You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want, right? Well, guess what: Linkin Park is the army we have. Linkin Park is our best chance to get the largest swath of people really, really angry. Bright Eyes just ain’t gonna get shit done.
Let’s dispense with the comedy: Mike Shinoda raps like Weird Al, over-articulating and staggering on A-A, B-B rhyme-scheme crutches like he was Mother Goose. But he only does this on two tracks, because today’s Linkin Park is all about rock, with co-producer Rick Rubin (the Roger Clemens of pop music; the reason he wears those sunglasses is to hide the dollar signs in his eyes) mixing in bits of Slayer chug in places. But then, “Shadow of the Day” sounds like U2—it really does. (There are no more turntables. Remember turntables in rock? No? Good.) Meanwhile, co-frontman Chester Bennington has the most virtuosic duck-fart of a voice—check “Given Up,” in which he holds a scratchy scream for 17 seconds! He is still very sad: “Put [him] out of [his] fucking misery.”
As for Mad Mike, “When you can’t put gas in your tank/These fuckers are laughing their way to the bank/Cashing a check/Asking you to have compassion and have some respect/For a leader so nervous in an obvious way/Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay.” That’s “Hands Held High” (chorus: “Amen!”). So Linkin Park are as mad as hell and they may or may not take it anymore.
Minutes to Midnight is the straight-talk express—clever’s out the window, and no one’s mincing words. Rock, rock, scream, rock, rap, sermonize, rock. Bitchin’! Mainline the heartland with your frustrations, boys! I wanna see fists pumping in that town where Friday Night Lights takes place. Nickelback won their hearts, and Coldplay won their balls, but you guys can eat their brains. Eat their brains like zombies. Zombies!