My Opinion on A Thousand Suns (for anyone who cares :P)

Discussion in 'Linkin Park Chat' started by CylockDNB, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. CylockDNB

    CylockDNB Cytophite

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    Okay, so it's been about 2 years since I first heard ATS and after countless listens, I felt like I had a pretty good comprehension of what this album is. I know some fans loved it, I know some fans hated it, I know some critics liked it and others fucking despised it. Here is what I've come to make out of it.

    I'm going to attempt to address certain points about the record that I wanted to voice my opinion about that have been talked about before (and also a few of my own), but haven't been put into total perspective as far as I can tell.

    1. The early fan hate of the new sound (absence of guitars, etc.)
    2. The album's story (or lack thereof)
    3. The overabundance of filler material

    1. The Hate Towards "The New Sound"

    It's obvious that a big "gimmick" of the album was LP attempting to step out of their comfort zone and trying different things because they didn't want to be pigeonholed to a specific genre, and that is totally fine. The thing that aggravates me is this: Though there is nothing wrong with a band trying new things musically and sonically, LP obviously wrote many of the ATS songs with the intention to make them sound heavy. They also stated that they were trying to find new ways to make the songs have energy without having to use guitars. This is cool and it sounds creative. However, why did they have to implement this on every track? It's clear that some tracks didn't need to be guitar-heavy (Waiting For The End, Robot Boy), but why couldn't they have a few heavy guitars on some of the songs, especially the ones that could have benefited from it? I'm not a nu-metal fanboy that needs his guitar fix, but LP having made so many tracks with a heavy sound, being almost pros at creating a powerful vibe, why did they assume it was wrong for them to have some big heavy moments where they could have fit well on the record?

    It just seems to me that what pisses me off about it is not the fact that they didn't use heavy guitars (and yes, I am aware that there are guitars in many tracks), it's more so the fact that they deliberately tried to avoid that element at all that bothers me. The mentality of "Oh, no. Sounds heavy? Don't use it. We can't use guitars." LP are great at this and there was nothing wrong with adding some of the heaviness to give the album some more substance in terms of sonic power and satisfaction to a broader range of fans. This would have sounded great and would have also avoided the whole riot from the older fans about how they hate the softer sound and instead would have allowed more focus to be placed upon the content of the tracks themselves, without having to be mad about the absence of power.

    2. The Concept of the Album

    This is one of the biggest issues I have with ATS. Is it a concept record or isn't it? This is why it annoys me: If it is meant to be a concept record, where is the story or common thread and why isn't it made much clearer than it is? However, if it isn't meant to be a concept, then how come there are so many damn filler tracks? Let's take it one by one. I understand there is a general theme that surrounds the record, but simply put, the topic of nuclear explosions and the impending end of the world due to technology just isn't enough to cut it for a concept record. In my opinion, those topics are at least a good starting point, but there had to be much more thought put into it if this album was truly to be a concept record (LP themselves have even stated it isn't necessarily a concept record, but then again it seems to be, so there is some evident confusion). If they wanted to go down the concept album route, then they needed to sit down and have a clear plan for it.

    I understand they were very busy writing the music and creating demos and that they say that the tracks came to them and not the other way around (as well as saying that they have an amorphous way of writing), but come on, a story is one of the most important parts of creating a concept record. Regardless of their writing methods, they needed to have more of a clear layout of what they wanted to do, even though they seem to be against that (taking that from what they have been saying in their most recent interviews about how they don't sit down to talk about their tracks before they record them). Assuming they went onboard with the concept idea, they should have been able to craft a story around it. "Okay, we have a general topic of humanity ending itself due to its inability to use technology for the better and thus, has lead itself to doom."

    Having came up with that, they should have began to build a framework for the album to develop on. It could have been a story about a character, a city, an army - anything, but something that ties the album together in a common manner, not write random songs that talk about nuclear explosions and have random speeches from random political activists - that just doesn't make any sense. In the case that they had crafted a story around a certain item, the songs would have pretty much written themselves (look at The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails). Each track could have described a specific aspect of the story and gradually led towards the ending. It could have even been split by chapters, I don't know, just something to keep the album flowing in one direction, not a big mess of seemingly unfinished ideas. It just seems like they had a good place to start building their concept but just simply didn't put enough thought into it to complete a full narrative or something of the like.

