Review Summary: Finding some much needed footing after stumbling around for over five years.
The evolution of Linkin Park has been one of pure success. Every one of their last four albums has released multiple successful singles and spawned many world tours. It seems almost pointless to doubt that Living Things will not yield the same results and be more successful than their previous records.
Living Things has been anxiously awaited by Linkin Park fans since the extremely below average and seemingly uninspired release of A Thousand Suns. Honestly calling that album a letdown isn’t even close to what it was for fans, it was a heaping pile of ***. Minutes to Midnight was better but not by much at all. Given these two records did somewhat grow on you after many, many listens, Linkin Park had been failing to deliver a new sound that made you love them in Hybrid Theory, and in most of Meteora. So with that being said, what does Living Things offer?
The answer: A hell of a lot more than the last two records.
I found Living Things to be much more inspired in a couple of ways. The lyrics are much more relatable to life than A Thousand Suns, I found myself actually listening to the lyrics on this album much more. The music seemed much more true to Linkin Park’s form on this album. I noticed the guitars again; I remembered actually hearing an acoustic drum set in a couple of songs. It was such a relief to actually hear instruments being played on the album than computer generated beats. Now by no means am I saying there are no hints of A Thousand Suns in this album, it’s packed with computerized beats and effects, they are just toned down a lot giving a much needed “rock” sound than the electronic sound in A Thousand Suns.
This album is nowhere close to perfect, but it partially fills the void left by Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns. The album really leans on the A Thousand Suns sound and less on Hybrid Theory. You do get glimpses of Hybrid Theory on tacks such as Lost in the Echo, Lies Greed Misery, and Victimized. The rest of the album sounds like a heavier version A Thousand Suns.
Like almost every album before it Living Things has songs that just don’t fit on the album and none of these are more apparent than Victimized. Dear Lord this song is bad and the metal drums only add to it. In My Remains and Roads Untraveled both sound totally uninspired and thrown in just for the hell of it, plus they are totally boring.
Livivng Things does have its highlights though. Lost in the Echo is the Linkin Park song I have been waiting for since Meteora came out; I found it to be the most appealing to a Linkin Park fan of the old ways. Burn it Down was the first single and Linkin Park is notorious for releasing good lead singles. Lies Greed Misery is a song that will make you go “What the *** is this?” the first time you listen to it, I found the more I played it the more I liked it. Castles of Sand was by far the biggest surprise on the album for me and I fell totally in love with the song after only two listens. Sadly all of these songs are on the first half of the album. The rest of the album is “meh” at best, not bad just not fully engaging.
It seems Linkin Park has finally found some footing from the stumbling of Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns. Is this Linkin Parks best album? Absolutely not, that title will more than likely forever be with Hybrid Theory. It’s arguably their second best with Minutes to Midnight or Meteora depending on what Linkin Park fan you talk to. I found this album much more enjoyable and way less boring than A Thousand Suns was. Was it the album I’ve been waiting for? Absolutely not, but I am much more optimistic after Living Things about Linkin Park than I have been in a long time.