Minutes to Midnight [Tour Edition] [Parental Advisory]
Lyricists: Chester Bennington; Mike Shinoda.
Personnel: Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda (vocals); Songa Lee, Gerry Hilera, Julian Hallmark, Mario de Len, Sara Parkins, Natalie Leggett, Armen Garabedian, Josefina Vergara, Charlie Bisharat (violin); Andrew Picken, Matthew Funes (viola); Suzie Katayama, Larry Corbett (cello); Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Mr. Hahn (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Neal Avron.
Recording information: NRG Recording Studio; The Mansion, Laurel Canyon.
Photographers: James Minchin III; Frank Maddocks; Joe Hahn.
After a multi-platinum debut, Grammy nominations, a successful sophomore album, sold-out tours, and a collaboration with Jay-Z, the pressure was on for Linkin Park to deliver the goods with their 2007 release, MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. Interestingly, the alternative metal outfit, best known for mixing rap, rock, and electronic touches, deviates from their aggressive, angst-filled sound on their third outing--opting instead to dabble in moody, atmospheric rock.
Opener "Wake" establishes the ethereal, synth-driven feel that characterizes much of the disc. Crunching electric guitars are few and far between, and most of the swirling, electronica-textured tracks weigh in at mid-to-downtempo. There are still moments of rock intensity, such as "Bleed It Out" (featuring one of rapper Mike Shinoda's few appearances), but the overall mood seems better suited to pensive bedsitting than a festival mosh pit. Co-producer Rick Rubin makes the dreamy soundscapes gleam, but longtime fans may miss the fist-pumping energy of early Linkin Park. Still, the new sonic palette of MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT shows a band willing to push past their own tried-and-true formulas.
Rolling Stone (p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "MINUTES is honed, metallic pop with a hip-hop stride and a wake-up kick."
Rolling Stone (p.112) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "[T]heir metallic crunch is as brutal and efficient as ever..."
Spin (p.97) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hey give their sound a dramatic makeover with help from producer Rick Rubin....The arena-emo hooks are still there..."