtedly an album highlight. However, when viewed as a whole, it steals the record’s possible cyclical nature. Without it, restarting the album would allow "The Catalyst" to blend straight into "The Requiem," in which the lyrics from the former are eerily foreshadowed with child-like vocals. While it’s a great song, it’s easy to see why some could do without it.
In all, this is a hard album to label objectively. Everyone, depending on their musical background, their memories of Linkin Park's past, or enjoyment of all the different genres twisted into this project, will have differing opinions on it.

While it's difficult not to view Mike's words in "When They Come for Me" as an accusation of the fans that always want the "old Linkin Park back," I view it as a statement not at the fans, but about the band itself.

That this is who they are now. This is how they sound. This is how they want to sound. And it's just the way they like it.



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user ratings (2681)
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Observer EMERITUS (1.5)
    Rest in peace...

    Irving EMERITUS (4)
    The essence of a 2000-year old sacred Hindu scripture...presented in nu-metal form....

    Dave de Sylvia EMERITUS (3.5)
    An extremely well-crafted rock album from a band whose (self-directed) anger is, for once,...

    Simon K. STAFF (4)
    A ballsy change of sound that elevates the band to a new creative level....

  • Nick Mongiardo (4)
    "I am not the fortune and the fame nor the same person telling you to forfeit the game"...

    Aeri (4)
    "We were not making an album. For months, we'd been destroying and rebuilding our band."...

    FCY (3)
    Linkin Park are on a pill that's tough to swallow....

    DropTune (4)
    Although controversial, A Thousand Suns offers the contemplative side of Linkin Park like ...

  • AtavanHalen (3.5)
    Several steps closer to the edge, Linkin Park jump off into the unknown....

    Herbie Chrost (5)
    "The hardest part of ending is starting again"...

    Emson652 (4)
    "It seems ugly, but it could get worse, 'Cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse. 'Ca...

    Cheesewireism (4.5)
    Linkin Park has undertaken a major step forward in their career, from the va...

  • wyankeif1337 (3)
    Is it Hybrid Theory 3? No. Is it worth listening to? If you’re willing to overlook fact ...

    CasualListen (4)
    This is the band's first concept album. Musically, it is still not superior to the band's...

    TheMushuPork (4)
    Linkin Park gets experimental, and goes into unexplored territory. The result? An album th...

    Chevy182 (2)
    Some potential found but that doesn’t justify this album, because of the sequence or mes...

  • NapalmDe4th (1.5)
    Linkin Park's most experimental album yet ends up proving just how incompetent the band is...

    AndrewLawson (2)
    Linkin Park has lost all of their original appeal in favor of a boring droning, electronic...

    rekrdskratcher (2.5)
    A funeral for Hybrid Theory/Meteora-era Linkin Park that began with Minutes to Midnight en...

    NickDuffy (5)
    An album that will have your emotions change as every track passes....

  • MrTrashyTheTrashCan (1)
    "A Thousand Suns" is a wreck from the beginning to the end. Like the album's song "Waiting...

    Strider (4)
    ...

    mmawilkinson82 (5)
    A stunning album that takes Linkin Park in a whole new direction and really shows off the ...



Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Here. We. Go

Huge thanks to AsleepInTheBack for proofing the original giant mess

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2016


57536 Comments


dude you should check some real music

Digging: Bladee x ECCO2K - Remote Utopias

TVC15
December 8th 2016


10691 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Literally just cos it has the name Linkin Park on it, doesn't automatically make it bad ffs

stranger
December 8th 2016


803 Comments


nah literally everything they've ever done is a steaming pile of shit made for acne-ridden middle schoolers

TVC15
December 8th 2016


10691 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

a mood of industrial efficiency




Efficiency is bit of an odd word choice



and the only guitar solo to be found here




There's actually one other guitar solo and it's on Waiting for the End



in which the lyrics from the former are eerily foreshadowed by a child vocalist




That's actually Mike singing with autotune



Other than that, it is a well written review but for a rating as bold as a 5, t lacks a little bit of meat to back it up although this is something you'll naturally get better at with time

Snake.
December 8th 2016


22602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Literally just cos it has the name Linkin Park on it, doesn't automatically make it bad ffs




literally yes it does

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Man, already so divisive

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@TVC Thanks for the feedback man, I'll do what I can. And yeah, I was trying to not seem to fanboyish so I tried to not overpraise everything which may have made it seem a bit restrained

stranger
December 8th 2016


803 Comments


used to cry all the time to that "i tried so hard" song when it first came out because that was around the time my mom started seeing that jerk paul. i'll never call you dad, stop buying me shit.
tell me about how this band has helped you guys through difficult times.

BenThatsMyJamin
December 8th 2016


3771 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album as I've always said, I think you did well enough explaining what makes the album work, which is that flow and cohesiveness as a complete work despite the blending of genres, so good job there

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Stranger how do you rate everything either a 1 or a 5

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Ben!

stranger
December 8th 2016


803 Comments


"Stranger how do you rate everything either a 1 or a 5"
if you go to an artists' page or a specific review there's a drop-down box. click that and it'll give you the option to assign the album a rating between 1 and 5. let me know if you need any more help!

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man! Just got a little confused is all :]

CzechyGuy
December 8th 2016


179 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is by far the best thing LP have put out imho. I just wish The Catalyst was the closer instead of The Messenger.



Also, a nice review, gonna pos it.

AnimalsAsSummit
December 8th 2016


5326 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

woah

Digging: Dave Koz - Saxophonic

bentheREDfan
December 8th 2016


502 Comments


Leave him alone. He likes Linkin Park, then let him do it. I'm sick of this crap where we terrorize other users for the music they enjoy. I hate the avant-garde stuff that's all over this website but I never say anything about it. Let people like what they like.

bentheREDfan
December 8th 2016


502 Comments


You wanna comment on the quality of the review, then fine. Do it, some criticism can be helpful. But you don't have to slam the band or the reviewer himself to the degree that it is performed here.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
December 8th 2016


20677 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Czechy Thanks man, glad you enjoy it

@Ben Yeah I never really got that either. I enjoy debating but shaming is just unnecessary. This is by far not the worst reaction I've gotten though

voltairesangryglove
December 8th 2016


700 Comments


@ben how the fuck is anyone being "terrorized" itt? fucking lol
also bro ppl are allowed to criticize music they find shitty. sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities.



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