Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

NME.COM feature on Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns album including album review, artwork, tracks, listen now, tour dates, discography and more.

Release date: 08 September 2010

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Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns: Wikipedia Album Entry

A Thousand Suns is the fourth studio album by American rock band Linkin Park. It was first released on September 8, 2010. The album was written by the band and co-produced by Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin, who previously worked together to produce Minutes to Midnight (2007). The lead single for the album, "The Catalyst", was sent to radio and released to digital music retailers on August 2, 2010.The band is currently promoting the album through the A Thousand Suns Tour.

A Thousand Suns is a concept album dealing with nuclear warfare and themes of war in general. "On this record, the concepts blend human ideas with technology Human fears, your fear of what's going to happen in the world, the music kind of references that", said Mike Shinoda on an interview with MTV.The album's title comes from the Hindu Sanskrit scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: "If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one," a quote made famous by J. Robert Oppenheimer in reference to the atomic bomb.

The album was commercially successful and received generally positive reviews upon release. It has been compared to the work of Radiohead and Pink Floyd.

Writing and recordingRecording for the album began in 2008, shortly after the release of Minutes to Midnight. In November 2008 Chester Bennington stated this "sound[ed] a little daunting to me, so, I think my confidence level will drop, but when it was presented to us by this friend of ours, we liked the idea. It was an inspiring idea, and it was something we could relate a lot of the things we like to write about to." In May 2009, A Billboard Magazine story was published where Shinoda revealed info on the album. "I feel like we've been writing a lot. I'd say we've got about half the music done, though I shouldn't say halfway because who knows how long the next batch of songs will take. But all the material's just kind of coming together, and every week we meet up and assess the situation and for the rest of the week we just go and work on whatever we find exciting." He also explained the experimentation that the band would be working with. "It's not going to be Hybrid Theory. It's not going to be Minutes to Midnight. And if we do it right, it'll have a cutting edge sound that defines itself as an individual record separate from anything else that's out there."

Drummer Rob Bourdon referred to himself and the band as "perfectionists" when asked about the new project. "We tend to be perfectionists and its sort of how we work, We like being in the studio and when we get in there we write a ton of material." Bourdon admitted that the album was a challenge to complete. "We've been making music for a long time so one of the challenges was to evolve and make something to keep us interested and also have a lot of fun in the process. We've been used to making a certain type of music and using sounds to accomplish that. So to break out of that and push ourselves to grow is definitely challenging."

Style and composition This section requires expansion.
"The Catalyst"

27-Second sample of “The Catalyst”, the first announced single from A Thousand Suns.


“Waiting for the End”

21-Second sample of “Waiting for the End”, the second announced single from A Thousand Suns.

Problems listening to these files? See media help.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in May 2009, Shinoda revealed that the band was in the process of writing and recording material for the album. The album was originally scheduled for an early 2010 release, but Shinoda was largely concerned with "the quality of the tunes" and stated that "if we need to take a step back and make sure everything is top, top quality by our standards, we will." Shinoda also stated that, in comparison to Minutes to Midnight, the new album would have a bigger "thread of consistency" and would be more experimental and "hopefully more cutting-edge".

It has also been stated that the album honors the hip-hop group Public Enemy. On the song "Wretches and Kings", Shinoda stated "There is a homage to Chuck D on there. It's probably the most hip-hop song on the record and one of the most aggressive... Public Enemy were very three-dimensional with their records because although they seemed political, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on in there too. It made me think how three-dimensional I wanted our record to be without imitating them of course, and show where we were at creatively." The album also features samples of notable speeches by American political figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr., J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Mario Savio.

"When it came to doing things that felt very much like older Linkin Park, like mixing hip-hop with a rock chorus, [we] felt like, if we were going to do it, we need to really do it in a way that felt natural and felt original and felt like it was something we hadn't done in the past," Chester Bennington stated in an interview with MTV News[ who referred to Linkin Park's new style as being less technical and instead being more organic: "[While] there are hip-hop songs on the album — 'Wretches and Kings', 'When They Come for Me' — they're like nothing the band have tried before: snarling, raw, dark and [...] strangely organic."

ReleaseOn July 8, 2010, the band officially announced that the album would be released on September 14, 2010 in the US. The band also revealed that the album's first single would be "The Catalyst", which was released on August 2.

From July 9, 2010 until July 25, 2010, Linkin Park held the contest "Linkin Park, Featuring You". In the contest, fans could download stems from the album's first single, "The Catalyst", remix the stems and/or write their own parts for the song on any instrument. The winner of this contest was Czeslaw "NoBraiN" Sakowski from ?widnica, Poland, whose remix is featured as an additional track on the album, available via Best Buy and Napster. The album's liner notes also credit Sakowski with "supplemental programming" on "When They Come for Me". The top 20 remixes that were selected by the band are being considered for future use as b-sides and online downloads. Two of the remixes (by DIGITALOMAT and ill Audio) have since been released via the band's webpage as free mp3 downloads, while two others have (by Cale Pellick and DJ Endorphin) been released on an exclusive German release of "The Catalyst".

