In November 2008, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington gave an interview to MTV News that he probably regrets. In it, he talked about the band's follow-up to Minutes to Midnight and, at several points, referred to the still-gestating effort as "a concept record" (a "delicious" one, to be precise).
As is usually the case with statements like that, the whole "concept record" tag stuck with the band throughout the entire recording process of what would become A Thousand Suns, and though Bennington never entirely backed away from the statement, you could tell that he was trying very hard to distance himself from it.
Now, nearly two years after the fact, we know why. Because while A Thousand Suns is a lot of things, it's certainly not a "concept record." Far from it. In fact, if anything, it's a "multi-concept record."
"People asked us if it's a concept record, and in the middle of the process, we were contemplating whether or not that was what we wanted to do," LP's Mike Shinoda told MTV News at their VMA rehearsal on Saturday. "And I think, as we finished it, it became clear that, usually the problem with concept records is, like, [the] term usually refers to things like [the Who's] Tommy or ... rock operas and stuff like than that has a narrative. And this doesn't have a narrative; it's more abstract that that.
"So if those albums are more of an Andy Warhol, this is more of a Jackson Pollock," he continued. "You can kind of look at it, and all the stuff's in there; you pull out whatever it means to you."
So now that we're clear that A Thousand Suns isn't a concept record, we couldn't help but wonder: What concept was Bennington mulling over in his head when he sat down with MTV News back in November '08? Let's just say it involved a boy and a bike — and that it's probably better he abandoned the idea completely.
"I tried to write 30 songs about a kid with a red bike and make it the most moving thing that ever happened in music, and it wasn't good at all," he said. "So we kind of dumped the kid-and-the-red-bike concept really early on."
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