The songs on A Thousand Suns aren't the blistering three-minute or less nu metal tracks of their previous work or the "grown up" rock tracks of Minutes to Midnight. This is like Linkin Park goes progressive. The diversity of the tracks is incredible. And like progressive music, as opposed to pop music, this album has ridiculous re-playability. There's just so much going on and so much of a meshing of styles, sounds, and moods that it invites the listener to embark on a journey.
There are a few pop rock tracks like "Burning in the Skies," "Iridescent", and the exceptional "Robot Boy." These songs sound recognizably like Linkin Park doing their version of mainstream rock. We've heard this sound before, but we've never heard anything like "When They Come For Me," "Blackout," or "Wretches and Kings."
Instead of the rock-focused tracks of previous albums, "When They Come For Me" is nearly uncategorizable. I guess it's a hip hop track with an Indian or Middle Eastern-influenced sound, a bouncy beat, and some of Mike Shinoda's best rapping. Shinoda's rhymes are sharper than ever and he comes off like a true emcee as his verses have more bite. He must have benefited from his Fort Minor side project and working with Jay-Z. It's a shame that most of the rock music-loving Linkin Park fan base won't appreciate this track and will dismiss it as a rap track. It's got an expansive sound and couldn't sound more unique. "When They Come From Me" blew me away on my first listen.
"Wretches and Kings" is another genre bender. It's an industrial rock-meets-hip hop, psuedo dance track with booming bass and a screaming chorus from Bennington. The "Ay, Ay, Ay" vocals in the background are reminiscent of a Dirty South club banger. And the band's resident DJ, Hahn, gets the spotlight for a bit as the track ends with some of his great scratching. "Wretches and Kings" is one of the album's best tracks, in my opinion.