“Minutes to Midnight”

It’s been four years since the release of “Meteora,” and Linkin Park has returned stronger than ever with their third album, “Minutes to Midnight.” The band spent 14 months in the studio and wrote more than 100 song demos to create this album.

When I started listening to this CD, I was surprised to hear something other than the heavy beats and rapping for which Linkin Park is notorious. They have switched from a hard rock-techno format to a polished, sometimes quieter album layout. With momentous lyrics, smooth melodies, and a classic rock-type song structure, this new side of Linkin Park is a more submissive one.

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“What I’ve Done” is the first single off the record. Although I wasn’t totally thrilled when I heard it the first time, the more I listened, the more it grew on me. “Bleed It Out,” is one of the best songs on the album, and its rapping and fast-paced rhythm is reminiscent of their earlier works.

“No More Sorrow” and “Given Up” are other upbeat songs that will have fans singing along. For the first time, Shinoda sings solo on “Hands Held High,” an antiwar song. It’s one of the high points of the album because of its raw emotion.

Three of my favorites are “Shadow of the Day,” “The Little Things Give You Away,” and “In Pieces.” They are some of the softest songs, backed with fluttering electric guitars and electronic drums. Without all the screaming, I feel the band conveys their message less encumbered.

Linkin Park has been a growing phenomenon since their start. Although many of their previous songs tended to sound monotonous, their abilities have grown and revolutionized how they work as a whole.

I definitely give “Minutes to Midnight” five stars. Many fans might disapprove of Linkin Park’s step in a different direction, but I encourage them to listen and appreciate the music.

The melancholy harmonies throughout “Minutes to Midnight” are one of this CD’s strongest attributes. What’s more important, the music or the lyrics? The lyrics are the foundation, but the music makes it come alive as each word is emphasized by a melody. It’s the combination of these two that makes music captivating. Linkin Park truly grasps this with their remarkable compositions.

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