Realm Of Randomness

May 23, 2007

Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight

Filed under: Music,Review — Randomizer @ 3:16 pm


Grade: B+ / A-

Linkin Park has been a band for close to a decade now, and as with all things, has grown and evolved over time. While Hybrid Theory and Meteora were extremely successful multi-platinum hit albums, I do NOT expect Minutes to Midnight to achieve anywhere close to the same level of commercial success. However, it is still a great album.

For one to appreciate this album, one has to forget how he/she has defined ‘Linkin Park’ in his mind. This is a step in a totally new direction, away from the nu metal rap/rock combination they have been famous for. The Rap/rock combo is now cliched and totally ‘angry teenager’-ish , but thankfully, Linkin Park didn’t go down with it. Many reviews of the album have blasted this new shift, but I think the same critics would have blasted them for making a third album that sounded like Hybrid Theory and Meteora as well. There is only so much of the Rap/rock combination you can take, and 5 years and 2 albums is enough. Let bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit continue on the trend if they have to.

Here is a closer look at their songs:

1. Wake – No vocals in this first song. The song’s hardly noticeable due to how short it is.

2. Given Up – Chester’s vocals really tear up this one, supported by great pumping guitars

3. Leave out All the Rest – This song sounds very pop-ish, and is perhaps the first song you will notice of LP that is in the new direction they have moved to. Great lyrics.

4. Bleed It Out – Perhaps the best song on the album, this one grows on you. By the third time you listen to this one, you’ll wish you knew all the lyrics by-heart.

5. Shadow of the Day – Chester’s vocal range as a singer of ‘sweet’ songs like My December really comes out in this one. Also more alternative than rock, this one falls on the pop-ish direction as well.

6. What I’ve Done – I’m sure you heard this song. If not, this is the link to the video on YouTube. Another one of their best songs on the album.

7. Hands Held High – Kudos to Mike Shinoda (LP rapper) on this one. Great lyrics. And a combination of sounds you would never hear before – the church organ, marching beats, and rap ! Very creative song.

8. No More Sorrow – More of Chester’s speaker-busting vocals on this one.

9. Valentine’s Day – More of a ‘filler’ song on the album, I like this one the least.

10. In Between – Mike Shinoda actually sings on this one, not rap. This song grows on you as well.. by the third time, you will like it a lot more.

11. In Pieces – Another filler song.

12. Little Things Give You Away – A song about the New Orleans distaster, this song is a ‘sweet’ one as well.

Thumbs up

To the new direction they have chosen to go as a band. LP fans who were between 18-25 years of age during their first two albums might have related well to the ‘anger within self’ songs that were dished out by their lead vocalist. But 7 years on, we have all grown up and left that behind for more classic tunes.

– To songs that are more about the outside than the inside. Less of relationships, and more of wars, injustice and life.

Thumbs down

– To the clear separation between Mike Shinoda’s influence and Chester’s. In the first two albums, the two had a clear synergy going on. In this one, it seems like it is either going to be a ‘Mike’ song or a ‘Chester’ song. With the two singers pursuing solo careers as well, it seems like a split is imminent.

– To the number of ‘sweet’ songs they have on the album. It seems like at least 2 or 3 songs are in direct contention with bands like Coldplay or the Fray.

Overall

The album is great, but not typical LP. Hybrid Theory was the Best album … Reanimation and Collision course were just remix albums so they don’t count. Meteora was repetitive and not as great as Hybrid theory. A third album on the same lines would be a death blow to LP , so a change in direction was inevitable – it was the only way to survive.

Some might say they failed to re-define themselves… I however say – Treat this album as a ‘stand alone’ product, forgetting who you think they ought to be and ought to sound like… If you want to listen to the LP of the first two albums, listen to the first two albums !

But if you are ready for a new direction, Minutes to Midnight is the first step.

June 15, 2005

Michael Jackson – Guilty till proven innocent

Filed under: Music,Opinion — Randomizer @ 6:02 am

I’ve been like the biggest fan of MJ, at least amongst the ppl I’ve met in my life so far, for as long as I can remember. Following his career from the Jacksons 5 till his last album, ‘Invincible’, I’ve seen and heard it all… and most of all , loved every bit of it.

I think the world as of today is divided into just two simple categories: The people who love him, and the people who absolutely detest him. I’ve hardly ever come across someone who’s had “no opinion” of him. The child molestation accusations have, through the decade, been a further catalyst for the haters to detest him even more, and the fans to rally in his side and vouch for his innocence.

MJ’s had his childhood stolen away from him because of his celebrity status. In an effort to relive his childhood, and be forever young, he created the Neverland ranch, a magical land with a theme park and tours , almost like a mini-Disneyland. In all his albums, he has at least one song dedicated to the plight of children in the world, or making this world a better place. While there was “Main in the Mirror” in the album Bad, there was “Heal the world” in Dangerous, “Earth Song”, “Childhood”, and “Little Susie” in HIStory , and finally “Lost children” in his last album, Invincible.

It is unfathomable for MJ’s fans including myself, who have taken the time to read his lyrics, hear his songs, and follow his charity, to even dream that MJ could be such a cold-blooded hypocrite and have molested little children. It is a shame that people judge others by the way they look, and not take time to try and learn more. So what if he was black, and is now white ? So what if he’s had plastic surgery on his nose?

When a father sleeps with his little kids on his bed, do people stone his house and claim that he’s had inappropriate contact with his kids? No, it doesn’t even cross one’s mind. That’s the way it’s been for Michael. In his world of innocence with little kids, the adults of the world have let him down.

I know that the people who were prejudiced enough to label him a molester even before the beginning of the trial still believe he’s guilty .. and will continue to hate him as they did before. I cannot comment if he has or hasn’t molested any children, for proving such a case would be extremely difficult.

However, I conclude that regardless of the verdict, in the case of Michael Jackson, the good old saying “Innocent till proven Guilty” was not only blatantly ignored, but turned the other way round into “Guilty till, and even beyond, being proved innocent” .

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