Lately, my ears have been in listening heaven. Drake and Eminem both dropped new albums and I have more to look forward to from Lil WayneKanye West, and Nicki Minaj. But as awesome as these artists may be, none have had me more excited than my favorite band's -- Linkin Park -- newest album, A Thousand Suns. Their hybrid theory has grown up. While their music certainly still retains elements of their nu-metal roots, the subject matter is definitely more mature with political undertones and less woe-is-me teen angst. Granted, I was probably one of the few people on the planet who liked Minutes to Midnight, but, frankly, I'm glad the band decided to change and experiment with their sound. Songs like "In the End" may have made them famous and still sound great, but things would get boring fast if they kept on doing the same old formulaic music. ATS is MTM to the tenth power. The sounds are even more diversified -- Mike Shinoda even tries to channel his inner Sean Paul on this song -- yet at the same time brings back more of Mike's raps and Mr. Hahn's turntable wizardry. To their credit, I like ATS better than MTM because there's more fusion of the old and the new, which, to me, makes the songs that much better. The band's new evolution is best captured in the first verse of "When They Come for Me" (link below), where Mike raps:

I am not a fortunate of fame
On the same verse I'm telling you to forfeit the game
I come in the ring like a dog on a chain
And I find out the underbelly is sicker than it seems
And it seems ugly, but it can get worse
'Cause even the blueprint is a gift and a curse
'Cause once you have the theory of how the the thing works
Everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first
And I'm not a robot
I'm not a monkey
I will not dance even if the beat's funky
Opposite of lazy, far from a punk
Y'all oughta stop talkin, start tryin' to catch up motherfucker
I'll always love all of LP's work, but I think I  like the "new" them even better because they're more mature and growing artistically. I've listened to the new album practically non-stop since it came out last Tuesday and really love it. Here are some of the standout tracks. Links are to YouTube:

Download it (legally, please). Buy it on CD. Just listen to it, dammit! It rocks.