A Waste of Money: A review of Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns

In 44 horrible minutes Linkin Park just undid all the awesome times and rocking out of the previous 4.5 albums (I’m including the JAY-Z mashup cd because it’s rad, and makes me feel badass when I go jogging to Dirt off Your Shoulder/Lying from You). Just to let you know how bad A Thouand Suns is; I have deleted Linkin Park from my Facebook “Likes” list. And I do not take Facebook lightly. This is for real.

The problem here is Linkin Park realistically reached their stylistic peak with Meteora. They had Mike rap the verse, and Chester scream the chorus to thrashing guitars and cool sound effects. A good formula. Minutes to Midnight was a desperate attempt at depth and lyrical content. And now they’re just diving off the cliff. I should have known there would be problems when, prior to release, they described A Thousand Suns as not an album, but an “experience. ”

I know most of my audience may be tempted to think I am overreacting, as usual. So let me bring out the big guns right away.  The album ends with an acoustic track. A Linkin Park cd closes with Chester’s raspy-ass rock/rap scream trying to sound introspective and soft over some bland guitar strumming. That’s deep, bro. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. An unplugged track is a rock band’s death knell. I don’t know what it is with aging bands, but they inevitably reach the point where they feel they need to go bare bones on you, usually around the 5th or 6th album. They need to display their true musical merit. For some reason 3 chords on an acoustic guitar is thought to provide that. The bell is tolling for thee, Linkin Park.

Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks on the cd are god-awful, to boot. About five “songs” are 1:30 min. long segments of white noise with garbled MLK Jr. speeches or something in the background. That’s deep, too, bro. And all political and shit. If anyone can properly convey MLK’s message it’s a prog-rock band made up of 4 white dudes and 2 Asians. So minus the acoustic song, and the white noise stuff, that leaves us with about 9 actual music tracks. What an album! 9 whole songs?!

They’re awful, too, by the way. Iridescent is a bad Coldplay ripoff.  Being spared Chris Martin’s whiny British voice would normally be a plus. Unfortunately, here they just swap it out with Chester’s raspy-ass rock/rap voice trying to sound whiny and British. Or is it Mike’s? I wish I cared enough to listen to the song again. Burning in the Skies is tolerable until you listen to the lyrics, and it turns out the song is about “the blood of innocents burning in the skies.” …..if you say so. Blackout has a weird upbeat dance thing going on, but the end result sounds like an 80’s new-wave tune being raped by a howler monkey. Then there’s the Mike Shinoda “hardcore” rap tracks, like When They Come for Me, which sound like Lil’ Kim beats from the 90’s that couldn’t get past the cutting room. But he does reference Lauryn Hill and Biggie. If that doesn’t legitimize your rap credentials, I don’t what does. There’s also a track called Robot Boy; just thought I’d throw that out there. Waiting for the End features the Sigur Ros drawn out ambient guitar reverb effect, which is harder to tolerate when it’s not coming from an artsy Icelandic folk/prog-rock band.

A Thousands Suns is an awful album, and if Linkin Park had any love for their fans they would unmake the CD. Just give everyone their money back, and hit the recording studio again. I won’t even recommend top tracks or anything like that, since it’s all trash.

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