This is my first time going through, so things might grow on me. I am reviewing each track as I hear it for the first time (barring the snippets and all). Wake: 7/10 Naturally better than foreword, that didn’t even deserve to be a track. It has a nice build up, almost sounds like it is going to break into an old LP kind of track for a moment. A nice short instrumental opening nonetheless-even if a touch misleading. Some vocals would have been better in my opinion though. Given Up: 8/10 This song really is reminiscent of old LP, if you ignore the lack of raps. Lyrics are angsty, Chester is screaming, guitar is heavy. It isn’t identical, but it shows LP being quite close to their roots. Take something like Faint and cut out Mike’s raps. It should be noted that I always stood by LP when they said they didn’t swear because it seemed like a cheap way to get out actually writing lyrics. I’m a bit disappointed on that front, especially because the lyrics were pretty generic overall in this song. If it had better lyrics, I could really see myself loving this. But heavy rock songs like this don’t need great lyrics as much as ballads do, for me. So let’s hope me see some improvement on the many slower songs coming up. Leave Out All the Rest: 8.5/10 I almost feel like this might be a goodbye to the fans they will lose with this CD. “I’m strong on the surface, not all the way through. I’ve never been perfect, but neither have you”- these are my favourite lyrics on the CD so far. I actually like them. I love the verses on this song, the courses slightly less. So far one complaint I have is that it almost sounds like the courses were always written first, and the verses were just there to string them together. Mainly because they are so short. But they are also usually my favourite part of the song. Lyrically some parts such as “I can’t be who you are” still show that LP have not gone too far away from their previous work, as such a theme was present in many of their old songs (especially on Meteora). I like this track though. The course is a tad repetitive, but overall it is enjoyable. Bleed it Out 6/10 We get to hear Mike rap again, although I would like his parts a touch longer. Instead we hear Chester repeat “I bleed it out, dig in deeper just to throw it away”. Mike’s raps are reminiscent to Fort Minor and maybe even Xero. This is great in terms of speed and flow, but again lyrically I would have liked something more along the lines of the Hybrid Theory EP. This song is good, but a bit repetitive. I guess that is why it is the shortest song on the CD though. It almost seemed like it was just there to give Mike a chance to show he can still rap with the best of them. It should also be noted that, while this is a rap rock song, it is way different from their other work. Given Up is far more reminiscent of Meteora than this song is, despite the raps. This really shows Mike’s influence from his side project Fort Minor, with Chester’s course present almost like a more generic vocal loop. Not the best song, but it is short too so we can excuse it a bit. It was nice to hear Mike rapping with LP again. Shadow of the Day 8.2/10 We move into another ballad, but that’s okay. I like softer songs. The lyrics aren’t amazingly original, but they are new ground for LP. They are inspirational yet haunting. They are about moving on, recognizing how hard that is, but saying you can do it. It sounds like it could be about a person dying of a fatal disease. And accepting this person must die, and accepting you have to say goodbye. This song is really emotional. I am liking it a lot. Recognizing the world will never be the same without this person, but knowing it is time for them to move on. It sounds like a goodbye to a grandfather or something of the like, as the song gives me the impression this person’s life was really complete. I am not finding these lyrics amazing, but I like to hear LP cover new group competently, if not amazingly originally. The outro music reminds me of something during a funeral or sombre church ceremony. What I’ve Done 5/10 I’ll be honest: I don’t enjoy this song. Lyrically, while it shows a bit of progression, it still sounds generic. Musically it is typical pop-rock. This is another instance when the song is extremely course based, and the verses hardly seem to matter. However, in this song I don’t like the verses much more than the course. The video is also boring, with too much stock footage, but I won’t focus on that here. This song is not so much bad by an objective standard, but as an LP song I would have hoped for more. It sounds like everything else on the radio. It seems it was just written to grab some more generic fans. It worried me a lot as the first thing I heard from this CD, and I am glad to say it is the worse track on here so far. Despite the harsh review it doesn’t get lower than a five because I am reviewing this CD as just that, a CD, not so much as a Linkin Park CD. This would be about a 3/10 as a Linkin Park song, but is just average as a regular song. I could hear it beside Nickelback and U2 and not be shocked. But unlike those bands, all the other songs (so far) sound different then this, while my biggest complaint with those bands is that all their stuff sounds the same. A typical radio song, take it for what it’s worth. Hand’s Held High 8.1/10 Mike is back on the mic, and rapping again. The drumming sets the mood for the war theme of this song. This is definitely like a Fort Minor song. It makes me think of Kenji because of it’s war theme. Lyrically, it isn’t too complex, but it deals with the issue well. Chester (is that him?) hauntingly chants “Amen” inbetween Mike’s verses. This is story-telling rap at it’s best. “When the rich wage war it’s the poor that die” is a good, hard hitting line. This seems to be about the poor fighting for the riches gain. This time Chester’s added vocals don’t seem tacked on like in Bleed it Out. It sounds a bit like Mike is singing along with him, which is cool. This song I believe is the last of Mike’s raps on the CD, and definitely the better of the two. But LP were serious when they said they wanted to move away from their old image. This is rap rock, but nothing like their old stuff. I would think this is a song where Rick Rubin said “if it seems like you need singing, try rapping”. LP would usually make this a sound more like the song Numb. But Mike’s rapping is perfect here, and it definitely shows their musical progression. My only complaint is that I’ve never been directly hurt from war, so I can’t relate on a personal level (nor can most of their previous fans I am guessing). But Mike is writing a song that means something to him. This is a great example of how LP hasn’t sold out, despite what a song the What I’ve Done may have you believe. No More Sorrow 7.5/10 Opening instruments is very reminiscent of Sing the Sorrow-era AFI, which is fine because they’re my favourite band right now. Vocally and lyrically is nothing like AFI though, and