Minutes to Midnight is the third studio album by Linkin Park, released in 2007. The album marked a definitive shift in the band's repertoire in many ways, spurred on by the band members' desire to experiment in the studio.
Following the nu metal sound of their successful first two albums (Hybrid Theory, Meteora) steadily falling out of style nearing the end of the 2000s, Minutes marked the band's first foray away from that genre and towards arena-ready alternative rock and metal, overseen by record producer Rick Rubin. As such, the instrumentation used in songs is generally lighter, and lead vocalist Mike Shinoda embraces singing and harmonizing over his traditional rapping.
Further unique characteristics of Minutes include its political themes, revolving around the Doomsday Clock (which inspired the album's name), environmentalism, The War on Terror, and social unrest, which helped transition the band members into a more mature phase in their development. The recurring concerns of betrayal and loss helped keep the subject matter consistent with the band's previous work. The album also contains profanity unlike its predecessors, which made it the band's first full-length album to receive a Parental Advisory label.
While Minutes became a massive hit, debuting at #1 in 15 countries, the change in the band's style heavily split their fanbase, and remains a point of mild divisiveness in their history considering they would only experiment further with alternative influences in future releases. Older listeners who loved their work in nu metal thought the band sold out, while others who enjoyed softer rock and may not have had an entry point to the band embraced the newer direction.
- "Wake" (1:40)
- "Given Up" (3:09)
- "Leave Out All the Rest" (3:29)
- "Bleed It Out" (2:44)
- "Shadow of the Day" (4:49)
- "What I've Done" (3:25)
- "Hands Held High" (3:53)
- "No More Sorrow" (3:41)
- "Valentine's Day" (3:16)
- "In Between" (3:16)
- "In Pieces" (3:38)
- "The Little Things Give You Away" (6:23)
- Chester Bennington lead vocals
- Mike Shinoda vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard, piano, production
- Brad Delson lead guitar
- Dave Farrell bass
- Joe Hahn turntables, samples, keyboard, programming
- Rob Bourdon drums, percussion
The Little Tropes Give You Away
- Album Intro Track: "Wake", a calm and uplifting instrumental.
- Anti-Love Song: "Valentine's Day", ostensibly:And the ground below grew colder
As they put you down inside
But the heartless wind kept blowing, blowing
So now you're gone, and I was wrong
I never knew what it was like, to be alone
On a Valentine's Day, on a Valentine's Day
- Atomic F-Bomb: Found at the end of the bridge of "Given Up."
- Audience Participation Song: "Hands Held High" features a chorus of amens, which the audience gladly replicates live.
- Back to Front: The "Bleed it Out" music video does this creatively. While the band performs in real time, the surrounding bar fight rewinds from its culmination to its beginning.
- Break Up Song: "In Pieces", ostensibly. "Valentine's Day" seems to count too.
- Call-Back: The video for "Given Up" has various callbacks to the band's previous music videos between all the special effects.
- Careful with That Axe:
- Chester bellows it out hard (read: swings that axe like a goddamn hurricane) in the bridge of "Given Up", capped off by the infamous seventeen-second, two-note scream.
- He then repeats the screaming throughout the latter half of "No More Sorrow"
- Darker and Edgier: Not so much in music or style, but in lyrical content. The lyrics to "Hands Held High" are notably pretty angry, with swear words:Jump when they tell us they want to see jumpin'
Fuck that! I want to see some fists pumpin'
Risk somethin', take back what's yours
Say somethin' that you know they might attack you for
- Demoted to Extra: Mike is largely demoted to a backing vocalist who harmonizes with Chester, rather than one half of a tag team. Only two songs feature him rapping, and only one features their signature Vocal Tag Team.
- Doomsday Clock: The title of the album stems from this. While they didn't really get into their concerns toward nuclear warfare until the following album, A Thousand Suns, the video for "Shadow of the Day" references this amid political unrest. The opening features Chester waking up at 11:55 pm and proceeding to go out, and the song is just under five minutes long.
- Epic Rocking: The end of "The Little Things Give You Away" has two minutes of Brad, Chester, and Mike harmonizing with one another to awesome effects.
- Epic Tracking Shot: The camera in the "Given Up" video never once pans away or cuts.
- In the Style of: The Arena Rock concerns of the album sound very similar to U2: indeed, Chester's mannerisms in the "What I've Done" video seem to mimic Bono's.
- Incredibly Long Note: The last line of the bridge in "Given Up" combines this with Metal Scream, resulting in a seventeen-second long, two-note scream. However, Chester generally avoids holding it for that long during live performances in order to preserve his voice.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: A black-and-white, shadowy picture of the band from a distance.
- New Sound Album: Very much so. This led to their decline in popularity, even though they broke out of their niche to appeal to a wider fanbase. It was also a "new technique album," where the band abandoned their usual songwriting practice of recording the songs as individual productions, then figuring out how to play them live, and wrote songs based on jam sessions.
- Precision F-Strike: Twice in "Bleed It Out":Yeah here we go for the hundredth time
Hand grenade pins in every line
Throw 'em up and let something shine
Going out of my fucking mind [...]
Candy paint on his brand new Hearse
Can't contain him he knows he works
Fuck this hurts, I won't lie
Doesn't matter how hard I try
- Protest Song: The video for "What I've Done" is very moving, as it juxtaposes various hate groups, nuclear bombings, and starving people with freedom fighters, peacemakers, and the privileged elite.
- Rap Rock: The notable lack of rapping was one of the main criticisms of the album. Only "Bleed It Out" can be classed as rap rock, as the other song with rapping in it ("Hands Held High") is a Political Rap song that sounds like it belongs in Fort Minor.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "Leave Out All the Rest" was used to promote both Danny Boyle's film Sunshine and the first Twilight movie.
- Step Up to the Microphone: The rest of the band encouraged Brad Delson to play more prominent guitar parts, despite the fact that he was previously too shy to play solos because he hated showing off. He also contributed harmonies for a number of the tracks.
- This also marks the first time Mike began to sing, rather than just letting Chester sing the choruses or the entire vocal harmony.
- Additionally, Mike gets two songs to himself, one Political Rap song that sounds like it would belong to Fort Minor and another song that has him singing solo for the first time. The iTunes version adds another track that just featured Mike Shinoda singing
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "In Between" was the softest song the band had released up to that point (other than the Hybrid Theory B-side track "My December", as well as the then-unreleased "She Couldn't", also from the Hybrid Theory sessions). That being said, "Leave Out All the Rest" and "Valentine's Day" are also this.
- Switching P.O.V.: "Hands Held High" switches from the perspective of the average American in the first verse, to the perspective of an average Iraqi in the second verse. It shows how the war in Iraq destroys the life of both the American kids who fight, and the innocent Middle Eastern people who face the threat of bombings every day.
- Uncommon Time: "The Little Things Give You Away" is done in 3/4.
- Video Full of Film Clips: Since "Leave Out All the Rest" was done to promote Danny Boyle's Sunshine, the video features the band on the spacecraft of the film, though there are no clips featured explicitly from the film.
- Vocal Tag Team: Only "Bleed It Out" features this dynamic. Otherwise, Chester has all the lead vocals with Mike doing backing vocals. The only exceptions being "Hands Held High" and "In Between", where Mike has the whole song.
- Watching the Sunset: Invoked in "Shadow of the Day":The shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you
- We Have Become Complacent: The purpose of "What I've Done" is to warn against this and instead begin to embrace the fact that we all need to step up and make a difference.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: A variation. The album doesn't feature a lot of rapping, so when Mike does show up to rap, it feels like this is in effect.