Review : Linkin Park - Living Things
SputnikmusicThe problem with Linkin Park in 2012 is quite simple. For all the fanfare that they were showered with early in their career, they have time and again proven themselves to be a one-trick pony. When nu-metal and rap-rock went the way of the dinosaur in the mid-2000’s, Bennington and company found themselves tangled in an identity crisis called Minutes to Midnight, which contained several half-hearted ballads, a few odes to U2, and even a laughable attempt at political commentary. In the end (ha), there was only a small trace of actual Linkin Park to speak of. A Thousand Suns was then the equivalent of the band taking a Green Day circa 21st Century Breakdown caliber leap in ill-advised grandiosity, aiming for the stars and falling amongst the forgotten. That brings us to Living Things, which, for all intents and purposes, seems like it should be the record that brings good ol’ Linkin Park back into the limelight. Even I’ll admit that their act is believable: more rap verses, more screaming, a better overall balance…but when all is said and done, this is still the new Linkin Park that nobody likes; they’re just trying harder to be who we all want them to be.
A degree of admiration is due, however, because they at least had the good sense to (partially) abandon the overwrought, superfluous direction taken on A Thousand Suns. Living Things feels more like Meteora than it does Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys, and that alone is deserving of a solemn nod of respect. ‘Lost In The Echo’ is just the opener this album needs, starting with an unforgettable rap verse from Mike Shinoda and then achieving equilibrium with Bennington’s somewhat-screamed-but-still-melodic chorus. It’s not overly catchy, and perhaps it feels a little like a Hybrid Theory filler track, but after ‘Shadow Of The Day’, we’ll take it. ‘In My Remains’ and ‘Burn It Down’ are samey tracks, and their adjacent slots in the track listing don’t do either any favors. With that said, they both still contain memorable mid-tempo beats, with ‘Burn It Down’ in particular presenting Shinoda’s best effort from the album. So as we stand - three tracks in – we have a feeling of nostalgia, but nothing groundbreaking to speak of. It’s still a step up from anything they’ve done lately though, so listeners should feel inclined to trek on....full text
Guardian"Linkin Park can be as lyrically or sonically adventurous as we want," the band's Mike Shinoda said in these pages last year, after their fourth album A Thousand Suns marked an unlikely metamorphosis from blockbusting nu metal to left-field, electronic, political pop. Such motivations explain the follow-up's opener, Lost in the Echo, which crams Europop, hip-hop and a big screaming chorus into just over three minutes. However, Living Things feels more like consolidation than advancement, perhaps in an attempt to pacify fans alienated by the new direction, while keeping new converts interested, too. Thus, the scream-heavy, anguished guitar anthems of their first two albums nestle alongside Victimised's more brutal rap-metal, dewy electro and Kasabian-like stomp. Living Things is more personal than A Thousand Suns, with underlying themes of recovery from traumatic experiences. The exception, Burn It Down, delivers an antiwar sentiment via Depeche Mode-y electro-bounce, while the similarly standout Roads Untraveled is an eerie confessional ballad. Living Things would have benefited from more of such adventure, but they still sound like a band enjoying an unexpected second life....full text
Ultimate-guitar"Living Things" is the fifth studio album by Linkin Park, which includes 12 tracks and with a total run time of just under 37 minutes. The album was produced by Rick Rubin in partnership with vocalist, Mike Shinoda, the same as their most recently 2 releases. The tell-tale electronic elements of Linkin Park are definitely present in this album, but mostly used to good effect to enhance the songs. In some statements by the band it was said that this album would be more "rap-centric" than previous releases, but I didn't find this to be necessarily true. It seems to be in line with previous releases in regards to the amount of rapped lyrics versus sang lyrics except for the short period of time where they used much less rap. It still comes across as nu-metal with some slight evolutions, despite claims that Linkin Park has transcended nu-metal. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – nu-metal wasn't bad in and of itself, only in that it became derivative of other music in the genre, which Linkin Park has managed to avoid for the most part.
Touring in 2012 with Incubus and MuteMath, Linkin Park is working hard to promote the album. On May 9th they initiated an international scavenger hunt, the end result being the release of a song from the album, "Lies Greed Misery", which premiered on BBC Radio. They've had an iPad application called "Linkin Park GP" released that is a car racing game centered around the song "Burn It Down". "Burn It Down" also was produced as the first music video of the album, which debuted on MTV on May 24th. Fans who pre-order the album will also be subscribed to "Living Things Remixed" which will be several songs from the album released in remixed formats. Also, the song "Powerless" which closes out the album will also be used in the closing credits of the movie "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". The songs "Lies Greed Misery" and "Castle Of Glass" will be included in the video game "Medal Of Honor: Warfighter". This album seems to have a lot more in the way of promotion going on than some past Linkin Park albums...full text
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