In their new album, Minutes to Midnight, bad boy alternative rockers Linkin Park show a new more somber and introspective side. Their first few albums dealt heavily with the traditional teen subjects of relationships and anger at parents, lovers, and themselves. This album sinks its teeth deeply into the emotions surrounding death and loss. Their distinctive sound of rap woven into a rock background is still present, though less obvious than before and gives way to serious lyrics and themes. It’s the same band that we enjoyed before but they’ve grown a little older and a lot more world weary.
There are a variety of different subjects on this album. Two songs are filled with social commentary, notably about the war in Iraq with lyrics like “When the rich wage war it’s the poor that die”. Another discusses the devastation and abandonment of hurricane Katrina victims. Both have clever wording and showcase the current US President in a less than flattering light.
We also find two hard hitting ‘scream fests’ perfect for moshing, especially the viciously sung and worded, “Bleed it Out”, It features a man confronting his ex about their relationship by ‘ripping open old scars, digging in deep and letting the blood flow’ with cathartic and disturbing imagery. “What I’ve Done” concerns trying to change one’s life and become a better person.
“Put to rest, what you’ve thought of me,
While I clean the slate with the hands of uncertainty
So let Mercy come and wash away
What I’ve done.”
But the real meat of the album, by far the majority of songs, deal with death. In “Leave out all the Rest” they muse about how their families will view the legacy they will leave when they die, will they be remembered for the few good things they’ve done or forever be thought of as the imperfect souls that they really were. “Valentines Day” is a devastatingly harsh observation about how holidays can be painful to celebrate when a loved one has passed.
“So now you’re gone, and I was wrong
I never knew what it was like to be alone,
On a Valentines Day, on a Valentines Day”
Listening to “The Shadow of the Day” we cope with the impending death of a loved one. In my opinion the story involves a woman who has recently given birth. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I work with new mothers that causes me to read the lyrics in that particular light. I find them hauntingly beautiful and tragic at the same time.
“In cards and flowers on your window,
Your friends all plead for you to stay,
Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple,
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way.
And the sun will set for you,
And the shadow of the day,
Will embrace the world in gray,
And the sun will set for you.”
I have always enjoyed Linkin Park. Listening to them with my children gave me an appreciation of their talent; but it wasn’t until this album that I got a copy of the CD for myself to listen to while I drive. I enjoy the variety of songs and the mature themes, and there’s always the added benefit of having my kids’ friends think I’m ‘cool’ ‘cuz I listen to ‘good stuff’. 🙂