A Thousand Suns

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A Thousand Suns
Studio-A Thousand Suns Cover clean.jpg
Studio album by Linkin Park
Released September 8, 2010
Recorded June 2008 - August 2010
Length 47:51
Label Warner Bros., Machine Shop
Producer Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Linkin Park studio album chronology

Minutes To Midnight (2007) A Thousand Suns (2010) Living Things (2012)

A Thousand Suns is American rock band Linkin Park's fourth studio album, released on September 8, 2010 through Warner Bros. Records. Four singles were released from the record: "The Catalyst", "Waiting For The End", "Burning In The Skies", and "Iridescent". The album sees the band continue the experimentation that began with Minutes To Midnight, and is the band's first concept album. The album debuted at #1 on the charts, making it the band's fourth consecutive #1 record. Mike Shinoda says A Thousand Suns is one of his favorite Linkin Park albums and the one he'd want to be remembered for.[1][2]


A Thousand Suns is Linkin Park's fourth album. It is a concept album regarding human fears, namely nuclear warfare. While there is no clear narrative expressed within the album, all of the themes can be attributed to the overarching idea of the album. The band abandoned almost all of their nu-metal roots with this record, focusing heavily on noise, synths, and electronics. After Linkin Park ended their Minutes To Midnight tour in 2008, Chester took a break from working on Linkin Park and instead, focused his attention on his side project, Dead By Sunrise. which toured throughout 2009 and early 2010, releasing their debut album Out Of Ashes in October 2009. In mid-2009, the band recorded the song "New Divide" for Transfomers: Revenge Of The Fallen, and subsequently toured for it in the summer of 2009, where Dead By Sunrise often played during the first encore slot of Linkin Park's setlists.

The name of the album is derived from the lyrics from the lead single, "The Catalyst": "God save us everyone / Where we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns." The lyrics are a reference to the nuclear bombing of Japan in 1945, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where survivors of the tragedy recalled the flash of the explosion to be "as bright as a thousand suns."

Upon its release, as the band predicted and knew already, the album sharply divided their fanbase and drew both a lot of hate and a lot of love. However, years after its release, A Thousand Suns is regarded as one of Linkin Park's best efforts by its core fanbase and is widely praised.

Shortly after the release of A Thousand Suns, Rob McDermott, the band's manager, left The Collective to ressurect his own management group, Mad Mac Entertainment.[3] McDermott was the band's first manager, being hired after Linkin Park signed to Warner. He was last credited on Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes.

Writing and Recording

After Minutes To Midnight was released in May 2007, Linkin Park embarked on a lengthy world tour for the album. However, they began writing as soon as 2008 for the followup album. When they were touring in Europe in June 2008, the band set up shop at Sono Records Studio in Nouzov, Czech Republic and Tritonus Berlin, Germany. Between shows, Mike and sometimes other members of the band would visit the studios to work on new music. While they were based out of Berlin and flying to each show, Mike did visit the Sono Studio in Nouzov at least once and Rolling Stone (as well as other magazines) in the Czech Republic covered it well.

Rough translation of a news article from June 2008: "Even within the current European tour, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park is working on new stuff. It is not clear whether it was material for his new album of his band (for which the reports Rolling Stone magazine actually works), or a possible solo album, but in any case you carry a hard disk with unfinished tracks and uses the services of various studies . On the day he stopped just as the Czech Sonu."

Many of these early A Thousand Suns demos are showcased specifically on the LP Underground XIV album. As we can tell, the original sound of the album was going to be pretty heavy, as evidenced by "Malathion+Tritonus" and "Blanka". Both songs have a semi-Metallica vibe to them and incorporate heavy guitars.

Linkin Park began serious band meetings for A Thousand Suns in November of 2008. By that period, Chester had already publicly claimed that the album would be a concept album. After meeting with multiple producers, the band returned to Minutes To Midnight producer Rick Rubin to accompany them with A Thousand Suns. The band adopted a new process when recording albums beginning with this album: rather than recording an album, touring, then writing another album, they were always writing. Therefore, when they had a collection of songs that they deemed were worthy of an album, they would release the album. With this album, the band worked in a unique way, comparing their processes historically with previous efforts. Every member of the band was present throughout the recording process. Primary production and recording of the album occurred at NRG Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Throughout 2009, the band worked all year on demos. "Aubrey One", "Berlin One, Version C", and "Froctagon" are examples of what was being molded that year. Still, the album had a heavy sound to it at this time. Throughout the recording process for A Thousand Suns, Linkin Park and its members under took several other projects. Chester toured and recorded with Dead By Sunrise in 2009 through early 2010, yet Chester was present in band meetings whenever possible. The band recorded and briefly toured for "New Divide" in mid-2009 for Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen.

