Minutes To Midnight

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Minutes To Midnight
Studio-Minutes To Midnight clean.jpg
Studio album by Linkin Park
Released May 14, 2007
Recorded 2005 - April 2007
Genre Alternative Rock
Length 43:26
Label Warner Bros., Machine Shop
Producer Rick Rubin, Mike Shinoda
Linkin Park studio album chronology

Meteora (2003) Minutes To Midnight (2007) A Thousand Suns (2010)

Minutes To Midnight is American rock band Linkin Park's third studio album, released on May 14, 2007, through Warner Bros. Records. It spawned five singles: "What I've Done", "Bleed It Out", "Shadow Of The Day", "Given Up", and "Leave Out All The Rest". The album sees the band's departure from their signature nu-metal sound, and is the first to feature the band's big experimentation with genres. The album debuted at #1 on the charts, making it the band's third consecutive #1 record.

Background

Minutes To Midnight is Linkin Park's first album since 2003's Meteora. Ideas for the band's third album began to sprout on tour for Meteora (2003-2004), while the band took two years to tour in support of the album. Instead of returning to the studio to record their next LP, the band took a lengthy break after Projekt Revolution 2004 as rigorous world touring had exhausted all six members. While they were on the break, the band got involved in a dispute with their label, Warner Brothers. Representativess of Linkin Park inquired about the band receiving a cut of the label's upcoming stock sale. The label refused, stating that none of the artists signed would be getting paid. The band, then, felt the label would not be able to financially market and promote the band's future endeavors.[1] Mike Shinoda felt the effects of this when working on his Fort Minor album, The Rising Tied. He stated on his blog "Warner Bros., however, wasn’t as thrilled about the record as we were. They weren’t committed to spending a healthy budget on it; they intended to limit the hours and funds spent on its release. We felt that limiting the attention put on the record would basically cut its legs out from beneath it, and it would never get a chance. There was a lot of disagreement between everyone about this topic, but it essentially became a stalemate."[2] Thus, they halted progress on their next studio album in protest. By September of 2005, Mike Shinoda was already looking at 2006 as the release window for the next Linkin Park album.[3] The issues with the label were resolved in December of 2005, and the band started work on their third album.[4]

The band played very few shows together during those years, and Mike Shinoda focused his efforts on his solo project, Fort Minor. Chester Bennington took the first steps towards his future side project, Dead By Sunrise, appearing with several artists as a special guest.

The album marks a departure from the band's earlier sound, following a more alternative rock sound instead of the nu-metal style of Hybrid Theory and Meteora. The songs featured more politically charged lyrics and many songs, like "In Pieces" and "The Little Things Give You Away" included guitar solos, a first for Linkin Park. Mike also did not rap as much as he did during the earlier albums, rapping on only two songs, "Bleed It Out" and "Hands Held High". Instead, he started singing, and took lead singing vocals on the song "In Between", which is another first for the band.

The name of the album is derived from the concept of the Doomsday clock. Chester explained in an interview with MTV, "The title is a reference to the Doomsday Clock, which was created by these scientists at the University of Chicago after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Japan to end World War II... Given the idea that mankind now had this ultimate destructive power, they were contemplating what the repercussions of this would be and the idea that the end of the world could be imminent." He continued, "After WWII, when the Soviet Union tested their first bomb, the Doomsday Clock was set. It basically has hands from the 45-minute mark until midnight… and at 45 past the hour, it means the world is relatively stable, but since we have this [nuclear] power, we’re always just 15 minutes away from the end of the world... Right now we’re at [five] minutes until midnight.”[5]

The album cover was done by Frank Maddocks, who said, "This album popped up in my phone at the gym today. I still love seeing this album cover. It was a really good experience in restraint in design and not overdoing it. The original photo is by @jamesminchin and we shot at the Salton Sea. I designed the logo on my laptop on the bands tour bus on the way to the shoot. Always fun working with these guys! Good times!"[6] The new "LP" icon / logo pressed on the CD was also designed by Maddocks.[7]