    3. The Overabundance of Filler Material

    Now, that was all assuming that they actually wanted to create a legitimate concept record. In the case that they didn't, then here is what they should have thought about. If they don't have a solid "story" to be strengthened by interludes, why the hell are there so many filler tracks? I don't think the majority of listeners ever really appreciated these. They serve no purpose. That was just LP trying too hard. Again, I reiterate, had there been a concrete story running throughout the album, these filler tracks could have helped solidify the message being delivered, but yet again, there is no message to be delivered, thus, rendering the filler tracks completely obsolete. If they tried to make the concept record and just couldn't pull through with it (or decided not to go with it after writing all the tracks that ended up on ATS) and just wanted to finish the album and have an abstract collection of songs, then here is what they should've done. For starters, get rid of the bullshit tracks.

    Let's start with The Radiance. Seriously, what the fuck? Who the hell needs to put a second intro into an album that isn't even fully considered to be a concept record? It is ABSOLUTELY useless and annoying. Why did it have to be its own separate track? Why couldn't they have worked it into The Requiem at the end? They should have found a way to mix them together so that they could have blended the Oppenheimer speech (if they wanted to include it that bad) into a section of The Requiem. It makes no sense at all. The track serves no purpose and doesn't strengthen the "story" at all. Another track is Empty Spaces. Seriously? A fucking 18 second long track of cricket sounds and marching tribe noises? This is not necessary and not impressive at all. All they did was use samples and put them together. It has no purpose. They should have kept it at the end of Burning In The Skies, not have it be ITS OWN DAMN TRACK. I can't think of anyone else who has done something like this on their album before.

    Jornada Del Muerto is fine because it is an instrumental track and acts as a smooth segue between Robot Boy and Waiting For The end. Wisdom, Justice And Love however, again… What the fuck? You don't even KNOW what your concept record is really about, being as vague as it is, you don't have a solid story for the album, yet you still have the nerve to include another pointless track including an excerpt from a Martin Luther King speech? You have to be fucking kidding me! This is not arty at all! It is downright ridiculous. Fallout has no purpose either, but at least it has some lyrics from a previous track, and plus, 11 tracks would have been an awkward number, but seriously, this is what the tracklist should have looked like:

    1. The Requiem
    2. Burning In The Skies
    3. When They Come For Me
    4. Robot Boy
    5. Jornada Del Muerto
    6. Waiting For The End
    7. Blackout
    8. Wretches And Kings
    9. Iridescent
    10. Fallout
    11. The Catalyst
    12. The Messenger


    Now, that looks like a much more realistic and coherent tracklist to me. It eliminates the misleading aspect of fans thinking it's gonna be a huge album because they saw 15 tracks on the list. It just makes much more sense this way. Fans would have been less annoyed about the tracks, and they would have focused more on the actual songs instead of complaining about the tracklist structure.

    The reason why I wrote this is because I truly believe that A Thousand Suns could have been much better. I think that LP had a great concept, but just didn't know how to execute it well enough. I believe I listed most (if not all) of the reasons why the album didn't reach its artistic peak.

    I know this topic is a bit old, but I would love to hear your opinions about it. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  2. Minus

    Minus I am not Mike Shinoda. LPA Addicted VIP

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    ATS is a perfect album. That is all.
     
  3. CylockDNB

    CylockDNB Cytophite

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    By whose standards? Lol. Nvm, I forgot who I'm speaking to. :p
     
  4. Manu

    Manu Seeking tenderness with a dagger

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    Wisdom, Justice, and Love is a highlight from ATS. The fact that you excluded it shows you didn't "get" it as much as you claim you did.
     
  5. Minus

    Minus I am not Mike Shinoda. LPA Addicted VIP

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    He excluded it? I have the guy ignored so I didn't actually read his post.

    Lemme guess, it was all "they don't know how to use electronics, needs less interludes, needs more guitar and intensity, and they had a great idea but couldn't execute it".
     
  6. CylockDNB

    CylockDNB Cytophite

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    I didn't "get" it? It's MLK giving a speech over piano and strings. It's not this incredible work of art, man, it's a pointless interlude.


