So, I’m not a music critic nor do I have any technical musical expertise, but I am a fan and I love music, so I’m going to gush about A Thousand Suns on this post 🙂 The one thing about being a Linkin Park fan is the fact that there are so few hard core fans, hence the need for me to share my feelings about the album with the wider world rather than my ambivalent friends. As I said before, I really don’t know what I’m talking about so I’m just going to focus on fan girling: describing the music and the emotions I get from the songs.
But first a bit of background. The album was named “A Thousand Suns” because of a quote from the Bhagavad-Gita (mentioned by Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb) in which Vishnu shows an Indian prince his true form(that of a god) and it is described as: “If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one”(not sure if that’s the correct translation).
From this we get the feeling that ATS is a concept album, whether the band likes the label or not. After all, the songs do tell a story in a sort of abstract, emotional way. We are constantly aware of the theme of a nuclear fallout in the album whilst still enjoying the other themes and thoughts weaved into the individual songs. In other words, it’s AMAZING! I’ll go through the album a song at a time, by track listing. Cause that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Story: This seems to be directly after a nuclear bomb, perhaps even at the site of the explosion. The ghostly voices…moaning, I guess, could be the recently dead. Then comes the female voice which adds a sort of inner monologue to the watchers of the massacre.
Music: The music is mostly quiet in the beginning, and begins to amplify as the song goes on, becoming increasingly robotic/mechanical sounding. I can’t quiet tell what instrument it is or if there is even an instrument at all. It sounds a bit like water if that makes sense.
Emotion: It’s a sort of sad disbelief. A bit of devastation is felt through the lyrics as well as some inevitable guilt and grief. The sudden stop of the chant sort of feels like a cliff hanger leading up to the next track/intro.
Story: Comprised entirely of a quote from Oppenheimer, the track sort of describes the aftermath of a nuclear attack. In particular, it describes the reactions of the unaffected world and that of the scientists that carried out the manufacture and deploying of the bomb (this is particularly interesting because the quote is from after the first A-bomb test.)
Music: Considering the tone of the quote, the music is weirdly fast, robotic and techno. A bit of a contrast I suppose to the slow tones of Oppenheimer. The music gets louder and more disturbed as the words progress, with a heartbeat growing louder and louder over the track. The music stops with the last line of the quote, which definitely emphasized the meaning of the words.
Emotion: The music seems to bring a sort of hurried anxiety to the track. The quote itself it quiet slow and sad, almost regretful. It brought me into the nuclear fallout theme nicely, and I sort of felt bad for Oppenheimer until the last line: “’Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds. I suppose we all thought that one way or another.” That bit just made me feel a bit sad.
Burning In The Skies
Story: This is more of a general human reaction to the…destruction of the world. The people realize that, in some way or another, they caused it and at the same time, accept this fact and attempt to move on.
Music: the beginning of the song has a sort of ebbing tone to it which builds up anticipation whilst still feeling quite serene. The lyrics of the song itself are extremely poetic, which happens to be one of the reasons why I love Linkin Park so much. Yay for me 😀 Along with this, the fact that MIKE sings the verses almost entirely on his own had me grinning ear to ear, despite the heavy subject matter. The music reminds me of the sea, it rises and dips in volume and intensity throughout the verse until the chorus where a slightly heavier tone appears. The drums come in, there’s a bit of guitar plucking which gives me a bit of a Spanish vibe. And of course Chester comes in, his voice steady and clear…a little higher than usual. What’s interesting is that his voice sort of leads the song in a way-it transitions the music into a louder, harder section. There’s some amazingly fast drumming and scratchy guitar. Then Chester gets a little bit more emotional-but it’s all still very CALM. Which is frankly amazing.
Emotion: There’s a definite thread of regret during the song, but there’s still acceptance. There’s sadness, but not overwhelmingly so. There’s a sense of responsibility, in that the disaster was everyone’s fault and therefore everyone’s responsibility to fix it. There’s also a sense of finality. An understanding that nothing can be the same ever again. But it’s all very calm and if you allow your emotions to intertwine with the song, although you’ll be sad, you won’t be desperate.
Credit to Wikipedia for most of the historical info on ATS.
- Linkin Park Announce A Thousand Suns Tour Dates (mtv.com)