Writing and Recording

While Mike was on tour with Fort Minor, he routinely emailed song ideas back and forth to band members as Linkin Park slowly began work on the album. There have been several 2005-era demos released like "After Canada" and "Divided" on LP Underground albums. Starting as early as November 2005, the band met at a studio they referred to as the Korn Studio, lent to them by their friends in Korn while LP was trying to find a place to get together and run through song ideas collectively. "Valentine's Day", one of the first songs written for the album, was written at this studio, along with "Announcement Service Public". Brad briefly mentions the studio on the album DVD.

The album was mostly recorded at Rick Rubin's mansion at Laurel Canyon and was finished at the band's familiar "home" studio at NRG Recordings in Hollywood, CA. In the summer of 2006, the band embarked on a short tour in Japan to get out of the studio. Prior to the tour, they really wanted to debut a new song in Japan, so they were working on an unfinished demo "Grecian". At rehearsals, Phoenix brought in a brand new idea for a song, they worked some of it out, and Mike and Chester finished the lyrics on the plane only to perform it for the first time as band at the first show's soundcheck in Tokyo. Doing away with "Grecian", "QWERTY" was debuted live in Tokyo. While "QWERTY" did not make the album, it was released on the LP Underground 6.0 CD after Rick Rubin had the band change the structure of the track a bit when they returned home from Japan.

As well as veering away from the classic Linkin Park sound, the band approached the recording of the album in a different manner. Each member of the band worked on individual seeds at their home studios, rather than convening all at once in an specified area. Rick Rubin had the band record "what they wanted to record," instead of aiming at the sound they were expected to make. This brought together loads of seeds that were not fully developed for other members of the band to help expand upon. For example, the song "Grecian" was created by Phoenix in his home studio, by playing guitar to a click. When taken to the studio, Mike and Brad added additional guitar parts and Chester added scat vocals to it, developing the idea from multiple different perspectives. A large part of recording the vocal melodies were done in scat vocals, rather than writing lyrics to accompany the melodies beforehand.

The band recorded a majority of the initial seeds from their own home studios. Working on the seeds as a band took place at NRG Recordings in West Hollywood from January 2006 to mid-2006, after moving from the Korn Studio. The band then moved their gear to The Mansion in Laurel Canyon, sometimes referred to as the Houdini House. Rob Bourdon said the change of scenery helped the band's creative process: "Watching cars pass by helped the process... It made us feel like we were still part of society instead of being cramped in."

If you ask each of the guys you'll probably get a different bit of history on that house because it's a little bit sketchy as to whether it was Houdini's house for a while or whether it was his mistress's house. Or even prior to that I think it was like Bugsy Siegel owned it, etc. - Phoenix

It just has that kind of feeling like some bad stuff's gone down. None of us were comfortable spending the night in the little upstairs bedroom there. It had this room that was set up sometimes as a vocal room, and then there was like this little square door back in the back of the room and it opened up to like this, it was kind of odd, like it looked like a little , like you put the gimp in there, you know. - Chester

The band did not return to NRG until the end of the process. During the recording of two songs, "Patience" and "Ebow Idea", the band experimented with recording all the parts together as a band for the first time ever. Beforehand, Linkin Park had approached recording tracks by recording all parts separately (granted, they did end up recording the songs via multitracks). The band only approached songs in a live manner when they needed to perform the songs live, and never in the studio whilst recording an album.

"What I've Done" was the last song finished for the album and was written after the rest of the album was completed since it needed a "big single" to push it. Joe Hahn claimed it encompassed the meaning of the album: "Lyrically, it's about recognizing the faults of the past and trying to move on to the future, and that's what the album's about."

