Minutes to Midnight is the third studio album by American rock band Linkin Park, released on May 14, 2007, through Warner Bros. Records. The album was produced by Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin. Minutes to Midnight was the band's follow-up album to Meteora (2003) and features a shift in the group's musical direction. For the band, the album marks a beginning of deviation from their signature nu metal sound. Minutes to Midnight takes its title from the Doomsday Clock.
Linkin Park started work on their third studio album in 2003, taking a break to tour in support of Meteora in 2004. In this time period, the band formed numerous side projects; Mike Shinoda formed his hip hop side project Fort Minor, while Chester Bennington formed Dead by Sunrise, causing the album to be shelved temporarily. The band returned to work on the record afterward, taking on a different musical direction than the 2003 sessions while working with producer Rick Rubin. The album's completion was delayed several times for unknown reasons. Eventually, "What I've Done" was chosen as the album's lead single in April 2007, with the album seeing release in North America on May 15, 2007.
The album debuted at number one in the US Billboard 200 and in 15 other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States, the album had the biggest first week sales of 2007 at the time, with 623,000 albums sold, going on to be certified fourfold platinum in the United States. It was also certified double platinum in New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, and Australia and certified platinum in Canada, France, Switzerland and in the UK. Despite its commercial success, Minutes to Midnight received mixed reviews from critics. Rolling Stone magazine named it the twenty-fifth best album of 2007. It has sold more than four million copies in the US and 20 million copies worldwide. It was ranked number 154 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums of the Decade.