Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reviewing A Thousand Typo'd Sons

In the week that The Script's second album went straight in at number one with their collection of whiney, melodic, catchy crap, Linkin Park's new album, A Thousand Suns, managed to hit the number two spot.

I listened to it most of Wednesday and Friday, while I spent Thursday listening to their back catalogue wondering if all the people whinging about them changing their style and not having any guitars in the new album is really fair or not.

To be fair, listening back, I couldn't spot where Hybrid Theory merged into Meteora. Yes, there are a couple of stand-out songs on each album, but in general they sound exactly the same.  Minutes To Midnight was a bit different, but they've really gone for it with A Thousand Suns (which I'm still having to go back and change from writing 'Sons' - must be the 40k player in me).

There's a lot of repetition, a lot of samples, a lot of socio-political-type comment (i.e. preaching) and, at 47 minutes, it's pretty damn short. They're still going on about Vietnam, Martin Luther King and, most notably, the creation of nuclear weapons, but in a world where Iraq and Afghanistan are the current hot-spots, using clips of speeches from 50, 60 years ago and more just doesn't cut it. They can draw as many parallels and echoes as they like, but Public Enemy did Martin Luther King soundbites far better.

At least they didn't fuck with his tuning to make him sound like a Transformer - awesome as that is on the 99-second long track Wisdom, Justice And Love - but as Mike Shinoda seems so very determined to tell us, he's copied from Chuck D, Biggie Smalls and the like, and they're now in such a bold musical direction that Linkin Park fans have to catch up with the band, motherfuckers.

It's like they've stopped confining Mr Hahn to just directing the music videos and playing with samples. A Thousand Suns seems to be one huge Cure for the Itch (from Hybrid Theory), as they've completely over-produced this record. Too much time spent looking anguished in the studio while they show off their tats and piercings.

Despite all the criticism, I actually like the album. The nine 'actual song' tracks - split apart by five random sets of samples and incidental music - don't stand out within the whole album. There are so many repeated themes, lines and lyrics throughout the record that nothing really jumps out at you. Take the tunes individually and they're good songs, take the whole record from front to back and it's a great album.

Definitely a concept album, definitely a stream of consciousness, and definitely controversial if you're an LP fan who lives and breathes the likes of New Divide, Faint, What I've Done and Numb. My favourite track from A Thousand Suns? Probably Iridescent, fighting for the top spot with Burning In The Skies.

If you like Linkin Park, you might well like this. If you hate them, you still might well like it. If you OMG LOVE them... well, you've got a decision to make. You can choose to keep up with where Linkin Park are going, or be left behind.

1 comment:

  1. Alas, the only saving grace of this album is "When They Come For Me". Even if the backing track sounds like post-apocalyptic Native American trance.