About a month ago, I decided to compare Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns album to Radiohead’s venerable Kid A, a move which earned me some new fans (Hi, Mike Shinoda!) and more than a few detractors too (Hi, Internet!).
But regardless of what you thought of my assessment, you have to admit it’s pretty apt, especially given the premiere of LP’s brand-new video for “Waiting for the End.”
Because “End” — which debuted Friday morning (October 8) on MTV.com — is a spiritual successor to Radiohead’s “House of Cards” clip , the much-ballyhooed thing that premiered two years ago and was most notable for the fact that it was made without a camera, instead relying on stuff like “Geometric Informatics” to create images of Thom Yorke looking very Thom Yorke-y. I’m pretty sure Linkin Park at least used a camera to make their video, but stylistically, “Cards” is definitely the touchstone.
Of course, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Because while “House of Cards” went to great lengths to be as icy and inhuman as possible, “Waiting for the End” positively teems with living energy. Sure, director (and LP DJ) Joe Hahn may distort his bandmates with all manner of tech detritus — stretching their skin, compacting their faces, covering their bodies in fractal grids — but unlike Yorke, they are not ghosts inside a machine. They are alive.
And that wasn’t just an aesthetic choice. After all, one of the central themes of A Thousand Suns is the uneasy coexistence between man and machine — where one begins, the other ends and the two intersect. “Waiting for the End” is mostly about that last idea — human beings becoming machines — and the struggle to keep living in spite of it. In a way, it’s the central dilemma of our times: How do we continue to be human in an increasingly information-driven age.
At least, that’s how I see it. You could also look at “End” as just another really cool video or a final farewell to LP’s past — it’s probably the least Linkin Park song and video they’ve ever released — but that’s probably selling the clip short. Like A Thousand Suns itself, “End” is the kind of thing that only gets better with repeated consumption and deeper diggings. The complexity is there if you’re willing to work for it. Then again, what do I know? After all, I’m the dude who compared them to Radiohead.
Share your reviews of the video in the comments!