Haters and Believers: A Thousand Suns Album Release

September 27, 2010

Hey guys.  I’ve been getting some questions regaring my thoughts about the album release, so I thought that I’d try to address some of them.

To start, a quick review: about a year and a half ago, we made a conscious decision to take our music in a new direction.  Once the music started flowing, it became a modern, alternative sound–an abstract, concept-driven, 50-minute journey.  We predicted the album release would be incendiary; the new direction would be welcomed by some, and fervently resisted by others.  Now, with that album out in stores, it seems that you guys are curious about our intentions behind the music, and our reactions to the noise being made about A Thousand Suns.

Let’s get the simple part out of the way.  To the fans who like the new album: a million thanks for your support.  There are some of you that have been with us for a long time, and are thrilled about the new sound; there are others who weren’t sure of the new album at first, but have given it a chance, and are now reaping its rewards.  And there are others who have never been fans of Linkin Park, but are interested in the band for the first time with A Thousand Suns.  We’re happy to have all of you on board, and we appreciate your good words and rave reviews.

A friend of mine told me a story from his childhood: when he was a little kid, his dad, who never had any facial hair, left for a trip and came home with a beard.  His son took one look at him and ran away, demanding, “what happened to my real dad?”

So let’s talk about “haters.”

We’ll ignore the fact that there are people out there who would review and rate an album without really listening to it, who might preview some of the tracks and throw down an opinion (although I think the music stores and websites should keep the right to “rate it” limited strictly to those who have bought and listened to something).  I don’t need to tell you that the internet can breed negativity-for-negativity’s-sake.  So let’s skip that nonsense, and talk only about the people who were already Linkin Park fans, but listened to the new album and didn’t like it.  As I write this, one of the most popular iTunes (US) reviews of A Thousand Suns is by Janxrod, who gives the album one star and asks “What happened to the real Linkin Park?”  In response to this review, one knee-jerk reaction I found seems to be an assumption that people who dislike ATS simply love heavy metal and hate alternative / electronic music.  But, in their defense, many of the “one-star reviewers” are not brainless cynics who talk shit because they’re bored.

I’m a curious guy, so I did some research about Janxrod.  Although 7/10 of his favorite albums include stuff like Disturbed, Shinedown, and Dethklok…he also likes Daft Punk.  He’s not opposed to a little variety.  So what bothers Janxrod so much about A Thousand Suns?  One reason is that, according to his page, we “write songs about how pissed off they are at their old fans, telling them to go f*** themselves.  That’s not mature, that’s just disrespectful.”

Know what?  I agree.  That’s a bad message.  The problem is: it’s not really our message.

Let’s clear it up: the other guys and I have said many things in the past, not all of it thoughtful or respectful (sorry, we’re human too).  But let it be known that we love and respect our fans of all eras.  And, just as we stand behind Hybrid Theory, we stand behind the work we put into A Thousand Suns, so we think it’ll be a rewarding listen if you decide to give it a chance (like Justin Lewis, Jeffrey Griffith, and James Montgomery did).  And, in case Janxrod decides to give the album a chance, our door will always be open.

Some will always lazily claim that a band has “gone pop” or “sold out.”  As far as I know, “selling out” means compromising the integrity of your band/music in exchange for money or popularity.  Never before has this claim been so absurd.  This is the opposite of a “sell out” album; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  If money and popularity was the goal, the safe bet would be to try to make Hybrid Theory again.  Outside our studio walls, the climate for music is different: according to Nielsen SoundScan, of the 97,751 albums released in 2009, only 12 of them sold more than one million units last year.  Everyone in the world is buying music by the song, not by the album.  So, more than ever before, to stand behind one whole 50-minute piece–asking the fan to listen to the whole thing rather than a couple songs–is unquestionably a big a request.  (Some people want to color that request as a “marketing tactic,” that we are asking people to buy the whole thing instead of a couple songs.  If that was the case, we’d be the worst marketers ever.  Clearly, a collection of “hit singles” is a better reason to buy a whole album than a concept record.)  Radio singles still sell an album.  A concept album requires a leap of faith on the listener’s part.  The whole “sell out” argument is wholly illogical.