Linkin Park recorded an incredible amount of music for the album. With about one hundred to one hundred and fifty song ideas, around thirty song ideas came close to their final form. In the end, seventeen songs total for Minutes To Midnight were recorded and twelve made the album. Over the next few years, the band slowly released four of the five remaining songs to fans. "No Roads Left" was a bonus track on the iTunes version of Minutes To Midnight and was released immediately. "Across The Line" is a song that was shown in the Minutes To Midnight DVD in a very rough demo form and was called Japan at the time; the song was released on the LP Underground 9 CD in 2009. "Blackbirds" is what fans referred to unofficially as the "sixth string song" for years as Linkin Park recorded strings for six songs in the album sessions, but ended up releasing five. A clip of the very end of "Blackbirds" was shown on the album DVD, and it was finally released with the band's 8 Bit Rebellion game in April 2010. That November, "What We Don't Know" was released on the LP Underground X CD.

Unfortunately, the identity of the seventeenth song remains unknown. Two other songs, "Pretend To Be" and "Not Alone", were recorded in the same sessions and released in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The band said that both were "not finished" in 2007 and were worked on later. "Pretend To Be" on the LP Underground X album is listed as being from 2008 and "Not Alone" was described as a song that had its lyrics completely scrapped and rewritten following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. It is possible that the song was rewritten into a future song such as "Burning In The Skies", or it could be "The Last Line" from the MALL release as its demo title "Ammosick" was seen in the Minutes To Midnight DVD. We have not been able to confirm the identity for sure of what the seventeenth song is.

Some of the other thirty song ideas have been released on LP Underground CDs and have been reworked into other songs. "Homecoming" on the LP Underground 12 CD is a good example of one of these other ideas and is a full-fledged instrumental song. Others, like "Debris", from the same LPU CD, made it into the next album's recording sessions.

Composition

Minutes To Midnight saw Linkin Park's departure from their signature nu-metal sound. The album is geared more towards alternative rock, but has elements of alternative metal, classic rock, punk, and hip-hop. In an interview with CNA, Chester Bennington talked about producer Rick Rubin's contribution to the album's sound: "Rick has brought more of a stripped down, classic-rock and hip-hop kind of feel." In an interview with MTV, Bennington himself claimed, "We’re straying away from a lot of the predictable sounds we’ve had in the past, but there’s no question in your mind when you hear it that it’s Linkin Park."[8]

On previous efforts, Mike Shinoda had only rapped on studio albums. Minutes To Midnight features Shinoda tackling vocals, both lead and background. He sings backing vocals on "Given Up", "What I've Done", "No More Sorrow", "Valentine's Day", and "The Little Things Give You Away". "In Between" and bonus track "No Roads Left" feature Shinoda's first solo lead vocals since 1998's "So Far Away", found on the LPUnderground 12 CD. His hip-hop past is still prevalent throughout the album, notably on tracks like "Bleed It Out" and "Hands Held High".

Releases

  • Album Version
  • Tour Edition
  • Live Around The World
  • iTunes Remaster
  • iTunes Edition
  • iTunes Bonus DVD Edition
  • Special Edition Bonus DVD
  • Japanese Bonus Edition
  • Japanese Tour Edition
  • Wal-Mart Edition
  • Best Buy Edition
  • Circuit City Edition
  • Asian Tour Edition
  • European Tour Edition

Digital

  • Minutes To Midnight // {-14tr- + Faint live, WID live, cat. 093624995708}
  • Minutes To Midnight (Deluxe Version) [Clean] // {+ NRL, ATL, cat. 093624948957}
  • Minutes To Midnight (Deluxe Version) // {+ NRL, ATL, cat. 093624948971}
  • Minutes To Midnight // {-13tr- + About MTM audio commentary, cat. 093624996118}
  • Minutes To Midnight (Deluxe Version) [Clean] // {-13tr- + WID live, Digital Booklet}
  • Minutes To Midnight (Deluxe Version) [Explicit] // {-13tr- + WID live, Digital Booklet}
  • Minutes To Midnight // {-12tr- + MTM audio commentary, Behind The Scenes (Video), What I've Done (Video), Digital Booklet, cat. 0075993999907}
  • Minutes To Midnight (Bonus Video Version) // {+ Behind The Scenes (Video), What I've Done (Video)} [A]
  • Minutes To Midnight (Japanese Version) // {-14tr- + NRL, WID live itunes exclusive, WID video, cat. 093624994329} [J]
  • Minutes To Midnight [Clean] // {cat. 093624998310}
  • Minutes To Midnight [Explicit] // {cat. 093624447764}