    Not really. If you'd have read it, it would have been clear that those weren't the points I talked about. You're right about the last one, but not the entirety of my post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  7. Hybrid

    Hybrid Friendly Resident Ghostbuster LPA Team

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    Holy :facepalm: Minus, you nailed it pretty much. I'd post a better rebuttal, but, I'm on my cellular. Maybe later when I'm at my PC...
     
  8. Atticus

    Atticus Standing on the wall / Laughing at suns & guns

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    Those paragraphs really need to be separated into smaller ones... Looks like a big wall of text to me.

    Quickly skimming over it however, you do raise some good points concerning the filler that I was just wondering about the other day. ATS is a masterpiece but it seemed to have too much wasted space that could have been filled more to create a richer experience.
     
  9. the11thdoctor

    the11thdoctor Resident Time Lord

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    ATS is awesome... I do agree that The Requiem/The Radiance could've been a single track, but they aren't... If they had been, people would complain that the one intro was too long. True story.
    If you don't like ATS, that's cool, but I'd bet that even with several of those changes, you still wouldn't like it.

    My only actual complaint on the entire album is Empty Spaces. And I think Wisdom, Justice, and Love is a great track...

    Gotta say, I'm siding with Minus here. (tho tbh, I often agree with Minus... so that's nothing new)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  10. Anthony Maroon

    Anthony Maroon Uh oh

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    This, exactly.

    The concept's definitely there. It just--exactly like the songs, when taken individually--can be interpreted in many different ways (of course, the most obvious story being one of nuclear annihilation). Which is essentially how art's supposed to work. To me, ATS is less a perfectly produced, nailed-down-every-mix studio album (though I certainly wouldn't say it's not), and more of a profound piece of art.

    In the most basic response to the other two points I can give, the lack of heavy guitars was refreshing and a huge step for the band in my eyes, and I absolutely loved the "filler" material. The instrumental/interlude tracks rounded out the album perfectly.
     
  11. Xero21

    Xero21 I was Ree's 100th follower on Twitter.

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    Is that really so obvious? BITS, Robot Boy, WFTE, Iridescent, The Messenger, and the interludes are all NOT heavy. The evidence clearly shows that Linkin Park weren't overly into the idea of a "heavy" album, but also not opposed to it (WTCFM, Blackout, Wretches, Catalyst?).

    You're starting to lose your argument a bit here. "Heavy" to you clearly means "heavy guitars" because you use them as synonyms. That's not the case. WTCFM is heavy using percussion and vocals. Blackout and Wretches use heavy synth bass (Wretches is actually a sampled guitar), and Catalyst uses a dancey beat. Again, there were heavy moments on the album. You just seem to be sad that they didn't feature big distorted guitar. Which is fine, but a bit selfish/picky.

    Again, you're using "heavy" and "guitars" as synonyms. Not true.

    The entire point of A Thousand Suns was to not give a shit about what the fans, the record label, or anyone else wanted them to do. A Thousand Suns was a pure moment of self-expression. That's what art is. It's not about fans.

    Yes it is. OK Computer and The Suburbs don't have a clear-cut "story" either. You're thinking of rock opera, like The Black Parade or Year Zero. There's a difference. A concept album revolves around...a concept. An idea. A theme. It doesn't mean there has to be a narrative.

    Again, see my previous response. You seem to be confusing what a "legitimate concept record" really is with a rock opera.

    Again, not an album for the listeners.

    And about the tracklisting, I do agree with you on a lot. The Radiance and Empty Spaces being their own tracks is silly.

    I disagree, I honestly just think your pre-conceived notions are what killed the experience for you.

    You think that Linkin Park is good at doing guitars, so there should have been guitars. You think the listeners didn't appreciate the heavy moments, you think the listeners didn't like the interludes, you think a concept record has to tell a narrative. All of these things are fixed ideas in your head that aren't necessarily true and don't necessarily matter. You had certain expectations regarding the way certain things should be, and they weren't met. That sounds like your problem, not the band's.

    I'm not trying to insult you, but I do think you need a bit more of an open mind when you approach this album.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  12. Anthony Maroon

    Anthony Maroon Uh oh

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    I agree with essentially everything Xero21 just said.

    As for The Reqiuem/Radiance, my guess is that those two were separated out primarily for their titles to tie into the concept. In terms of audio, they definitely could have been one track.

