Review Summary: Cheesy, poppy and boring electro collection of "A Thousand Suns" b-sides.
Linkin Park have colored me impressed with a few flashes of potential on a "A Thousand Suns" (Blackout
, When They Come for Me
). With a "Living Things", that potential got hit by a garbage truck on a Monday morning. Twelve times. Their latest attempt at burying themselves even deeper underground is a collection of ATS b-sides called "Living Things". It's almost like the perfect shovel to dig a deeper hole. Fat synths, same beats and Bennington singing some cheesy lyrics about broken promises and whatnot. It gets worse when Shinoda joins in.
"Lost in the Echo" slams you with a bunch of rap verses, sung choruses and a breakdown. All of this boxed in to huge synths and bloop-bloop beats, right in the first track. Probably not the ideal way to start convincing people they've gone back to their roots. Not to worry, it can only get worse from here. Songs like "Victimized" and "Lies, Greed and Misery" try to incorporate that Chester scream and Mike's younger form, but ultimately fail to deliver anything memorable. Actually, they fail to deliver anything at all. Pretty much like the rest of the songs with some small exceptions.
"Castle of Glass" contradicts the rest of this collection. While it may not be much of a song, it's at least catchy and shows some signs of life (even though this whole album is supposed to be a "LIVING THING!"). Scratch that, the poppy piano driven "Roads Untraveled" takes you back to MTM, which is bad in case anyone is having doubts. Immediately after, you are blasted to "Skin and Bone", which is...just a weird song. It tries too hard to stand out, but it just summons a black hole and sucks the whole album into it. Like it wasn't an entire black hole already.
Negativism aside, there are some highlights around here. Well, alright, just one: "Until it Breaks". Shinoda gets the spotlight here and delivers a solid performance with a wicked flow. Only to be smashed with a sledgehammer once Bennington and Delson start singing. Luckily, their parts are not that long and at least they got something right.
The production doesn't help that much either. You can start guessing that electro pop albums like this have that fat production style. As if the whole damn thing wasn't bad enough, the effects on Shinoda's vocals are just painful. I appreciate him trying to sing a lot more but seriously, Mike, don't turn into a white Lil' Wayne who thinks it's cool to use auto-tune. Just stick to the rapping, and preferably to the one with lyrics that make sense. Oh, and ditch Rick Rubin, or choke him with his beard, because he hasn't contributed to anything relevant since Mezmerize.
That felt short, but then again, there's not much to write about this album. It feels rushed and doesn't live up to the hype. As if anyone ever believed the hype, that is. Probably the only thing people believe right now is that Linkin Park are heading into a colossal abyss with no return ticket. They need to put something on the table that is worth of our time and maybe we'll buy them that ticket. Or not, which will most likely be the case.