My first purchase from the iTunes store was Linkin Park’s new album, Minutes to Midnight. First of all, more kudos to Apple — buying the album was brain-dead easy. Since my credit card number was already saved from my iPod purchase, I selected the album, clicked “Buy now”, it confirmed my password, and began downloading the songs, which were automatically saved in the right place and added to my iTunes library. The next time I sync’ed, the album was on my iPod. Couldn’t have been easier.
Anyway, the album is a little weird. Not Primus-weird, but just quite different from the first two Linkin Park albums. I’m not a big fan of rap or hip-hop music in general (though there are a few songs that I don’t mind; Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is flat-out a great song), nor the whole “electronica” genre. However, I do like the way Linkin Park “fused” their hard rock music with both rap and electronic music on their first two albums. The weird thing about this album is that the band couldn’t seem to decide what kind of music to make. There are a couple of Linkin Park-esque songs, but there are a couple of rock songs with no rap at all, a pop song or two (“Shadow of the Day” could be on any Matchbox Twenty album), a couple of much more mellow songs, and “Given Up” is arguably thrash metal, complete with “Cookie Monster vocals“. There was a lot more guitar and less keyboards on this album, which I’m certainly OK with, but it is quite a departure for Linkin Park. I’ll have to listen to it a few more times to be sure, but so far, I like the new sound.
The one thing I don’t like about buying online music is this: no liner notes! I love reading the liner notes of any album I buy, mainly for the band information, guest musicians, and stuff like that. There is almost no rapping on this album, and there were a couple of songs where the vocals sounded so drastically different from other Linkin Park songs, that I wondered if they had gotten a new “rapper”/vocalist, but because of the lack of liner notes, I had no idea. According to the band’s Wikipedia page, they simply went in a new direction, and the guy who does the rapping also sings on this album (for the first time), which is why I didn’t recognize the singing voice. If there is one thing I’d change about the iTunes store, it would be the ability to get liner notes for downloaded albums. Lyrics I’m not so concerned about because (a) I don’t often read them anymore, and (b) there are lyrics web sites all over the internet; I’m sure all the lyrics to this album are available online somewhere.