Toggle menu
Toggle personal menu
Not logged in
Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits.

A Thousand Suns

From Linkinpedia
A Thousand Suns
Studio album by Linkin Park
Recorded:June 2008 - August 2010
Released:September 8, 2010
Producer:Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Label:Warner Bros., Machine Shop
Linkin Park studio album chronology
Minutes To Midnight
A Thousand Suns
Living Things

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 his favorite Linkin Park album and the one he'd want to be remembered for.[1][2][3]


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.[4] 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.

Warner Bros. Records Chairman/CEO Tom Whalley left the label in September 2010, shortly after the album's release as well, being replaced by Rob Cavallo.[5] He said, "Hybrid Theory was already out when I got to Warner Bros. I inherited it and my job was to galvanize what I walked into. I was there for Meteora with [producer] Don Gilmore and the next two albums, which were produced by Rick Rubin. I was just encouraging them to continue to innovate and move their music forward, and to not get hooked on having to repeat the success -- that they should just be confident in exploring what their next record should be."[6]

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.

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.

While promoting Living Things, Mike said, "On 'A Thousand Suns' we really went out into the wilderness [and] did our best to do a record that's substantial. We were on a search for new tools, for new ways to write a song, new sounds. It's a concept record that we hoped people would listen to beginning to end. We knew it was going to be a challenge to the fans and it was a challenge for us to write. Considering where we could have ended up with it, I consider it a huge success. It sold [fewer] copies than our other records, but it wasn't necessarily about selling copies - it was more about taking people on a journey and expanding the possibilities of what the band could do."[7]

In July 2020 on a Twitch stream, Mike said, "The ATS sessions got stressful at the end because they we were trying to get the record wrapped up and we had committed to a deadline and then the deadline was starting to approach and then we realized, it was like, "Oh, we've got a real deadline." And that's really the only reason. We were just trying to keep ourselves on track to do like, do the things we said we were going to do and finish the record. It wasn't stressful the way Hybrid Theory was stressful or the way Minutes To Midnight was stressful. Hybrid Theory was stressful because the guy from the label was being horrible and trying to change everything. The Minutes To Midnight sessions were getting stressful because it felt like we were never going to put a record out, it was just like going around in circles over and over and making more demos and making more demos."[8]

On September 14, 2020, Mike listened to the album on his Twitch stream for its 10th anniversary and talked about the original concept of doing a videogame and how the concept of the album was born, "It’s funny because it's a little bit like the current climate. We were writing songs for... we thought we were going to be doing a video game. And then that fell through, it got to the point where things were getting designed and it all fell apart and it didn't work. We had all this music. The concept of the video game was not about apocalyptic things, it was more about... there was this patient who was stuck in a mental institution for some reason, and he was being unjustly kept there and punished. And they did things to his brain and he developed powers to control things. He could move things with his mind at one point but I think he could like, at one point, shoot electricity and fire and stuff like that. And the concept was still loose, it wasn't an awesome concept but it was getting there."

"Right now if you think of the state of America, it’s so fractured culturally. At the time of A Thousand Suns, we were coming out the George W. Bush presidency and troops were still in Iraq. The idea that, 'Oh, we’re just going to all blow each other up' was at the very top of the mind. So that influenced the lyrics a lot, that's why we used the Oppenheimer quote and the Savio quotes about the machine, the pieces of the machine, all of that stuff was ambitious... some people thought it was too ambitious, or thought we were in over our heads. That's fine, but we were making what we were really feeling at the time. So that’s the reason for the concept album kind of thing."[9]


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.

