Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park

This third album from the alternative rock band Linkin Park took a different step in their musical style, albeit not a complete change, the devoted fan and maybe even the occasional listener noticed their new approach in this new album.

Whilst in previous albums, the meaning of the sound is surrounded by heavy guitar background and the odd scream here and there, this new style puts the moral more out on a limb. By toning down the metal and turning up the effect the lyrics have on us, they have achieved a way to tell their stories so we can learn their morals.

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The majority of the titles denote depression and sadness, with songs including “Given up”, “In Pieces” and “Bleed it out” it gives us a pretty good idea of what’s to come. When you have a good listen of the album you begin to notice a theme of regret, anger, redemption and at least a couple of the songs are based on a strained of past relationship.

Songs such as “Bleed it out” and “What I’ve done” conveys a sense of regret, as well as asking for redemption, as well as asking if they deserve it with lines such as: “I clean the slate with hands of uncertainty” and “I bleed it out, digging deeper just to throw it away”. Although it’s not clear to us what the seek redemption of, a lot of listeners can relate to these morals.

There is also a sense of death in the song, making it an even darker album to listen to; defiantly not one you’ll be putting on at your next outing. Lines such as “string me up from atop these roofs”, “6 feet underground” and “your time is borrowed, your time has come to be erased” gives us the images of suicide, graves and hatred to the point of wanting to completely get rid of the target of their anger. The more you delve into these songs, the more you realise this is something people listen to relate to, like the songs about tough relationships, the audience can listen and relate to the meanings after a fight with their partner, to feel comforted that someone else has felt their pain.
The depressing lyrics keep on coming once we get to the relationship-based pieces, with titles like “Valentine’s Day” being a deceiving front for lonely lyrics with lines from “the heartless wind” and “my mind has lost direction” which if you’ve been listening to the rest of the album, it’s not going to lighten your mood in a hurry. “In pieces” tells us of another troubled relationship that seems to be coming to an end, but “Hands Held High” takes a surprisingly political twist.

Although the previous songs were about personal disruptions and things close to home, “Hands Held High” makes a form of attack on the higher classes and political leaders when it comes to poverty and war. The theme of death is kept up when Mike Shinoda raps about the war, harsh truths such as “when the rich wage war it’s the poor who die” really hit home with the listener. Lines like this make us look at what’s going in our world again, with a slightly altered perspective.

By getting rid of the heavy instrumentals and using more acoustic and wind instruments as a background to their story-telling and what may be seen as rants, the moral is more clear to us, to see and to take in. Although some fans complain about the lack of rock in this album, there is certainly no lack of meaning. Nearly each song tells a different story, a different moral, but the impact is equal throughout. This album may be depressing, but for the times when life’s rough and you feel alone, this is an album that will be there for you, something that can say I know what you’re going through, you’re not alone. And since the main audience is teenagers, maybe who are going through a bad patch in life, this is an album that can be there for them.

Ryan Thacker

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