So why did we make such a big change?  “What happened to the real Linkin Park?”  We’re still here.  We look and sound different, but the intention behind the music is the same as it has been since day one: in the studio, we are constantly in search of new sounds that excite and inspire us.

Hearing that our album debuted at #1 in 15 countries gave us all a massive feeling of gratitude, but if being in this band has taught me anything in the past decade, it’s that you can’t base your happiness on things that are out of your control.  The truth is, we’re believers that good, honest art will triumph at the end of the day.  But the measure of real success isn’t sales, numbers, and chart position.  It’s about a connection with a dedicated fan base and a chance to introduce people to a fresh new sound.

See you on tour, where we’ll be playing songs from “Hybrid Theory” through “A Thousand Suns.”  Fans of every era are welcome.

mike

LP Live Photos by Stash

September 20, 2010

Our buddy Stash came thru with these awesome shots.

LP live in New York

September 17, 2010


Edit: 2 of 4…
Edit: 3 of 4…
Edit: 4 of 4.

mike

LP Fans: Amazing Aggregators

September 15, 2010

Hey guys.  The album is out, and we’re workin’.  We’re performing, doing interviews, putting out content on linkinpark.com, Facebook, iTunes Ping, and all over the internet.  And while we’ve been busy with the live show and interviews, you guys have been doing an amazing job collecting it…and even making your own compilations and videos.  Check these out:

http://www.lpassociation.com/

http://lptimes.com/

http://lplive.net/

mike

A Thousand Suns Review: ArtistDirect

September 14, 2010

Linkin Park, Five out of Five Stars

http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/linkin-park-a-thousand-suns-review-5-out-of-5-stars/7637042

mike

“A Thousand Suns” Album Review: Shocking

September 12, 2010

Linkin Park album reviews aren’t something I spend a lot of time on.  Years of work have gone into our last two albums, and seeing a writer attempt to sum that album up in a couple paragraphs can be pretty brutal.  Especially when you’re Linkin Park; reviewers save their glowing pieces for fresh breakout stars and indie bands–it keeps their magazine credible and current.

Somehow, A Thousand Suns has inspired some writers to go against the norm, and write some really thoughtful and complimentary pieces.  Jordy Kasko on ReviewRinseRepeat wrote the following:

“It’s funny how the music business works. Release an amazing debut album, and it is generally recognized as such by critics and laymen, helps to set a new genre standard, is replayed for years, and assists the band in building a huge fanbase. After that is when things get weird. If the band in question decides not to vary their formula, makes mediocre music that retains many of the elements of their original material, and plays it safe, their fans stick by them and the critics aren’t too harsh (see: the response to my review of the new Goo Goo Dolls album). However, if the band realizes that to make a real, long-lasting impact on the world they must be fluid, maturing with every album, changing their sound, exploring new territory, they are vilified by former “fans” and critics alike. They are disparaged all over the internet, ignored and/or disemboweled by elitist music listeners, and their efforts at making cutting-edge, mature, different music are mocked, whether or not the mockery is justified. And in many cases, it isn’t.

Linkin Park is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Though they’ve certainly never been darlings of the critics, their 2000 debut Hybrid Theory kicked off the decade with an enormous statement: nu-metal can generate good music. Rap and rock don’t have to battle – they can be melded together if you have a good, hot blowtorch. 2003’s Meteora laughed in the face of the “sophomore slump,” stating strongly that loud modern rock music could be good, and establishing Linkin Park as one of the most important and biggest bands of the decade.