The music video for "The Catalyst", directed by band member Joseph Hahn, premiered on August 26, 2010. On August 31, 2010, It was announced that the band would perform the single live for the first time at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010. The venue of the debut live performance was Griffith Observatory, an iconic location used in Hollywood Movies. However, the venue was held secret till the performance but was revealed to be a prominent landmark of Los Angeles.

On September 2, 2010, Linkin Park released another track from A Thousand Suns, "Wretches and Kings" to those who had pre-ordered the album. Shinoda stated the song pays homage to Chuck D and Public Enemy, who inspired the record to be "three-dimensional". The song features a sample of Mario Savio's "Bodies upon the gears" speech.The tracks on record were exhibited at a 3-D Laser Exhibition at The Music Box in Hollywood on September 7. On September 8, 2010, the band further debuted two more tracks "Waiting for the End" and "Blackout" on their Myspace Page.The band, on their official website declared the "Full Experience Myspace Premiere" of the album on September 10.During the Japanese release of the album on September 15, 2010, Warner Music Japan announced that the song "The Catalyst" would be the official theme song of Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs.

"Waiting for the End" was released as the album's second single on October 1, 2010. The music video for the song premiered on October 8, 2010 and was also directed by Joe Hahn. The band performed "Waiting for the End", as well as several other songs in the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010 in Madrid.

Linkin Park has released another video game called Linkin Park Revenge, which features four new songs from the album as well as six songs from previous albums. The song "Wretches and Kings" is featured in the trailer for the video game EA Sports MMA.

Six songs from the album ("Blackout", "Burning in the Skies", "The Catalyst", "The Messenger", "Waiting for the End", and "Wretches and Kings") are available as downloadable content in the "Linkin Park Track Pack" for the rhythm video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. The track pack was released on October 19, 2010 on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Wii Shop Channel. In addition, for those who purchased Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock from between October 17 and October 23, they received a copy of A Thousand Suns. Three songs will also be remixed and released as downloadable content for the rhythm video game DJ Hero 2 in the winter (2010).

On 22 January 2011, Linkin Park announced that their next single will be "Burning in the Skies" and it will be released at 21 March 2011 on Warner Bros. Studios.

[edit] Reception[edit] CommercialThe album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 241,000 copies,beating out Trey Songz's Passion, Pain & Pleasure by 1,000 sales (Nielsen SoundScan).

In the second week, the album slid to number three with 70,000 copies, and two months into its release, in December 2010, it had already passed a half million in sales.The album debuted at number two in the UK with sales of 46,711, behind The Script's album Science & Faith, which sold 70,816.In Canada, the album peaked at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart with 23,000 copies sold.

A Thousand Suns has received mainly positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 67 based on 10 reviews, which affirms "generally favorable reviews".

Rick Florino of Artistdirect gave the album five stars out of five, saying that "after A Thousand Suns, all rock 'n' roll will revolve around Linkin Park" and credited Linkin Park for creating their own genre. Ian Winwood with Kerrang! gave it an "excellent" rating, saying that it "can only be best described as a political album". He praised the writing of the songs, saying that "These are songs that have been constructed as much as they've been written" and said that its closest comparison was Public Enemy's 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet. Dave de Sylvia with Sputnikmusic called it "an extremely well-crafted rock album," saying it was somewhat better than its predecessor Minutes to Midnight (2007), but doesn't live up to their debut, Hybrid Theory (2000). David Buchanan of Consequence of Sound gave the album a respected 3.5 stars out of five, saying, "Some might argue this new sound is posturing, complete mutation to the point of absurdity; in the band’s associated artwork and videos, evolution has been touted from day one. In essence, Linkin Park has been chasing this all along, and now it has become tangible, complete."

James Montgomery of MTV praised the album for being "sprawling, discordant, ambitious and an all-out game changer" while comparing it with English alternative rock band Radiohead's 2000 album Kid A, but pointed out that A Thousand Suns is more optimistic.Jordy Kasko with Review Rinse Repeat gave it a perfect rating, calling it an "epic quest". He compared it to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and Radiohead's Kid A, saying "A Thousand Suns is an ALBUM. It is not a collection of songs. It is not meant to be listened to as such. The band is going so far as to release an iTunes version that is one track, 47 minutes and 56 seconds long. This is no more an 'album' by conventional standards than Dark Side of the Moon or Kid A are. Sure, there are identifiable songs, but to understand or to appreciate any of them you must take them in the context of the entire album".

