Minutes to Midnight is the band’s third studio album released in May 14, 2007. It explores the concept of the end of the world. The title is taken from the Doomsday clock which was issued in 1947 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issue at eight minutes to midnight. The clock symbolizes a countdown to a possible global destruction.
This album represented a big shift in music style from the band’s previous nu metal albums.
The album holds 12 tracks, each song sounding different from the other. The first song “Wake” sets the tone of the whole album. There are no lyrics in the song, it’s purely instrumental but it shifts away from the signature nu metal sound that was newly form Linkin Park.
There are three important songs that makes the whole essence of the album’s concept of minutes to midnight.
1. Leave Out All the Rest
The album’s third song, “Leave out all the Rest” is basically an apology letter. The song’s working titles were “Fear and “When My Time Comes” before setting down to “Leave out all the Rest”. It features raw guitar and drum playing combined with powerful emotional vocals. In an interview the band’s vocalist Chester Bennington said, “We knew this was going to be a single from the very beginning, so we worked really hard on making sure it had great lyrics. I'm singing 'Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself' during it because it's supposed to feel like an apology letter, as though I'm moving on but I want people to remember the good things and not the bad things. A lot of the song is about humility.” The song has been featured on the original motion picture soundtrack for the film “Twilight” (2008).
“When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
When you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest, leave out all the rest”
2. Shadow of the Day
The fourth track, “Shadow of the Day” is about someone who is suffering and believe sometimes it is easier to just stop trying, even thought people who love you are pushing you onward. Life is not as simple, and sometimes giving up is the answer. This explores the concept of choice: we wither chose to continue on or just let go. And many have to respect on what the choice will be. In facing the Doomsday clock, what will be your choice?
“In cards and flowers on your window
Your friends all plead for you to stay
Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way
And the sun will set for you, the sun will set for you.”
3. What I’ve Done
Probably one of the most popular Linkin Park song because of the commercially successful film “Transformers” (2007). “What I’ve Done” powerful lyrics suggest remorse for what we (as humans) have done. The music video directed by the band’s turntablist Joe Hahn starts in a Californian desert with footage reflecting on different social and environmental issues including, global warming, pollution, racism, Nazism, abortion, starvation, obesity, the Holocaust and nuclear warfare among others. It also features important historical figures just as Mother Teresa, Robert Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi, Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin and Hitler among others. These ideas and important figures explore the cause and effect humanity has socially and environmentally in our world. It follows the idea of what has caused the Doomsday to come in minutes.
“I’ll face myself
To cross out what I’ve become
And let go of what I’ve done
For what I’ve done
I start again
And whatever pain my come
Today this ends
I’m forgiving what I’ve done”
Now because this album sounds completely different from the band’s earlier works, many dismissed it without actually listening to the whole story’s concept. The Rolling Stones gave the album 4 out of 5 stars stating, “Rap metal is dead. Linkin Park are not, because they were always more than the meager sum of that combination — more pop and classic rock in their riffs, hooks and drive, even on Collision Course, Linkin Park are more of something else — topical — and furiously good at it.”
But AllMusic gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars saying, “[Linkin Park] try to sound mature isn’t always convincing, either possible because it sounds like a skate punk uncomfortably trying on his big brother’s suit.”
Despite many fans not liking the maturity and new direction of the band, you cannot deny that this along with the following album, “A Thousands Suns," illustrate the dark internal struggles of human beings faced in a world of pure problems and misery that many try to deflect.