Last week, Linkin Park promised they’d have something “unique” up their sleeves for their return to “Saturday Night Live,” and they weren’t kidding. During a pair of performances, they broke out video screens, skittering laser lights and even some old-fashioned black-and-white (a move that no doubt had some folks checking their sets).
And, if it seemed like LP were working extra hard to put on a spectacle, well, that’s because they were. After all, pretty much everything about their “SNL” performance — from the fact that it came nearly five months after the release of their A Thousand Suns album to the slow-burn success of one of the songs they tackled, current single “Waiting for the End” — was an apt metaphor for the past year of the band’s life. In short, Linkin Park were on a mission to prove the naysayers wrong.
“It took two years for us to make that record, and it took that whole process for us to really digest the new music, so we knew that it was going to take people time to really let it settle,” Chester Bennington told MTV News. “And ‘Waiting for the End’ is a perfect example of that … it’s taken it a while for it to elevate up the charts, and it went to #1 at the Alternative charts, and then kinda went back, and then went back to #1. … People are getting it now. And I think, especially for our fans in the States, it was important for it to marinate for a little while before we came back and started playing these shows.”
And it’s because of shows like “SNL” — and their ongoing U.S. arena tour — that Linkin Park are finally beginning to feel vindicated. A Thousand Suns may have confounded fans initially, but now, after months of repeated listenings, its long-playing charms are finally revealing themselves. In a lot of ways, you could say everything is unfolding exactly the way LP planned it.
“Another thing about this record is that, I feel like we wrote it as an album, and to us, we grew up listening to albums, and these days, people don’t make albums anymore,” Mike Shinoda said. “I know a lot of younger people don’t understand the difference — they don’t care, and that’s fine — I think one day they will discover the album, though, and I think for us, right now is a great time to make a case for it, because it’s so off people’s radar. And I don’t want to see the album go away, or become extinct, or become so unpopular that labels are afraid to do it. I felt like we had an opportunity as a band to step up and do something like this, that is clearly kind of against the grain and arguably detrimental to sales … and we’re OK with that.
“I think we’ve … maybe a switch went off in my head when Hybrid Theory went diamond [for certified sales of more than 10 million copies]. It’s like, ‘Nobody’s going to have a diamond record [again], so why try?’ ” he continued. “We want to be happy — of course, we want the band to be successful — but, you know, at the same time, we do want to push the envelope and do things that are creatively challenging.”
Has A Thousand Suns grown on you since its release? Let us know in the comments!