posted on July 23, 2007 05:56
Even Rick Rubin’s magical production skills can’t save this mediocre album as Linkin Park set about looking for a new direction, and new fans, but in the process, forget the 40 million that fell in love with their previous sound.
The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10.
One of the most anticipated albums of 2007 sees American sextet Linkin Park team up with Rick Rubin, the man with the midas touch, as they try to expand on the success of Hybrid Theory and Meteora.
Recorded over 14 months, ‘Minutes To Midnight’ sees Linkin Park taking a chance at trying to re-invent themselves, but putting a weak instrumental ‘Wake’ as the album opener doesn’t do them any favours. By track two ‘Given Up’, the screams of “tell me what the f**k is wrong with me” doesn’t make the song a memorable one, and on ‘Bleed It Out’ Mike Shinoda raps over some out of date 80s clapping sound effects.
Chester Bonnington takes lead vocals on ‘Shadow Of The Day’ and he sounds remarkably like Bono. The song is very reminiscent of ‘With Or Without You’, but I put that down to Rubin’s influence.
The first single from the album ‘What I’ve Done’ isn’t great, but it does contain a haunting piano intro that would sit well on any Hitchcock soundtrack.
George Bush’s war on Iraq isn’t ignored here either. The bands frustration is demonstrated on songs like ‘Hands held High’ and ‘The Little Things Give You Away’, the latter written shortly after they visited New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina.
For me the standout tracks are the ballads. They may never reach the brilliance of Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty but on ‘Leave Out All The Rest’ Bonnington does a superb job vocally and displays the soft rock side of Linkin Park, a side that I never knew existed.
Speaking of ballads, ‘Valentines Day’ starts out as one, but halfway through; the band loses their way and are unsure what sound they are trying to achieve. They have saved the best for last however with the aforementioned ‘The Little Things Give You Away’.
With this album Linkin Park wanted to create something that maintained the integrity of the band's personality, but pushed their boundaries. The fans that bought their previous albums will have problems adapting to this new direction, and with 100 songs to choose from during the making of this album, I think they could have chosen more wisely.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.