To quote Fred Willard’s character in A Mighty Wind, “Wha’ happened?” Linkin Park’s breakout album, Hybrid Theory, and the incredible followup, Meteora, spotlighted lead vocalist Chester Bennington’s vocal chops. Bennington can leap from a sorrowful melody to an outright guttural scream in a matter of three bars. But now, it seems Linkin Park has either gone through some serious mental therapy or they’re all on Prozac. Don’t get me wrong—Minutes to Midnight is a fantastic album that still finds Bennington leading the charge, but in a more mellow mood. Also gone is the band’s heavy emphasis on digital sampling and DJ spins. It seems that Linkin Park has abandoned what initially got fans to pack stadiums, and they’ve gone for a more streamlined, commercial rock record. Perhaps this is due to a switch in producers from Don Gilmore (who worked the first two albums) to Rick Rubin. Fortunately, there’s still plenty to wave your fist in the air to—such as the standout “Bleed It Out”—for loyal fans, as well as more radio-friendly tracks to reel in newbies. Bonus: The liner notes include info from the band on their creative process for each song, as well as all of the lyrics.
LISTEN: Must Play
Producers: Rick Rubin, Mike Shinoda. Engineers: Andrew Scheps, Ethan Mates, Dana Nielsen, Phillip Broussard Jr. (assistant), Erich Talaba (Pro Tools). Mixing: Neal Avron (assisted by George Gumbs, Nicolas Fournier) at Paramount Studios (L.A.). Studio: The Mansion (Laurel Canyon, Calif.), NRG Recording (L.A.). Mastering: Dave Collins at Collins Audio (L.A.).