Linkin Park
Living Things


4.0
excellent

Review

by novanebula361 USER (2 Reviews)
June 19th, 2012 | 26 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great, but different.

One could describe latter-day Linkin Park as "experimental". One could also describe them as "generic". Both titles applied to their deviation from their standards in Minutes to Midnight, and to a larger extent in A Thousand Suns. Some people praised Linkin Park for doing something different; others longed for the days when Bennington and Shinoda would trade verses as if their chemistry were intrinsic. I do admit I enjoyed both Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns as albums, but as Linkin Park releases, especially in the wake of their "signature" nu metal / rap rock sound, they lacked intensity. They lacked conviction.

When Linkin Park said, We feel like we're in our skins again, about their fifth album and released "Burn It Down" and leaked "Lies Greed Misery", I panicked a little. I don't think I was the only one -- after all, the former track was a radio-ready electro-rock song, and the latter was drowned with effects and a chorus that sounded like it was written during a lazy Sunday. Was this Linkin Park's definition of comfort?

Needless to say, I began listening to Living Things expecting subpar quality. I ended the album wondering why I liked it so much. Perhaps I have a weak spot for soaring choruses, or for electronic flourishes, but I thought the album was good. Sure, it places Linkin Park in the same area of alternative rock as bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, but that isn't a bad thing. It's just different.

Speaking of differences...

"Lost in the Echo" launches Living Things with what sounds suspiciously like -- bear with me -- technopop. The electric guitars and rapping enter soon enough, but the initial saccharine electronics are still a little shocking, and the guitars do little to alleviate the electronics in the rest of the song. Linkin Park stating they were returning to form was a bad choice of words: They have regained their initial intensity and emotion, yes, but they can't be construed as nu metal now by any stretch of the imagination. The next song, "In My Remains", continues the electronic trend except sans rapping; again, not a problem, just something many see as alien for Linkin Park.

In album context, single "Burn It Down" and leaked track "Lies Greed Misery" sound better than they did by their lonesomes, but they're still two of the worst tracks on the album: The former is generic electronic pop rock, and the latter, while possessing some good rapping and Bennington's powerful vocals in the bridge and last chorus refrain, still irks me with the futility of its chorus.

Luckily, the songs afterward improve upon the album. "I'll Be Gone" switches back to clean vocals and an anthemic chorus that could have fit easily on A Thousand Suns. Shinoda harmonizes with Bennington on also A Thousand Suns-ready "Castle of Glass". "Victimized" starts strong, leads into a screamed chorus followed by "Waiting for the End"-esque rapping and a reiteration of the chorus. The track neatly segues into the electronics-tinged ballad "Roads Untraveled", complete with Bennington "ooh"-ing over soft chords (yet another reminder, if we needed it, of how Linkin Park has changed).

The melody that introduces "Skin to Bone" vaguely brings to mind the synth intro of "Lying from You", though unlike the latter, the former is devoid of rapping; Shinoda instead opts to harmonize with Bennington. The rapping returns on "Until it Breaks" to take the reins of an electronic hip-hop tune; Bennington jumps in to sing something angsty, backs off for another burst of hip-hop, then returns for the stadium-ready closing melody. It's an intriguing juxtaposition of parts that is the most experimental song in this album's lineup.

"Tinfoil" is the only instrumental track on Living Things; while its electronic beat is catchy, it's no "Session" or even "Cure for the Itch" as it lacks any actual melodic constructions. Closing track "Powerless" retains the synthesized-sounding beat and adds quiet piano and soothing, stadium-ready vocals from Bennington. It, and most other songs in the second half of the album, provide a pleasing emotional catharsis for the aggression displayed in the first half.

It's an undeniable fact that Linkin Park has changed greatly since their release of Meteora. Some fans of the band continue to act like the change was a bad thing. I respectfully disagree. A band need not stick to the same style of music to be considered good -- in fact, some bands are heavily criticized for doing exactly that (read: Nickelback, The Fray, etc.). While Living Things has its poppier moments, I still believe it's a sound album that effectively combines Linkin Park's earlier sound with its current, electronic approach to music. Whether or not other fans like this album depends on how willing they are to accept that Linkin Park has changed.

A taste for electronic music also helps.


user ratings (1212)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
    Despite boasting some impressive tracks, a good portion of the album comes off as either j...

    Hari676 (3.5)
    Surprisingly good!!!...

    NinthVenom (3.5)
    Linkin Park puts out yet another solid LP with better songwriting and instrumentals....

    91sam (3.5)
    Somewhere between old and new LP, you won't be disappointed...

