Minutes To Midnight Review

Minutes To Midnight

Linkin Park, Minutes To Midnight, Limited Edition, CD/DVD Package

Ladies and gentleman, once again Phoenix, Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington, Joseph Hahn, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson, have outdone themselves with MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. It’s amazing that I even purchased this thing… Have you ever gone to Target with a few extra dollars, and could find absolutely nothing to buy? Well that happened to me a few months ago. I went to Target looking for some work out equipment. I couldn’t find anything I like. So, then I made my way over to electronics, same problem…

I then saw the “Minutes To Midnight” CD. After thinking about it, I decided to get it. I then looked down and saw, what looked like a book. I thought to myself, “Oh man, how low can you go?” After carefully looking at it, I realized it was the Limited Edition Version. I picked it up and looked at it, and thought to myself, “Well, it’s only like $4.00 more than the normal CD, and these things are normally pretty cool.” So, I bought it instead.

The packaging is like a hard cover book. When you open it, the CD is on the inside of the front cover. The pages of the book, contains the CD insert. Each of the lyrics, art, and a bunch of paragraphs about each song are on the pages, in the book. The inside of the back cover contains the DVD.

When I first threw the CD in, I was a bit put off. It wasn’t the Same Linkin Park I was used to. Some, of the songs were like stuff from other bands I had heard before. Another thing that bothered me was that they had mellowed out a lot! However, if a band I like puts out a CD I don’t like, I give it 5 more chances. I mean after all, I didn’t like Nirvana, Korn, Limp Bizkit, System Of A Down, or Slipknot at first… Now they are all some of my favorite bands of all time. The more I listened, the more I fell in love with this CD! It actually contains my new Favorite song “Hands held high!” I listened to this CD in my truck for a month and a half straight. Never changed it. I was most impressed with the direction of the lyrics. It seems to me that this was the most political CD, which they’ve released to date. I’m also very impressed by the percussions on this album. I’d have to admit, next to SOAD, this is the best album I’ve heard in the last year!

The first track is WAKE. “This short song was created near the end of the album writing process. Since a great deal of the gear they were experimenting with, was from the 70’s and 80’s, the band thought the drop of a turntable needle onto vinyl was the best way to start the album. The dual meaning of the word WAKE, seemed appropriate introduction to the record.”

The next track is titled GIVEN UP. The paragraph on the CD describes this song as, “Many of the demons in the beginning of the album were quieter, more introverted songs. This song, originally entitled 21 STITCHES, was the first heavy song that the guys were sure would make the final cut. In it, the band found a new way to combine their sound with the louder guitars that had been missing. To add a unique twist on the Punk/Industrial theme of the Guitar, Brad added the sounds on the intro of this song: Multiple tracks of claps and keys jingling.” I thought the clapping was actually Click Tracks. This is probably one of the heaviest songs on the album. I absolutely loved the bass solo, towards the end of the song.

LEAVE OUT ALL THE REST is a very mellow song with a great groove. “The final version of this track is virtually the same as the first demo of the song. Very little changed between the first incarnation of the music, and the final version that appears on the album. The lyrics, however, were one place where the most work took place. The chorus of this song, working-titled FEAR, went through over 30 lyric variations before arriving at this version.” I definitely think that the lyrics would loose meaning if sang any heavier. After reading them I completely relate with the message they are putting out there. If I had to pick my favorite lyrics in this song… I would have trouble coming to a conclusion, but I’d say it’s the Chorus. “When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done, help me leave behind some, reasons to be missed. Don’t Resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest.” On this song the violins and other string instruments are definitely showing their presence.

The album definitely has its high and low spots, and they flow together perfectly. One example is the next track, BLEED IT OUT. I keep including quotes from the pages of the book like, “One of the bands goals on this record was to enjoy it. This track is one of the places that it is most evident. With it’s 80’s-inspired guitar and bass, roadhouse blues piano and clapping, Motown style drums, irreverent death-party rap verses, and punk chorus, this song is a party (albeit a strange one) from beginning to end.” I couldn’t agree with that statement more. I crank this song up, and sing along with it, every time it comes on.

In the last paragraph, I mentioned high and low points of the album. What I meant was that the songs switch from fast to low paced. Such as, this next track. “The keyboard loop in SHADOW OF THE DAY went through many different changes during the songs creation. For months, the song’s place on the album was undecided; the band agreed that it wouldn’t make the album unless the right introductory sound was discovered. Dozens of options were created on Piano, acoustic guitars, marimba, xylophone, and even electric banjo before finally writing the reversed/edited keyboard version that appears here.” This wasn’t one of my favorite tracks of the CD, so I don’t have much to add in on that.

