"When it came to doing things that felt very much like older Linkin Park, like mixing hip-hop with a rock chorus, [we] felt like, if we were going to do it, we need to really do it in a way that felt natural and felt original and felt like it was something we hadn't done in the past," LP's Chester Bennington told MTV News at Saturday's rehearsal for their VMA performance. "And I think the fact that we got into making really trippy-sounding music in the beginning of the record lent itself really well to the hip-hop style of the album, gave it a really, almost tribal-yet-psychedelic vibe to the beats and the textures of the music."
And Bennington is right. Because while there are hip-hop songs on the album — "Wretches and Kings," "When They Come for Me" — they're like nothing the band have tried before: snarling, raw, dark and (in stark contrast to much of Suns) strangely organic. They are sort of the human ying to the rest of the album's mechanical yang. Which was sort of the point.
"On this record, the concepts blend human ideas with technology," LP's Mike Shinoda said. "Human fears, your fear of what's going to happen in the world, the music kind of references that."
But, as Shinoda was quick to add, that's just scratching the surface. Because A Thousand Suns is a deeply conceptual piece, one that, like all dense, sprawling, ambitious albums, doesn't fully reveal itself to the listener at first. It requires work. Which was also sort of the point.
"The record was two years in the making, so, you know, talking about it, I kind of feel silly. I always feel like I'm missing something, like, I want to tell you something and I forget," Shinoda said, smiling. "But that's the beauty of making a record. And, hopefully, when people listen to it, if they hear it a few times, they'll start picking that stuff up. And on the 20th listen, the 50th listen, they'll still be finding cool things in there."
What do you think of the new Linkin Park album? Share your reviews in the comments.
The Moonmen have all been handed out and the stars have gone home, but there's plenty of MTV Video Music Awards news, interviews, behind-the-scenes scoop, party reports and more still to come, so keep it locked on MTVNews.com.