Sometime in the middle-to-late part of 2009, the demos began to change form. A post on Mike's blog on October 17, 2009 reads, "It’s been a busy week. Studio every day, working on new stuff. This week, I did a song where the music sounds like Santogold (or Santigold, if you like) meets Postal Service meets At The Drive In or something. Very weird…but even weirder, the vocals are crazy–I asked our engineers what they thought it sounded like, and the responses I got were things like “Peter Gabriel” and “Huey Lewis, in a really good way.” Four-part harmonies that ebb and flow with the track. I feel like I’m on drugs when I’m listening to it. It’s tentatively called “Chicken Basket.”"

On March 31, 2010, Mike and Chester crashed an LPU chat that Mark Fiore (the band's videographer) was giving. Mike went on to give a few demo names, one of which was "Dingleberry", the demo name for "When They Come For Me", so we know the album was beginning to take shape at this time. It is unknown why the band shifted from the rock-oriented sound to the electronic-sound, but they collectively decided a new direction was the way to go.

Linkin Park experimented with new sonic approaches to the album. The band heavily utilized gang vocals throughout the album, in songs including "Iridescent" and "The Catalyst". In "When They Come For Me", the band explored tribal drums, megaphones, and Brad even spoke in Spanish for the track. Waiting For The End is led by synths and has a strong Fort Minor and reggae-rock influence. "The Messenger" was recorded through a sort of jam process, where Chester, Brad, and Mike were in three different rooms performing their parts altogether. The band even played with song structure, notably in "The Catalyst". The band sampled speeches from Robert J. Oppenheimer, Mario Savio, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in "The Radiance", "Wretches And Kings", and "Wisdom, Justice, And Love" respectively. The end result was a concept album from start-to-finish that told the story of the world's destruction and was heavily advertised as being a piece of music that fans should listen to from beginning-to-end. Mike described the album as Linkin Park's "Kid A", a reference to the popular concept album by Radiohead.

Two months from the deadline, the band started facing huge stress when it came to outside issues with the album. Album art, graphics, and the first single still all needed to be determined (the two being considered were "Iridescent" and "Meadowlands". Songs had to be mixed for video games, and the record had to be finished quickly. If they did not meet the deadlines, there would be implications with their record deal. There was a lot of pressure nearing the end of the process and the band had to rush in order to finish everything for the album. Much of this is shown in the Making of A Thousand Suns DVD with the album.




A Thousand Suns was released in both CD and vinyl formats. A CD+DVD special edition was also issued featuring a black cover and a making of documentary title Meeting Of A Thousand Suns.

A Deluxe Fan Edition Box Set was available exclusively on linkinpark.com/athousandsuns containing a custom hinged box, two 12" vinyl records, a CD digipak of the album, a DVD digipack of the documentary Meeting of A Thousand Suns, a hardcover art book and a high quality MP3 version of the album.[4]

The winner of the "Linkin Park Featuring You" contest, NoBraiN,[5] had his remix of "The Catalyst" included in the BestBuy (United States), HMV (United Kingdom) and Saturn (Germany) editions of the album as a downloadable track. It was available in both MP3 and WAV formats.

The Japanese edition of the album features a live version of "New Divide" recorded in Greece ("The Catalyst" single b-side). To promote the Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. arcade game, which uses "The Catalyst" as its theme song, a limited-edition Gundam model kit bundled with A Thousand Suns was also released in the country.[6][7]


All iTunes editions of A Thousand Suns include "Blackbirds" (from 8-Bit Rebellion!) as bonus track. Initial releases also included a track titled "A Thousand Suns: The Full Experience" which was nothing but the entire album in one single file. The initial iTunes deluxe edition featured a digital interactive booklet labeled "iTunes LP" with lyrics, pictures, "The Catalyst" music video, a puzzle, album credits, and the Meeting Of A Thousand Suns documentary.