  • H. (2.5)
    Linkin Park's two sides combine into one....

    cventura75 (4.5)
    Linkin Park has never had a dud album and Living Things is proof of this....

    ImTheOnlyThugInTheBuildin (2)
    Unfortunately too many conflicting styles prevent this from being the return to form that ...

    Simon Killip (3)
    A big improvement....

  • TheRustyMan (3.5)
    Victimized! Victimized! Never again! Victimized! This sounds like the Linkin Park we all k...

    paulosullivan (3.5)
    The sound of a band beginning to understand their own musical direction...

    Dishpan (3.5)
    Living Things is Linkin Park’s most solid album since Meteora came around in 2003....

    Kevin Williams (4)
    Hardly the next nu-metal album, but a great album nonetheless....

  • Eventide (2)
    I know plenty have reviewed this, but I figured i'd give my take on it....

    SowingSeason STAFF (2.5)
    Lost in the echo of their glorified past....

    Michael B. (4)
    One step closer to the perfect hybrid theory....

    BlinkinBharg (3.5)
    ...

  • PercussiveSound (3.5)
    The toughest challenge for listeners of LIVING THINGS is to forget about what they expect ...

    gryndstone (3)
    It isn't mind-blowing, nor is it underwhelming. They tried to please everyone, and this is...

    Ryan Fitz (2)
    A return to form?...

    CasualListen (4)
    Linkin Park is back with a new sound and a far less aggressive lyrical approach. While "L...

  • Irving Tan STAFF (3)
    Alive, kicking, and screaming – but only just....

    Peter K. Mark (2)
    Cheesy, poppy and boring electro collection of "A Thousand Suns" b-sides....

    Raul Stanciu STAFF (2.5)
    Right now, Linkin Park should just stick to whatever direction they want to pursue and com...

    Bog91 (3)
    Finding some much needed footing after stumbling around for over five years....

  • Ian (1.5)
    Don't let people have you expecting a return to old Linkin Park. Living Things is a bands ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
June 19th 2012


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

fuck off

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

camaraderie
June 19th 2012


988 Comments


hahaha

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2012


31605 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Why don't people realize that posting their review a few days later than everyone else is actually more beneficial to the review?

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

sterilevision
June 19th 2012


156 Comments


This guy didn't coz he's a retard (he rated it a 4)

novanebula361
June 19th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Why don't people realize that posting their review a few days later than everyone else is actually more beneficial to the review?"

Because I just wanted to post this and didn't really care about the popularity?

"This guy didn't coz he's a retard (he rated it a 4)"

I'm sorry, I missed the memo about when music stopped being subjective.

rmill3r
June 19th 2012


167 Comments


fuck dis shit

Shuyin
June 19th 2012


12046 Comments


oh.. keep the metal flowing

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
June 19th 2012


24089 Comments


hey is there a new Linkin Park album out or something?

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

KILL7
June 19th 2012


91 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

aoty

Pequenopolis
June 19th 2012


38 Comments


Props for approaching this with an open mind, well-written review. Too much criticism for "growth", yet in retrospect Meteora (as much as I love it) is the safest play in their discography so it's bizarre it gets so much support when recent attempts don't. In recent years LP can't seem to win but kudos to you, this is a good review. Pos'd

TenebraeInvictus
June 30th 2012


56 Comments


I didn't really think it took elements of pre-ATS albums very well. Definitely more rock, but still lots of electronic sounds in it.

Good review, sometimes it's tough to come across track-by-track reviews that have a lot of things to speak about.

I don't think this is close to a 4 though. :P

novanebula361
July 3rd 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To each their own. I like electronic music that takes itself seriously, which is why I like latter-day Linkin Park, but I can understand why the electronics would turn other people away.

SaintFrancis
September 1st 2012


6 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

album's bullshit, review is bullshit, nothing to see here

novanebula361
September 1st 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"album's bullshit, review is bullshit, nothing to see here"

Thanks, man, means a lot.

TheLast7thVermicide
September 1st 2012


186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That comment of Saint Francis is just a worthless piece of poop. Album is between 3-3,5, has a bunch of soild songs that are catchy as fuck and is a step forward after MTM and ATS.

porch
September 1st 2012


8460 Comments


no, you've just got shit taste vermicide

Lenix
September 1st 2012


793 Comments


This is a terrible album from a medicore band.

Ire
September 1st 2012


41829 Comments


no no no it's a mediocre album from a terrible band

Lenix
September 1st 2012


793 Comments


you mean you didn't jam hybrid theory when you were 7 years old like I did?

Ire
September 1st 2012


41829 Comments


yeah i did






the thing is

















that was when i was 7



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