Track Listing

Standard Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 Wake Linkin Park 1:41
2 Given Up 3:09
3 Leave Out All The Rest 3:29
4 Bleed It Out 2:44
5 Shadow Of The Day 4:50
6 What I've Done 3:26
7 Hands Held High 3:53
8 No More Sorrow 3:42
9 Valentine's Day 3:17
10 In Between 3:17
11 In Pieces 3:38
12 The Little Things Give You Away 6:24

Tour Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 No Roads Left Linkin Park 3:49
14 What I've Done (Distorted Remix) 3:17
15 Given Up (Third Encore Session) 3:09

Live Around The World

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 Wake (Live from Taipei, 2007) Linkin Park 1:48
2 Given Up (Live from Taipei, 2009) 3:18
3 Leave Out All The Rest (Live from Frankfurt, 2008) 3:22
4 Bleed It Out (Live from Melbourne, 2010) 5:33
5 Shadow Of The Day (Live from Melbourne, 2010) 4:32
6 What I've Done (Live from New York, 2008) 4:58
7 Hands Held High (Live from Osaka, JP) 3:59
8 No More Sorrow (Live from Taipei, 2009) 4:57
9 Valentine's Day (Live from Amnéville, 2008) 3:21
10 In Between (Live from Paris, 2008) 3:18
11 In Pieces (Live from Köln, 2008) 3:42
12 The Little Things Give You Away (Live from Shanghai, 2007) 7:42

Mastered For iTunes Deluxe Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 No Roads Left Linkin Park 3:49
14 Across The Line 3:12

iTunes Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Faint (Live) Linkin Park 2:44
14 What I've Done (Live) 3:24
15 No Roads Left (Pre-Order only; originally Track 14) 3:52

iTunes Bonus DVD Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Behind The Scenes Featurette Linkin Park 3:47
14 What I've Done (Music Video) 3:27

Special Edition Bonus DVD

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 The Making Of Minutes To Midnight Linkin Park 39:42
14 "What I've Done" (Music Video) 3:28
15 Making Of The "What I've Done" Music Video 20:49
16 Advanced Resolution PCM Stereo of Tracks 1 - 12

Japanese Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Faint (Live) Linkin Park 2:46

Japanese Tour Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Faint (Live) Linkin Park 2:44
14 No Roads Left 3:49
15 What I've Done (Distorted Remix) 3:17
17 Given Up (Third Encore Session) 3:09

Wal-Mart Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Breaking The Habit (Live) Linkin Park 4:25
14 What I've Done (Live) 3:24

Best Buy Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 What I've Done (Live) Linkin Park 3:29
14 No More Sorrow (Live) 3:45
15 Given Up (Live) 3:12

Circuit City Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
13 Faint (Live) Linkin Park 2:44
14 What I've Done (Live) 3:25

Asian Tour Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer (Live) Linkin Park 3:44
2 Lying From You (Live) 2:56
3 Somewhere I Belong (Live) 4:31
4 No More Sorrow (Live) 3:55
5 Papercut (Live) 3:49

European Tour Edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 What I've Done (Live) Linkin Park 7:27
2 One Step Closer (Live) 4:10
3 Faint (Live) 4:07