    As for Empty Spaces, that's a tricky one, which is probably why it is where it is. Again, part of it may have simply been the title, but my personal guess is that tacking it onto either BITS or WTCFM would have been a little awkward for either track. It has a totally different sound (or lack thereof, hence the name) than both of its adjacent songs.

    Edit: Though the biggest thing I agree with here is that you need to go into every new Linkin Park release having absolutely destroyed any preconceived notions you hold about the band, as well as any expectations you may have for an album.
     
  13. Hybrid

    Hybrid Friendly Resident Ghostbuster LPA Team

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    To defend Empty Spaces, people would have complained that When They Come For Me had too long of an intro. I think the biggest reason Empty Spaces was a separate track was to make it optional. I say this because it seemed like When They Come For Me was a top contender for a single. 13 seconds of what Empty Spaces is would not have been good playability on the radio. This thought was based on the fact that it was played on SNL. That's the way I see it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  14. The Joesen One

    The Joesen One Waiting for the OTHER end to come LPA Super Member

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    I believe the only flaw ATS had was the overabundance of everything. We're going into this genre and then swerve into another and it gets really clustered. It's not really a bad thing, but it's confusing to identify which way the band is going.

    You see this is why I like Meteora better. :shinado:
     
  15. Duragon

    Duragon Well-Known Member

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    Why does it feel like when every time someone tries to write a post about their personal thoughts on an LP album and they've included some negative critism (Even if they have reasons to say that, not just the ''omfg it sux'') They get attacked by angry comments?
    And the line ''The topic name is about something i don't like, so i will ignore the post and asume you wrote a bunch of shit''

    Enough about that.
    I can say i love ATS album in its entirely, but there are some things i ofcourse dislike. It's not a problem or anything.
    I see that people think the first 3 tracks is a bit too much, and they could have merged the first two tracks together. But on the otherhand.. i love it.
    I personally skip Robot Boy everytime i listen to the album.. But when i first listen to it, the track creates somekind of scenario in my mind.
    I do wish they had some kind of a fadeover to The Messenger. For me it feels like it's just a track added later on, and not a part of the whole concept.

    I have a bunch of more positive things to say about the ATS album.. but i haven't slept in the last 28 hours.
    My head can't handle it right now...
     
  16. jare0674

    jare0674 There's a seat here along side me...

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    I think that ATS is the perfect album but I do have one complaint, it should be longer. I'm not saying that its too short but I would have loved if they could have put around two more full songs and maybe another interlude to make the album a little over an hour long.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  17. lepetitpote

    lepetitpote my presence is a present kiss my ass

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    Agreed here, as well as the post.

    Well said, mate, well said. There's been far too much attacks in this thread and quite frankly there's just too much butthurt going on.
     
  18. Xero21

    Xero21 I was Ree's 100th follower on Twitter.

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    Just to clarify, when I said this, I didn't mean the interludes were silly. I just think that The Radiance and The Requiem should be one track called "The Requiem" (or "The Radiance") and that Empty Spaces should be tacked onto the end of BITS (probably better than the beginning of WTCFM).

    I love most of the A Thousand Suns interludes, both as stand alone tracks, as well as what they do to help the album move along.
     
  19. Broman

    Broman Son Of Krypton

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    When I first heard ATS, I was a bit disappointed at their new sound. MTM was different, but not as huge of a game changer as ATS, but at the same time, LP's new sound was the best thing to ever happen in my opinion. Usually I fell in love with LP's albums with one listen, but that wasn't the same case with ATS. For the first time I had to find a way to enjoy these songs by listening to them over and understanding the lyrics which in turn helped me truly understand the album as a whole and individually with each track. This helped me appreciate the album so much that I now know it is their most professional and close to perfect work. I also believe this is something that every Nu-Metal moron has obviously failed to do, learn to appreciate
     
  20. Delicious Dave

    Delicious Dave I'm gonna drive you into your own anus.

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    Too long didn't read. I hate people begging for more guitars. I would choose a keyboard and synth melody over a guitar anyway. Like the I'LL BBE GONE snippet. The guitar is boring and generic. A good example of guitar use is Burning in the Skies and Iredescent. A Thousand Suns is amazing. I would never remove Wisdom Justice and Love but fuck Empty Spaces. It's the only track I don't like
     

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