At this point, Bennington, Shinoda, and Co. could have released rap/rock/metal albums until the end of time and slowly faded into oblivion as just another ultra-popular radio rock band. But no. They refused to do that. They grew up, lyrically and musically, taking 4 years to put together 2007’s Minutes to Midnight. And then the funny part of the music business hit them like a battering ram. Rather than rejoicing, countless ignorant people ignored the band’s gorgeous political lyrics (“Hands Held High,” “No More Sorrow”), epic explorations of the sonic landscape (“The Little Things Give You Away”), slightly experimental wanderings (the chorus- less “Valentine’s Day,” the crescendo of “In Pieces”), and catchy-as-fuck recollections of their younger selves (“Given Up,” “Bleed It Out”). Perhaps these people didn’t mature like Linkin Park did, and remained stuck in their teenage angst or masculine anger. Perhaps they wanted fun music, rather than good music. Perhaps they made assumptions or established expectations rather than opening their minds to a new sound. Whatever the case, Minutes to Midnight was vastly underappreciated, seeing as it was one of the best rock albums of the 00’s.

The truth is, Linkin Park were a great hard rock band. If you were a teenager, young adult, or simply in touch with your emotions in the early 00’s, they spoke directly to you. But they are no longer that band. Instead, they have matured, experimented, and changed. They have decided that 2.5 albums about anger, alienation, and angst were enough. They have moved on to what really matters in this world – poverty, war, accountability, life, death, inequality…and that’s where 2010’s A Thousand Suns, Linkin Park’s fourth full-length, comes in.

Firstly (yes, I know it’d odd to finally begin talking about the album itself this far into a review), Linkin Park have an obsession with the apocalyptic. Minutes to Midnight’s title itself was a reference to the “Doomsday Clock,” an invention of scientists that attempts to predict when nuclear catastrophe will eliminate us all. The album, however, only partially lived up to its title, and that void is filled by A Thousand Suns. It is a concept album about nuclear warfare; and god almighty, it is enormously apocalyptic, both musically and lyrically. There has never been, and probably never will be, an album that quite as accurately represents the (potential) destruction of earth by humanity and science…”

MS NOTE: There’s more to this piece.  Read the rest of Jordy’s five-star review, and see why he called A Thousand Suns “one of the best rock albums ever”:

http://www.reviewrinserepeat.com/artist/linkin-park/album/a-thousand-suns/review

mike

Meeting Of A Thousand Suns: Behind Our Album

September 11, 2010

With the release of our album, we are also putting out a companion DVD called “Meeting Of A Thousand Suns.”  This documentary is easily one of the most powerful insights into our creative process ever recorded.  It’s a revealing look into the personalities of the band: our fears, our victories, and the journey that we took to make A Thousand Suns.

We wanted everyone to be able to experience this piece, so we decided to put the entire piece up on Hulu for your enjoyment.  The link is below.  For everyone who gets the special edition or box set: this is what’s on the DVD.

BTW, I suppose this kinda warrants a “spoiler alert” for those who haven’t heard the album yet.  Here’s the link to MEETING OF A THOUSAND SUNS:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/176970/linkin-park-meeting-of-a-thousand-suns

Shouts out to Mark Fiore and Ghost Town for their amazing work on this piece.

mike

Help LP on Wikipedia

September 10, 2010

Wikipedia is fast.  There’s already a page building for A Thousand Suns…and it’s changing by the moment.  I have a favor to ask.  Can you guys work on that page (and maybe our Linkin Park Wikipedia page) by adding some of the cool stuff that’s been coming out about the album lately?  Here’s some help:

http://www.artistdirect.com/entertainment-news/article/live-review-linkin-park-a-thousand-suns-laser-light-exhibition-the-henry-fonda-theater-hollywood/7636482

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1646930/20100831/linkin_park.jhtml

http://www.noisecreep.com/2010/09/08/linkin-park-waiting-for-the-end-blackout-new-songs/

http://www.linkinpark.com/main

mike

LP Lazer Listening Party

September 8, 2010

A big thank you to Lazarium and everyone who made the party last night a lot of fun. Photos to come…

EDIT: Most of the photos I liked are on our Facebook page.  Go there.  And check out this great writeup of the event on ArtistDirect.  The more I talk to people about that show, the more I realize it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Amazing…

mike

@MTVUK Twitter Chat

August 23, 2010

Linkin Park Twitter chat today with me and Phoenix, at the MTV UK offices.  Silly.

mike