Personnel

Linkin Park

  • Chester Bennington: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar on "Shadow Of The Day" and "No Roads Left"
  • Mike Shinoda: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano, Production, String Arrangements on "Leave Out All The Rest", "Shadow Of The Day", "Hands Held High", "The Little Things Give You Away", and "No Roads Left"
  • Brad Delson: Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, String Arrangements on "Leave Out All The Rest", "Shadow Of The Day", "Hands Held High", "The Little Things Give You Away", and "No Roads Left"
  • Dave "Phoenix" Farrell: Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
  • Joseph Hahn: Turntables, Sampling, Programming, Backing Vocals
  • Rob Bourdon: Drums, Backing Vocals

Production

  • Produced by Rick Rubin and Mike Shinoda
  • Engineers: Dana Neilsen, Andrew Schelps, and Ethan Mates
  • Engineer Assisting: Phillip Broussard, Jr.
  • Mixing: Neal Avron
  • Mixing Assisting: Nicolas Fournier and George Gumbs
  • Mastering: Dave Collins

Orchestra

All performers appear on "Leave Out All The Rest", "Shadow Of The Day", "Hands Held High", "The Little Things Give You Away", and "No Roads Left".

  • Arrangements: David Campbell, Mike Shinoda, and Brad Delson
  • Conducting: David Campbell
  • Violin: Charlie Bisharat, Mario DeLeon, Armen Garabedian, Julian Hallmark, Gerry Hilera, Songa Lee-Kitto, Natalie Leggett, Josefina Vergara, and Sara Parkins
  • Viola: Matt Funes and Andrew Picken
  • Cello: Larry Corbett and Suzie Katayama
  • Bass: Oscar Hidalgo

Artwork

  • Creative Direction: Frank Maddocks, Ellen Wakayama, Mike Shinoda, and Joe Hahn
  • Art Direction: Frank Maddocks, Nikos Constant
  • Design: Frank Maddocks
  • Artwork: Ekundayo, Phil Hale, Usugrow
  • Photography: James Minchin III, Frank Maddocks
  • Studio Photography: Joe Hahn

Management

  • Worldwide Representation: Rob McDermott for Mad Mac Entertainment
  • Management Team: Ryan DeMarti and Trish Evangelista
  • Booking Agent: Michael Arfin for Artist Group International
  • Legal: Danny Hayes for Davis, Shapiro, Lewit, and Hayes
  • Business Managers: Jonathon Schwartz and Michael Oppenheim for Gudvi, Sussman, and Oppenheim
  • Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising: BandMerch

Live Performance

Songs Played Live

  • Wake
  • Given Up
  • Leave Out All The Rest
  • Bleed It Out
  • Shadow Of The Day
  • What I've Done
  • Hands Held High
  • No More Sorrow
  • Valentine's Day
  • In Between
  • In Pieces
  • The Little Things Give You Away

"No Roads Left" was rehearsed for the Minutes To Midnight European Tour 2008 (Part 2), but ultimately not played. For two shows on the band's A Thousand Suns Asian Tour, it was partially performed over the extended bridge of "Bleed It Out". "Hands Held High" was often performed a cappella style over the extended "Krwlng" Intro for "Crawling" in 2008 and 2009. On the International Tour in 2009, Mike rapped the first verse by itself before rapping the second verse over the "Crawling" intro. In 2014, Mike rapped the first verse of the song over his Solo Medley twice. "The Little Things Give You Away" was performed acoustically at the LPU Summit in 2010.12.15 Homebush, NSW. Throughout 2012 and onwards, "Leave Out All The Rest" and "Shadow Of The Day" were featured in the Ballad Medley.

Tours

  • Minutes To Midnight Promo Tour
  • Minutes To Midnight European Tour 2007
  • Projekt Revolution 2007
  • Australian and New Zealand Tour 2007
  • Minutes To Midnight Asian Tour
  • Minutes To Midnight European Tour 2008
  • Minutes To Midnight North American Tour
  • Minutes To Midnight European Tour 2008 (Part 2)
  • Projekt Revolution 2008
  • Music For Relief Asian Benefit Tour (Cancelled)
  • International Tour

