When you're a band that has garnered as much critical acclaim as Linkin Park has in one specific genre, often times it can be difficult to redefine your sound once that genre has long since dissipated. In this album, you can definitely hear that difficulty, but intertwined with that rough experimentation, there are these slight twinges of brilliance that not only make this album exciting, but markedly one of the bands best in terms of evolution and depth.
Minutes to Midnight, the bands last foray into the popular music world, downplayed slightly the rap and rock element that had defined the band previously, and brought to the table a genre-defying album of pop rock music.
If that change alienated you or your Linkin Park friends, then this album might not be for you. I happen to enjoy the new sound; however, there are no elements of the "old" Linkin Park in this record. Instead, this is an unpredictable album that shocks and awes you at every turn, and it happens to be a fantastic thing.
In this album, the catchy hooks and grungy guitar riffs that took solace in their other albums are long gone, and are instead replaced with synthesizers and happy indie rock undertones. This might seem like a shock to former Linkin Park fans, but one must approach this album with an open mind to truly appreciate its depth and beauty.
The most notable change in my mind is the amount of ambient music that this album provides. This has caused critics to define this as not only a concept album, but a very experimental one. The lyrical content of this album is the same amazing stuff Linkin Park is known for, including anti-war sentiments and incredibly poignant sentiments on the current state of humanity.
Without question, this is Linkin Parks most avant-garde album to date.
Rick Rubin is rehashing his talents by serving as the albums producer, and gives this album a linear path to travel upon, unlike the frenzied release of Minutes To Midnight.
If you were to remove the spoken word pieces and interludes, you would only be left with about nine full length songs (all of which are amazing).
When I download music, this may or may not be a bad thing, however, it's easy to see that this record is meant to be listened to uninterrupted from start to finish. Though I can see how this album could alienate fans of Linkin Park by diverting so much from their original sound, a very substantial statement can be said about the bands creativity.
If this album wasn't such a departure, people would be claiming that Linkin Park is a one trick pony. This album is something that has to be felt and experienced, rather than listened to. If you enjoy Linkin Park, you will enjoy this album.