Digital releases of the clean version of A Thousand Suns come with an explicit version of "Wretches And Kings" instead of the censored version found on physical releases.

On January 15, 2013, a "Mastered For iTunes" edition of A Thousand Suns was released both as part of the Studio Collection 2000–2012 compilation and as a stand alone release. The new deluxe edition includes not only "Blackbirds" and the music video of "The Catalyst" but also the music video for "Waiting For The End".[8]

Track Listing

Standard Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 The Requiem Linkin Park 2:01
2 The Radiance 0:57
3 Burning In The Skies 4:13
4 Empty Spaces 0:18
5 When They Come For Me 4:55
6 Robot Boy 4:28
7 Jornada Del Muerto 1:34
8 Waiting For The End 3:51
9 Blackout 4:39
10 Wretches And Kings 4:15
11 Wisdom, Justice, And Love 1:38
12 Iridescent 4:56
13 Fallout 1:23
14 The Catalyst 5:39
15 The Messenger 3:01

Japanese Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
16 New Divide (Live) Linkin Park 4:50

iTunes Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
16 A Thousand Suns: The Full Experience Linkin Park 47:56
17 Blackbirds (Non-Album Track From The 8-Bit Rebellion! App) Linkin Park 3:21

HMV Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
16 The Catalyst, featuring NoBraiN Linkin Park 4:22

A Thousand Suns+ Bonus DVD: Live In Madrid

Includes MP3 of the show.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 The Requiem Linkin Park 1:37
2 Wretches And Kings 4:25
3 Papercut 3:18
4 New Divide 4:30
5 Faint 4:08
6 Empty Spaces/When They Come For Me 5:31
7 Waiting For The End 3:52
8 Iridescent 5:01
9 Numb 3:10
10 The Radiance 1:49
11 Breaking The Habit 3:59
12 Shadow Of The Day 5:14
13 Fallout 1:25
14 The Catalyst 6:10
15 The Messenger 3:40
16 In The End 3:28
17 What I've Done 3:32
18 Bleed It Out/A Place For My Head 5:05

iTunes Remaster Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
16 Blackbirds Linkin Park 3:21
17 The Catalyst (Music Video) 4:43
18 Waiting For The End (Music Video) 3:54

A Thousand Suns - Live Around The World

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 The Requiem (Live From London, 2010) Linkin Park 2:30
2 Burning In The Skies (Live From Hamburg, 2011) 4:12
3 When They Come For Me (Live From Paris, 2010) 5:06
4 Jornada Del Muerto (Live From Hamburg, 2011) 1:50
5 Waiting For The End (Live From Berlin, 2010) 3:56
6 Blackout (Live From Hamburg, 2011) 4:34
7 Wretches And Kings (Live From Las Vegas, 2011) 3:54
8 Iridescent (Live From Paris, 2010) 4:58
9 The Catalyst (Live From Paris, 2010) 5:54
10 The Messenger (Live From Las Vegas, 2011) 3:53


Live Performances

Songs Played Live

  • The Requiem
  • The Radiance
  • Burning In The Skies
  • Empty Spaces
  • When They Come For Me
  • Robot Boy
  • Jornada Del Muerto
  • Waiting For The End
  • Blackout
  • Wretches and Kings
  • Wisdom, Justice, and Love
  • Iridescent
  • Fallout
  • The Catalyst
  • The Messenger


  • A Thousand Suns Promotional Shows
  • A Thousand Suns South American Tour
  • A Thousand Suns European Tour 2010
  • A Thousand Suns Middle Eastern Tour
  • A Thousand Suns Australian Tour
  • A Thousand Suns North American Tour
  • A Thousand Suns European Tour 2011
  • A Thousand Suns Asian Tour



Chart Performance




  • A Thousand Suns is the first concept album to be released by Linkin Park.
  • A Thousand Suns is Linkin Park's longest studio album to date.
  • Despite the final release featuring a primarily electronic sound, many of the early demos for A Thousand Suns had a very heavy, guitar-driven atmosphere to them.
  • A Thousand Suns is the first album to have had a track, "Robot Boy", played live after the touring cycle for that album had ended.

External Links

Music Videos

Lyric Videos

Live Videos