Does this album occur in "movements?" (VERY concept-oriented reading ahead)

Discussion in 'Linkin Park Chat' started by Astat, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. #1

    Astat LPA Super Member LPA Super Member

    May 3, 2004
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    Perhaps this is just a result of a bit too much sleep deprivation combined with being loaded up on cold medicine (o hai thur winter), but I was listening to the album tonight, making note of how everything flows together, and something occurred to me:

    There are only 2 spots on this album where there isn't a discernable transition from one song to the next: Between When They Come For Me/Robot Boy and Blackout/Wretches and Kings. So this got me to thinking...since this is ("loosely") a concept album, could that be intentional? It's common for concept albums to be split up into movements to separate sections of the "story," and I thought maybe this isn't an exception. For those who are wondering, here's how I noted all the transitions:

    The Requiem > The Radiance - direct musical transition
    The Radiance > Burning in the Skies - heartbeat/droning keyboard transition
    Burning in the Skies > Empty Spaces - crickets
    Empty Spaces > When They Come For Me - soldiers marching/guns cocking in time w/When They Come For Me intro beat
    When They Come For Me > Robot Boy - N/A
    Robot Boy > Jornada Del Muerto - droning keyboard note/"ping-pong" noise transition
    Jornada Del Muerto > Waiting For the End > song ends on an Asus2 chord (A5/w B on top), B plus E note from keyboard creates E chord, WFTE starts on E
    Waiting For the End > Blackout - oscillating reverb noise on last vocal part fades into intro keyboard
    Blackout > Wretches and Kings - N/A
    Wretches and Kings > Wisdom, Justice and Love - Wretches and Kings is in A, but ends unresolved, WJ&L starts on an A minor chord (effectively "ending" the previous song)
    Wisdom, Justice, and Love > Iridescent - ends/starts on A minor chord again (w/keyboard fade-in)
    Iridescent > Fallout - droning keyboard note transition
    Fallout > The Catalyst - droning keyboard note transition (pretty much a direct transition)
    The Catalyst > The Messenger - ends on a G/D keyboard interval, The Messenger starts on a G major chord

    To add fuel to the fire here, take a look at how the songs on either side of the gaps are structured lyrically: When They Come For Me is a totally self-indulgent song from a lyrical standpoint, whether it's Mike's rap or Chester singing the bridge, the whole song is about "me." Then take a look at the beginning of just about every line in Robot Boy: "You say/you think/you're sure." There's a stark contrast between those two songs, going from first person to third person (and about as far to either end of that spectrum as far as Linkin Park's lyrical content goes). I think the gap there is meant to signify a shift in perspective from one character to another, or possibly a shift from a character talking about themselves to talking about someone/something else.

    Then take a look at how Blackout ends and Wretches and Kings begins: Blackout ends with "come down, oh" fading into a background of digital noise, like whoever's singing it is either giving up or literally "coming down below" (I always felt Mike's part at the end - "come down far below/we've been waiting to collect the things you know" was a reference to someone being interrogated and/or tortured). Then Wretches and Kings starts with the only speech on the album that isn't accompanied by any music, and Savio's speech is about as uprising-oriented as it gets, it's pretty much a more eloquent way of saying "stick it to the man." If someone's going to "come down" 9 songs into a 15-track album, it only makes sense for some type of uprising/rebellion to happen afterwards.

    I look at it this way: If this is split up into 3 "acts," in Act 1, the main character is anticipating that someone is going to come after them (When They Come For Me), in Act 2, they're blackmailed/captured in Blackout, and in Act 3, they rebel/escape. Obviously there's a bigger storyline with the entire atomic age/people getting nuked thing too, check out a live video of Jornada Del Muerto for an example of that - the sky background on the screen morphs into a mushroom cloud right as the climactic final chord of the song is struck, given that the title of the song originates from the name of the site where the first nuclear bomb was tested, I think that's literally what happens in the song, and the melody from The Catalyst being sung in Japanese may be a kind of foreshadowing to the bomb being dropped on Japan later, most likely occurring during The Catalyst itself.

    I definitely think there's some sort of narrative woven into the sequencing of this album, the band's just shied away from discussing it in interviews because they don't want people to think they tried to make something to compete with The Wall/Tommy/American Idiot.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2010
  2. #2

    Dean LPA Addict LPA Addict

    May 8, 2004
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    I think there's something to saying there's some kind of sequence there. Not so much an actual narrative. It just seems to require too many broad strokes to say "in this song the protagonist does this, and then this, and this song has Chester and Mike playing different characters" and whatever. There's a concept but it's not really a story driven one.
  3. #3

    Derek Administrator LPA Administrator

    Jul 13, 2002
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    I definitely think it was intentional and meant to be this way, so you're not at all weird for thinking of what you did. The band has said in many interviews that they very carefully picked out the order of the songs when making the tracklist, so I definitely believe the "movements" to be deliberate.
  4. #4

    Benjamin LPA team LPA Super VIP

    Jun 18, 2010
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    Seems logical to me. Thanks for making me love this album even more, haha.
  5. #5

    iNuBBiN Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2010
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    I have just been mind fucked
  6. #6

    travz21 Muscle Museum LPA Super Member

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I thought it was told in 3 parts from pretty much the first week of listening to it. It's clearly intentional how they don't have transitions after those songs. The fun part is trying to find a story that makes sense to you. There are probably multiple ones. I think LP is being way too modest with this record. They could pinpoint what they did and what they were trying to portray, but maybe that would take the fun out of it for them. Maybe they enjoy intelligent people breaking down their work and just smiling once they understand. Maybe they don't need everyone to understand the album's greatness.
  7. #7

    MKH Bat of Gotham LPA Super VIP

    Apr 29, 2010
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    When you hear the band themselves say it's a "loosely" concept-based album, and then read this post, you question what their definition of "loosely" is lol. I think this is definitely legitimate and intentional - the two places where there isn't a transition definitely mark a sudden change that, when listening, makes you wonder where the connection is/went. Berry nice, I like.
  8. #8

    cloudscream Static

    Jul 30, 2010
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    There's the irony that The Catalyst is near the end of the album and The Requiem is the first track.
  9. #9
    Super Sonic

    Super Sonic The Hedgehog LPA Super VIP

    Jul 28, 2010
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