unfortunately leagues behind them. Especially lyrically. It is a shame, but this song is just extremely generic lyrically. It seems true that on heavier songs LP’s lyrics are going to slip on this record. This might be the last real heavy song if I recall correctly. Also, this is the second of 2 more political songs. Combining this and the last song you get a definite anti-Bush message, which LP seemed to say they wouldn’t do. Overall this song is enjoyable, and I seem to be in the minority for not being all over it, but musically it hasn’t gripped me yet and lyrically I doubt it ever will. Valentine’s Day 8/10 As soon as I heard this title I was intrigued to hear the song. It sounds like Shadow of the Day a bit, the first time two songs have sounded similar on this CD. Lyrically it paints the same image of a dreary, grey world, and again seems to be about the death of one you are close to. However, this death may be metaphorical, and be about his divorce. Unlike his Shadow of the Day that sounded like the literal death of an older family member or teacher, this song is clearly the loss of a lover. As Chester sings “I never knew what it was like to be alone, on a Valentine’s Day” over and over at the end. People might jump to label this song ‘emo’, but if having a sad love song is emo, then almost every rock group you see would fit that definition. This is a good song that seems to stem from the same idea as Shadow of the Day and differentiated itself through where the lyrics finally take you. It loses a couple .1’s though for being the first sign of a real repeat on this CD though. Let’s hope it isn’t the beginning of the end. In Between 8.1/10 We hear Mike again, but he’s singing. My fears of him sounding awful are put to rest. He doesn’t sing as powerfully as Chester, but he is still emotional without having to belt it out. Lyrically, I am not so disappointed “But trying to regain your trust was harder than it seemed, and somewhere I got caught in between by pride and my promise…The only thing that’s worse than one is none.” It really sounds like a heartfelt apology. He seems to know he made a mistake, and is trying to apologize but the one he hurt refuses to listen. A beautiful song, but I wish it managed to last a touch longer. It is 3:40 long, so it isn’t a big deal, but it just seemed that the song ended before I really had a chance to fall in love. These complaints of songs ending too soon might just be a testament to how good they are though. This song is longer then almost anything on Meteora, yet I never felt Meteora’s songs were cut short. More likely, though, is the fact that ballads need more time to really work out then heavier songs, making these seem to be cut a touch short. A minor complaint though. It also reminds me of Out the Back by Fort Minor, which happens to be my favourite FM song. In Pieces 8.3/10 This is the first song we hear some real electronic stuff in the background. It also seems to be the most experimental song. This song seems really calm, but Chester’s voice jumps into a more aggressive tone at a few points. Later on in the song a poppier beat enters the background, reminding me of something from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Lyrically, it isn’t groundbreaking, but I am enjoying it nonetheless. I also can relate to this song well. Instrumentally this is really all over the place, with Brad coming in with the most complex (from what I can tell) guitar work we’ve heard from him to date. I must admit, despite being pretty poppy, I am enjoying this song for what it is. The Little Things You Give Away 8.2/10 This is the song we have all been dying to hear. The 6:25 minute long work of art Linkin Park has been hyping to no end, and the closing of their 4 year long effort Minutes to Midnight. It starts with an acoustic guitar with a slightly industrial beat in the background. Chester has the softest singing I have ever heard from him before at the beginning. This song so far seems to be about someone wants to be looked up to, and finding that admiration in Chester. Nearing the end of the second repetition of the course, the softer sound breaks up into a more standard sound. So far, this song seems quite lyrically mature compared to their other stuff. And, unlike some other songs on this album, Chester and Mike don’t sound incompetent or generic when trying something new. Brad’s guitar solo comes in now, and it does sound emotional and fitting, but is no technical feat. A bit disappointing, because I would have liked to see Brad show off a bit more if he could. But that doesn’t matter so much. The song really reaches an intense ending, with vocals layered over one another and very full sounding background. Despite this CD being stripped down in general, this song builds up to something more similar to the “perfectionist” LP we knew before (solely in that aspect. This sounds nothing like old LP). The song didn’t blow my mind, but it is a lot to digest and I will likely have to give it time. I must say though, it is a good piece of work. Its length allows it to have the best progression and build up I have ever seen in an LP song. But as a whole it doesn’t stand head and shoulders above the other songs on the CD. Which is actually a good thing, as it shows LP was diverse and still managed to make the majority of their songs song quite good. Overall Rating: 7.7/10 (not an average) In closing, this CD is not classic LP. You will find bits and pieces of that in some of their songs, but it is gone overall. With classic LP, you usually loved every song on the LP, because they were all quite similar. On this CD, I am betting most people will only like some songs, and dislike others. This is because the CD is incredibly diverse. Only two songs really sound like clones of each other, whereas on Meteora there were really only two types of songs total. I will admit thus far I like old LP more. They were not so diverse, but they did a whole lot of what I liked. But despite that, it was about time for LP to move forward. They needed to make this CD, even if I don’t love it. It had broadened their horizons tenfold, and I really think their next CD will be that much better because of this. I give this CD an overall 7.7/10, mainly because there were a few songs that just seemed really poor to me. And I think, even if we choose different songs, there may be a few songs that appear really poor to almost everyone due to how diverse this CD is. Also, it is worth noting that, while diverse, a couple heavier songs couldn’t have hurt. Not to replace anything, but the CD could have done with being 7 or so minutes longer, and a couple heavier songs would have done that. I even would have liked to hear something more like QWERTY as a throw back to their older fans. This CDs shortcomings mainly do not come from what they did do, most of that is solid, it just comes from times when feeling they didn’t do something they really could have. But this is just the first listen. It might grow on me.