Then you have WHAT I’VE DONE, the first single off of MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. The quote in the book reads, “At the end of over one year in the studio, the band felt the album was finished. After the initial listening, however, they were devastated to hear from friends that the album felt like it was missing a piece, one more song. The band was horrified. Many of the songs on the record had taken months to write, so throwing a new one together that could stand up to the rest was unlikely. To complicate matters, any further writing meant they might miss deadlines that had been set up for the album release and touring. In spite of risks, the band decided to take this challenge of character. A Little over a week later, the record was officially ready for release, with the addition of WHAT I’VE DONE.” You’ve all heard this song, as it was the first single off this CD and you know that it’s an awesome song!

From What I’VE DONE, the album goes into my new favorite Linkin Park song, HANDS HELD HIGH! I can’t even begin to describe how much this song means to me… We all know how I feel about Bush and this song puts him in the place he belongs. “Early in the writing process, Rick (Rick Rubin) suggested the band experiment by contrasting together unexpected elements. For example, if a musical idea sounded like it needed rapping, he recommended Mike or Chester try singing over it. Likewise, because the instrumental idea known as SONG Q sounded primed for melodic singing, Rick suggested the opposite be done. The songs pipe organ and marching snare proved the perfect musical bed for two. Of the most inspired verses Mike had ever delivered. Ultimately titled HANDS HELD HIGH, the song was completed by layering all six of the band member’s voices together to create the sound of a men’s choir heard in the refrain.” The lyrics to this song really sink in. I think most of you have read them, (IF NOT JUST SCROLL DOWN. THEY ARE ON MY BLOG!) As well as can relate to them. They not only bad mouth Bush, but discuss what the troops of both sides of this war are going through right now. It’s definitely an anti war song. My favorite lyrics of the song are the ends of the verses, the first one goes, "When you can’t put gas in your tank, and these fuckers are laughing their way to the bank, cashing their check, asking you to have compassion, have respect for a leader so nervous in an obvious way, stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay, and the rest of the world watching at the end of the day, in their living room laughing like, “What did he say?” In the second verse the lyrics are, "And meanwhile, the leader talks away, stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay. The rest of the world, at the end of the day, both scared and angry like, “What did he say?” I think everyone who hates or loves the Bush administration needs to hear this song!

Going onto track 8, NO MORE SORROW. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!! “While the band was recording at the Laurel Studio, Rick suggested that Brad try adding ebow to THE LITTLE THINGS GIVE YOU AWAY. The ebow hand-held device that vibrates guitar strings by generating an electric pulse. Although Brad ultimately decided not to add ebow to THE LITTLE THINGS, his experimentation produced the introductory sound around which NO MORE SORROW was built. Originally entitled EBOW IDEA, NO MORE SORROW was loosely constructed that same night, though the band went back and cut the song live on their last day at Laurel.” This song definitely had to grow on me. I usually tend to be skeptical about experimentation, so I have to listen to the song several times, to give a definite opinion. The lyrics in the chorus had an immediate impact on me. “No, no more sorrow, I’ve begged for your mistakes. Your, time is borrowed. Your time has come to be replaced.” Now, those are some badass lyrics! After a few more times that I listened to the song, I fell in love. From the first guitar riff, going into the drumbeat, then into the song, the music is very catchy! I love every aspect of this song!

VALENTINES DAY is the next song. Which, in my opinion, is one of the ballads on MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. “Searching for a collective space to write and do pre-production, the band set up shop in a Hollywood rehearsal space known as the Korn Studio. There, the band hired engineer Ethan Mates to help them record rough song ideas. Although it was finished at the Laurel Studio, VALENTINES DAY retains most of the original music and vocals that were created at the Korn Studio. In fact, although the band experimented with re-recording most of their early demos, the earliest recordings were often chosen to make the album.” This song is where the record begins to wind down a few notches. The lyrics are several sad metaphors for heartbreak. I think anyone who’s ever been hurt, can relate with the feeling portrayed in this song. Although I didn’t like it much at first, it’s definitely begun to grow on me.

Now, ever so gracefully going onto track 10, IN BETWEEN. Another fantastic song! Anyone who’s truly fucked up in his or her life, at one point or another, can definitely relate to this awesome jam. For example, the lyrics on the last verse, “and I can not explain to you, in anything I say or do, or plan. Fear is not afraid of you, but guilt’s a language you can understand. I can not explain to you, in anything I say or do, but hope the actions speak the words they can.” Almost bring tears to my eyes. “Rick encouraged the band to lay rough vocals on their demos as early as possible, believing that sometimes a sparse song, can become great with the right vocal melody. IN BETWEEN was a perfect example. The band connected with it immediately from the first demo. Even with just Mike’s vocals and bass line, this song remains on the bands favorites list, as many songs with a lot more production were voted off of the album. During the process, the band tried many different versions of this song, adding sampled drums, live drums, and other instruments, but finally returned to the simplest form, the form closest to the seed. At one point Chester sang the song, but ended up voting for Mike’s vocals over his own.” Mike singing this song makes it very unique. I really like the way the music from the intro, flows in with Mike’s voice. As the song progresses, more instruments are introduced, then fades out, the way it started. Although this is ultimately a slow paced song, I can’t get enough of it.