Promotion

Reception

Critical Reception

Minutes To Midnight released to mixed critical reviews. Review aggregation site Metacritic shows the album as having received a 56, indicating "mixed to average reviews". Rolling Stone gave the album a strong review, claiming that Linkin Park has transcended the nu-metal scene they started in and have become "more of something else — topical — and furiously good at it."[9] Mikael Wood from Spin also gave the album a positive review, discussing Linkin Park's move away from the "arena-emo hooks" and an attempt to garner "the sort of respect showered on brainy indie faves like Arcade Fire."[10]

In a more mixed review of the album, James Minchin of Entertainment Weekly claims the album borrows too heavily from its influences, citing "Shadow Of The Day" as Linkin Park's "With Or Without You" and pointing out the similarities between the piano intro of "What I've Done" and the iconic theme from the horror film Halloween. Minchin also criticizes Bennington's singing on many of the slower tracks, claiming that, while Shinoda is off the track, "Bennington is forced all the more to be his own egocentric, emo-centric foil." He does, though, praise "Bleed It Out" as one of the most exciting things to ever come from the band.[11] Minutes To Midnight also got a more mixed reception from The New York Times, where they claimed the band abandoned rap-rock and nu-metal for emo, and that this transition "doesn’t always go smoothly." They criticize "Valentine's Day" for its "hilarious chorus" and deem Shinoda as little more than "Eminem Lite" on the hip-hop driven "Hands Held High". He is later praised, though, for his performance on "In Between", where he does a "more-than-passable impression of a lovelorn emo singer.[12]

New Musical Express harshly panned the album, calling it "the sound of a band trying and failing to forge a new identity – boy-band balladry, U2-style stadium rock and Metallica-esque melodic crunch are all attempted with predictably patchy results." In particular, "Hands Held High" is pointed out as the album's worst song, claiming it is the "funniest thing you'll hear all year".

Chart Performance

The album debuted at #1 on the The Billboard 200, selling over 623,000 copies within its first week.[13] It was the 7th top selling album of 2007.[14]

Awards

Gallery

Trivia

  • "The Little Things Give You Away" is the second longest track in Linkin Park's discography. The honor of longest goes to "A Line In The Sand" from The Hunting Party.
  • Minutes To Midnight is the first studio album by Linkin Park to have explicit language.
  • Minutes To Midnight marks the first time guitar solos have ever appeared on a Linkin Park album with "Shadow Of The Day", "What I've Done", "In Pieces", and "The Little Things Give You Away" all featuring solos.
  • For the first time on one of Linkin Park's studio albums, Mike Shinoda took lead singing vocals on the song "In Between". Additionally, this album also features the least amount of rapping from Mike of any Linkin Park studio album with only two tracks including it: "Bleed It Out" and "Hands Held High".
  • This album marks the first time Linkin Park did not choose Don Gilmore to produce one of their studio albums. Instead, Rick Rubin produced the album. It also marks the first time Mike Shinoda received a producer credit.

External Links

Music Videos

Live Videos

  • Bleed It Out (Live Earth 2007): LPTV
  • Bleed It Out (Live in Milton Keynes): LPTV | WMG
  • Given Up (Live in Milton Keynes): LPTV
  • Leave Out All The Rest (Live in Milton Keynes): LPTV | WBR | WMG
  • What I've Done (Red Square 2011): LPTV

References

  1. Billboard, May 2005
  2. Mike Shinoda, January 2009
  3. Mike Shinoda Clan, September 2005
  4. New York Times, December 2005
  5. MTV, March 2007
  6. Frank Maddocks on Instagram, May 07, 2015
  7. Frank Maddocks on Instagram: "New @linkinpark "hex" logo evolved from my original icon / logo design for #minutestomidnight album in 2007. #heavy #albumart...", February 15, 2017
  8. MTV, September 2006
  9. Rolling Stone, May 2007
  10. Spin, June 2007
  11. Entertainment Weekly, May 2007
  12. The New York Times, May 2007
  13. Billboard, May 2007
  14. InfoPlease, January 2008