new Linkin Park albumLinkin Park received both praise and heavy criticism for their latest effort, Minutes to Midnight. I'll be the first to admit that I was disappointed when I realized that the days of rock/rap were over for the hugely popular band. Of course, any time you take the world by storm, there will always come a time when the excitement and newness fades. 

Like all bands, Linkin Park is looking for that way to combine the exploration of artistic expression with a renewed relevance to contemporary culture. The result was Minutes to Midnight, a surprising mix of styles and genres that both reward and disappoint the listener simultaneously.

Is the new album worth a listen? Sure. Is it worth a purchase? Can't say for sure. Fans will surely be divided on this one. If you demand the combination of rage and heartbreaking vulnerability, you will be disappointed. If you feel a kinship with the band based on the past and you're willing to evolve alongside the band, you may be pleasantly surprised. 

If music is an expression of life, Minutes to Midnight expresses a growth within the band, though perhaps a growth that is still fumbling to find a solid identity post-trauma. Bands like Linkin Park, Nine Inch Nails, and Korn, though all very different in style, all made it big through the combination of expressing their personal traumas with an unusual vulnerability. The measure of continued success, however, depends somewhat on the artists' ability to grow both as people and as musicians. 

Trent Reznor has lost fan base because people tend to grow up. They mature, God willing, and leave behind them some of their childish rantings. One would hope that people eventually come to terms with their wounds and traumas and find the ability to forgive and move on. Artists who stay locked into a perpetual irresponsible youth phase lose their fan base to maturity and tend to find themselves somewhat irrelevant to the next generation.

Linkin Park shows us that they are willing to grow and to change. They still have good music, so we can't throw them out simply because they didn't provide us with another In the End or Papercut.  

Those of you whose Linkin Park experience is incomplete without a good scream will still have a little juice through songs No More Sorrow and Given Up. If you want a little Limp Bizkit feel, check out the Hands Held High and Bleed It Out. Of course, What I've Done is already a hit on the radio and several movie soundtracks.

For the more melodic side, check out Shadow of the DayThe Little Things You Give Away, and Valentine's Day. Linkin Park is more political here, referencing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the War in Iraq. Regardless of their point of view, it's refreshing to see that they can look beyond their own hurt and engage the world around them. 

Minutes to Midnight is worth listening to. It currently graces my list of top ten albums of the year thus far.  

6 responses to “Thoughts on the New Linkin Park Album: Minutes to Midnight”

  1. You know, I really hate that Reznor hasn’t grown up. I consider him to be one of THE MOST TALENTED musicians out there in pop culture, yet his lyrics remain static… He’s essentially self-absorbed, unforgiving, fiercely resentful, and self-destructive.

    I’d love to see what a man with his creative force could do were he to suddenly approach life as a creator, rather than a destroyer.

  2. I like everything Linkin Park puts out i am definitely going get that C.D or borrow it from a good friend :).
    Who is Trent Reznor?

    Is he that dork who wrote and still writes a bunch of melodramitic,obscene,anti-semitic,anti-Christian, suicidal,debaucherous,drug-induced music with dated and redundant beats?
    Is he that guy who acts like fifteen year old girl in a 40 year old body?
    Or is he the guy that when i hear his music i get so nauseaus i want to puke?

    Sorry dont think he is that talented soley because its the same material and negative message.

  3. Hmmm… Sounds like someone is harboring resentment towards their teenage idol.

    And I’m not so sure you have a good enough friend to borrow the cd! 😉

    Seriously, I didn’t intend to focus on Reznor in this piece, but I think you’re not giving him credit, Aaron. He sits in his stupid little studio somewhere in Louisiana and pieces together every little sound that becomes a song. He’s meticulous, despite his undoubted alcoholism and drug addiction.

    But we’re not here to talk about him. He doesn’t get any props because he IS still the emotional teenager. I wouldn’t put Linkin Park in the same category as U2, but they’re at least evolving.

  4. I know this is 3 years later but i’m watching the last NIN tour on DVD right now and I wouldn’t think selling out stadiums counts as losing your fan base, I also wouldn’t call making millions off an album that you were giving away for free the day it was released losing your fan base either. I would call that a run on sentence though.

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