Black and white: a very simple, usually elegant combination. It can even be mysterious when presented correctly, as done by Linkin Park on the cover of their newest album, “A Thousand Suns.” Much like their last album, “Minutes to Midnight” — the theme of which was war — the enticing cover image leads fans to wonder about the music within.
Linkin Park first emerged in 1999 and, in 2000, they released their first hit album, “Hybrid Theory,” which sold over 4.8 million copies in its first year. In 2003, “Meteora” — which combined many elements of the rapcore and nü metal styles — was released, adding to Linkin Park’s success. Then came “Minutes to Midnight” in 2007. Despite the success of the single, “What I’ve Done,” the album left many fans unsatisfied overall, as the band intentionally strayed from the nü metal sound that their fans had come to love.
Many fans hoped that the release of “A Thousand Suns” would be a return to form for Linkin Park. Unfortunately, the upbeat tracks that listeners used to enjoy from the band are largely missing from this album. The biggest problems are the songs “Wretches and Kings” and “When They Come for Me,” which sound more like rap than rapcore.
Not all is lost, however, as the album’s other tracks are quite catchy and easy to listen to. “Burning in the Skies,” “The Catalyst” and “Blackout” will probably make you want to move with the beat, and eventually sing along, too. The most surprising thing about this album is that it includes songs (“The Catalyst” and “Iridescent”) in which Mike Shinoda, rapcore vocalist, sings sections rather than rapping them. This gives “A Thousand Suns” a unique and interesting tone, as it is the only album to include lead vocalist Chester Bennington and Shinoda singing together.
All in all, “A Thousand Suns” is not terrible, but it is not fantastic, either. Fans of the band’s early albums will miss the nü metal sound of Linkin Park’s older music, but fans of their new style will probably enjoy most of the songs on this album. “A Thousand Suns” will take Linkin Park’s career in a new direction — hopefully not for the worse.