Mikael Wood with Spin gave it six out of ten stars, saying that it "contains plenty of aggressively arty material" and called the track "The Messenger" the "most unexpected track on the boldly conceived A Thousand Suns".Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B rating and said "on A Thousand Suns at times the band's odd mélange of industrial grind, hip-hop swagger, and teenage-wasteland angst feels jarring".Jody Rosen with Rolling Stone gave it three out of five stars, saying they sounded like "a killer Linkin Park tribute band". Australia's Music Network magazine gave the album a mixed review, stating it's "a radical shift for the band, but it’s also a very uneven one... while there's some commanding moments ('The Catalyst,' 'Wretches and Kings'), many of the tracks feel like experiments rather than fully-formed songs".

However, Johnny Firecloud with Antiquiet condemned the album, referring to it as a "melodramatic farce", and said it was a "mechanized mess of sentimentality [...] the 15 track collection is entirely unconvincing as a call to action for uprising and activism". Stephen Thomas Erlewine with Allmusic commented saying that the album was a "clear continuation" of its predecessor, referring to it as "recycled ideas" and saying that "the problem is, the subdued rhythms, riffs and raps of A Thousand Suns winds up monochromatic".Jim Farber of The New York Daily News gave the album one star of five, stating that "no fewer than 15 cuts crowd the tight 47-minute length of the CD, many of them fragments or, more accurately, sonic non sequiturs". Jamie Primack of The Badger Herald wrote that "there are at least five filler tracks that contain nothing more than noise and sound bites [....] the full-length songs aren’t particularly daring or interesting".

All songs written and composed by Linkin Park, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "The Requiem" 2:01
2. "The Radiance" (featuring an interview portion of J. Robert Oppenheimer) 0:57
3. "Burning in the Skies" 4:13
4. "Empty Spaces" 0:18
5. "When They Come for Me" 4:53
6. "Robot Boy" 4:29
7. "Jornada del Muerto" 1:34
8. "Waiting for the End" 3:51
9. "Blackout" 4:39
10. "Wretches and Kings" (featuring an interview portion of Mario Savio) 4:10
11. "Wisdom, Justice, and Love" (Linkin Park, Martin Luther King, Jr.) 1:38
12. "Iridescent" 4:56
13. "Fallout" 1:23
14. "The Catalyst" 5:42
15. "The Messenger" 3:01
Best Buy, Napster and HMV Edition bonus track
16. "The Catalyst" (NoBraiN remix) 4:22

iTunes Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
16. "The Catalyst" (music video, iTunes Deluxe Edition only) 4:42
17. "Blackbirds" (from the 8-Bit Rebellion! App) 3:21

]Japanese Edition bonus track
No. Title Length
16. "New Divide" (live at Terra Vibe Park, Athens, Greece, July 21, 2009) 4:54

Special Edition bonus DVD
No. Title Length
1. "Meeting of A Thousand Suns" (making of the album documentary) 29:46

iTunes UK Special Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
16. "New Divide" (live in Madrid)
17. "Waiting for the End" (live in Madrid)
18. "Breaking the Habit" (live in Madrid)
19. "The Catalyst" (live in Madrid)
20. "In the End" (live in Madrid)
21. "What I've Done" (live in Madrid)

PersonnelLinkin Park

Chester Bennington – vocals
Brad Delson – lead guitar, keyboard, backing vocals
Mike Shinoda – vocals, keyboard, rhythm guitar
Dave "Phoenix" Farrell – bass guitar, backing vocals
Joe Hahn – turntables, synthesizer, samples, backing vocals
Rob Bourdon – drums, percussions
Main production

Rick Rubin – producer
Mike Shinoda – producer, engineer, creative director, Pro Tools

Martin Luther King, Jr. – speech/speaker/speaking part – "Wisdom, Justice, and Love"
J. Robert Oppenheimer – interviewee – "The Radiance"
Mario Savio – speech/speaker/speaking part ("Bodies upon the gears" speech) – "Wretches and Kings"

Neal Avron – mixing
Kymm Britton – publicity
Anton Brooks – publicity
Lindsay Chase – production coordination
Brad Delson – Pro Tools
Ryan DeMarti – production coordination, A&R
Nicolas Fournier – assistant
Joe Hahn – creative director
Jerry Johnson – drum technician
Liza Joseph – A&R
Frank Maddocks – art direction, design, creative director
Ethan Mates – engineer, Pro Tools
Vlado Meller – mastering
Josh Newell – engineer, Pro Tools
Czeslaw "NoBraiN" Sakowski – programming
Mark Santangelo – assistant
Peter Standish – marketing
Josh Vanover – artwork, creative director
Ellen Wakayama – creative director
Tom Whalley – A&R

September 8, 2010 Digital download,
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Hungary] September 9, 2010
Poland September 13, 2010
Brazil September 14, 2010
United States
Japan September 15, 2010
September 29, 2010
November 24, 2010 Digital download,
Gunpla 30th Edition

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