The second to last song entitled, IN PIECES, continues the gradual wind down. Right from the introductory keyboard solo, to the sampled drums and almost immediate ballad like vocals of Chester, but then he gets almost heavy in the chorus. That’s when the music tempo picks up and the vocals become catchier, yet keep their mellow demeanor. The solo in the bridge is very cool, because, they don’t over-do solos. Also, because the part that follows is the heaviest part of the entire song! “This song began as a keyboard and beat loop, along with the staccato guitar in the second verse. In that early form, Chester put down a rough vocal, with words that came relatively effortlessly. The vocals that appeared in those early stages remained virtually unchanged throughout the growth of the song. As the song grew, it became obvious to the band that a special point of interest was needed in the bridge. On past albums, Brad had never been interested in doing guitar solos. With their encouragement, he dove head first into the song.” Can’t really say I love this song. However, it’s not a bad song. I think some people could take something out from this song. My favorite part of the track is the lyrics. You’ll just have to buy the CD and read them.

We come to the final track, THE LITTLE THINGS GIVE YOU AWAY. This is probably one of the most touching songs on the CD. " Many songs on previous LP albums began from demos by Mike and Brad. In the making of MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, the band experimented with their writing process in an attempt to break comfortable patterns. This album saw all members of the band generating demos, or seeds. The seed for LITTLE THINGS was from Rob Bourdon, based around he drum pattern heard in the bridge. The working title was DRUM SONG. Later, the vocals were finished after the band visited New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina." With lyrics such as, “Water grew, through the windows, up the stairs, chilling rain, like an ocean, everywhere,” then there are the phrases, “The levies are breaking,” and “Six feet, underwater.” Gives it away instantly that this song was written about the tragedy, which occurred in New Orleans, due to Hurricane Katrina. The tempo of the track is pretty slow paced and ends the CD on a mellow note. It starts off with the screeching sound of feedback, and then goes into a funky track, straight into the acoustic guitar, which gives the song dimension. The music of the chorus is very catchy, as well as the words make it captivating. The heaviest part is in the bridge with the drums, acoustic guitar, and the vocals. Then, they show a presence of electric guitar in the solo. Mike Shinoda’s vocals combined with Chester Benningtons, end the song and CD in a very powerful note.

The entire CD takes around 42 minutes from beginning to end. This actually left me wanting more… I think it’s a great idea, because nobody wants to listen to a CD that is repetitive, or boring. When a CD leaves you wanting more, it makes you anticipate future music.

I give this album 81/2 stars. Even though it’s an awesome CD, something is missing. A few of the tracks have some parts, which remind me of something I’ve heard before. I’m really hoping their music gets better from here… Although, I’ll repeat, this is a fantastic album and definitely a must have! It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re into, you’ll love this CD.

I loved the DVD in this package as well. The first two sections are “Play Music” and “Playlist” You can chose the “Play Music” feature which plays all the songs in order, just like on the CD and with each song different pictures appear. Or you can chose the “Playlist” feature, which lists all the songs and allows you to pick which ones you want to listen to.

The next feature of this bad as hell DVD is the “Extras.” This is where you can view the lyrics, a photo gallery, which includes 28 photo’s that are not included in the booklet, “Fine Art,” is where they put the CD booklet art, and “Connected Experience,” which I haven’t messed around with, however, when you click on it on the DVD player, you get a message which reads; "This disk is loaded with additional content, including MP3’s and other extras. Insert this disk into your PC or Macintosh, to get the most out of this Music Video Interactive Disk. See package for minimum system requirements.

It also includes the “MAKING OF MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT” This is about 40 minutes of the band discussing and showing how much work went into making the album. This made me view the CD in an entirely new perspective. I know there were parts that I was listening to where I thought to myself, “Whoa, that was cool. I wonder how they did that?” They actually brought in a composer who added classical instruments to the tracks… It’s also cool watching how each band member contributed so much input to each song.

You also get to see the WHAT I’VE DONE video and there’s also a feature called “MAKING OF WHAT I’VE DONE.” They show how they shot the video in the dry lakebed, outside Victorville, CA. The making also explains why they decided to use so many different controversial scenes from the video, such as the falling of the World Trade Center. They also tell us how they almost died in a helicopter crash on the way there. It’s cool to see how they make it look really hot in temperature, but in reality it’s like 60 degrees out there. It was also really cool to see how they put the shots they videotaped into how it looks on the finished version of the video.

I thought the DVD was a perfect addition, to a phenomenally excellent CD!!! I would suggest everyone buy the Limited edition version, if you can find it. I guarantee you’ll love this band after listening to the CD and watching this awesome DVD. I’ll rate the entire package as Fucking Mind Blowing Great!

Minutes To Midnight Review


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