On a Twitch stream in September 2020, Mike mentioned a lot of bands and artists who influenced the sound of the album, "I was listening to a lot of Radiohead, everything from MGMT to Pink Floyd. I think there was some Nine Inch Nails and Tool in there. We a bunch of remixes with other people that were based on some of the things I was listening to at the time. But I wasn't listening to new Nine Inch Nails at the time - it was old Nine Inch Nails, like Broken and Fragile. The first four proper studio albums by Nine Inch Nails are my favorite ones. Also weird instrumental music, I was listening to like Gonjasufi and this group called Fuckbuttons. Those are super crazy, by the way... Flying Lotus too... some really out there stuff which I loved and I still love. Tarot Sport was the album; "Rough Steez", that was a track. So dope. Gang Gang Dance was another artist I was into that I was listening to a lot. Holy Fuck was another band. O+S, Caribou, Peter Bjorn and John, Naked & Famous. So I was listening to a lot of wild stuff and those influenced it. Those songs are awesome, some of them are super duper sick. Death Grips."[10]



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 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.[11]

The winner of the "Linkin Park Featuring You" contest, NoBraiN,[12] 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.[13][14]


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.

Sometime in 2012, HDTracks started selling Linkin Park albums in audiophile 48kHz/24bit format.[15] This new master was created by Justin Smith. On January 15th of the following year, the same master was used for a "Mastered For iTunes" edition of A Thousand Suns which 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".[16]

20th Anniversary

In November 2020 on Twitch, a fan told Mike, "A Thousand Suns deserves a 20th anniversary release." Mike said, "I agree with that. I endorse that. It would be weird if we did a Hybrid Theory 20 and then skipped ahead to A Thousand Suns 20. But that would be my priority, I would prioritize ATS 20 over Meteora 20 but then again, maybe we just do 20's for every album just every few years, a new 20. I feel like we'll run out of demos if we did that. Anniversary box set for every album."[17]

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

Main article: A Thousand Suns+

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, with 15 tracks and a total length of 47:51 minutes.
  • 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", debuted live after the touring cycle for that album had ended.

External Links

Music Videos

Lyric Videos

Live Videos





  1. Mike Shinoda answers 10 random questions - YouTube, August 11, 2018
  2. Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda: The 10 Albums That Changed My Life | Louder, October 23, 2016
  3. Mike Q&A Summary 6/8/2020 - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, June 08, 2020
  4. Longtime Linkin Park Manager Rob McDermott Leaving The Collective, December 2010
  5. Why Tom Whalley left Warner Bros. Records, September 14, 2010
  6. Ex Warner Bros. CEO Tom Whalley: Chester Bennington 'Wanted Linkin Park to Change People's Lives', July 24, 2017
  7. Billboard: Linkin Park Use New Marketing Techniques to Connect with Fans, June 15, 2012
  8. LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 7/7/2020, July 7, 2020
  9. YouTube: 9.14 // A Thousand Suns style track to celebrate ATS anniversary
  10. 9.14 // A Thousand Suns style track to celebrate ATS anniversary September 14, 2020
  11. CoS Giveaway: Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns Deluxe Fan Edition Box | Consequence of Sound, October 19, 2010
  12. [1]
  13. Linkin Park Gundam Collector’s Edition, Available Tomorrow « Mike Shinoda's Blog, November 23, 2010
  14. Linkin Park Rock Album to Bundle Gundam Plastic Model - News - Anime News Network, September 14, 2010
  15. Hybrid Theory | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads
  16. Linkin Park "Studio Collection" / Deluxe Editions - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, January 13, 2013
  17. Twitch: Mike Shinoda - 10.29 Choose Your Own Adventure, October 29, 2020
  18. Frank Maddocks on Instagram: “2010 Early design exploration for @linkinpark #athousandsuns album art. #linkinpark #albumcover #albumart #design #comp #exploration #sketch”, September 14, 2020
  19. Frank Maddocks on Instagram: “2010 Early design exploration for @linkinpark #athousandsuns album art. #linkinpark #albumcover #albumart #design #comp #exploration #sketch”, September 14, 2020
  20. Frank Maddocks on Instagram: “2010 Early design exploration for @linkinpark #athousandsuns album art. #linkinpark #albumcover #albumart #design #comp #exploration #sketch”, September 14, 2020