Review Summary: Living Things is Linkin Park’s most solid album since Meteora came around in 2003.
There’s no doubt that Linkin Park are really struggling to find the same success that they had in the early days with Hybrid Theory, but their latest creation certainly has the potential to outsell at least A Thousand Suns and possibly more. They are through those times where they literally started from scratch and had to completely change their direction. Just about all the fans have accepted that Linkin Park will never be a nu metal band again and that times have changed. I was very excited when I heard that Living Things would incorporate all the previous 4 albums while also creating a new sound to the band. There are some really awesome tracks in this album, namely “Victimized”, “Lost In The Echo”, “Powerless” and “Castle Of Glass”. There are also a couple of tracks that disappoint me, which I’ll discuss in depth later on.
Overall, Living Things has incorporated all the sounds of the last few albums, although it’s more of a mix between Minutes To Midnight and A Thousand Suns more than anything. To be honest, after hearing the first few tracks, I instantly thought this would be A Thousand Suns part 2, the guitars are almost inaudible in these songs because of the overpowered synths and the heavy electric drum beats, but tracks like “Victimized” definitely got my head banging for at least 90 of the 100 seconds. There are some heavy, distorted riffs in tracks like “I’ll Be Gone”, and “Roads Untraveled”, and also Chester screaming, which was sorely missed in A Thousand Suns. “Skin To Bone” is a track that really sums up Linkin Park’s new sound, coupled with a catchy chorus as well. “Powerless” is quite a powerful track to end the album. I must say that it isn’t as powerful a closing track as “Numb” or “Pushing Me Away” was, but it’s definitely better than “The Little Things That Give You Away” and also “The Messenger”. “Powerless” sees Chester at his best in the album. Similarly, “Lost In The Echo” I believe is Mike’s best performance in this album. The verse was immense, one of his best yet. Joe Hahn was solid once again, with some intricate scratching and top-notch programming.
As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple of tracks that disappointed me. I was very excited when the band released “Burn It Down” as their first single. It’s a pretty catchy song and deserved to be the song of the NBA playoffs. The problem is that is was a mismatch in the context of the whole album. I found that I wasn’t keen of playing “Burn It Down”, instead opting for the better songs in the album. “Lies Greed Misery” was another song the band released, via YouTube, prior to the release of the album. This song didn’t catch me from the very first time I heard it and dare I say, it is one of the worst songs they’ve ever written.
In conclusion, I’ll summarise what I think of all the tracks and categorise each track as “Green, Yellow or Red”.
Green (7.5 or more out of 10):
Victimised: This is my favourite track in the album. It’s short and it’s sweet. Mike raps like Mike normally does, Chester screams, Brad and Dave’s’ riffs are totally godly, Rob abuses those drums and Joe concludes the track with some great scratching. All in under 2 minutes! (9.5/10)
Powerless: An immense conclusion to the album. Chester’s singing is amazing and the guitars are also spot on. Overall, this song reminds me of “Iridescent” and “Shadow Of The Day”. (9/10)
Lost In The Echo: The album also starts off pretty well with this song. Mike absolutely owned the verses, pre-chorus and bridge and Chester pulled off one of his typical screams. A real shame that the guitars were literally inaudible. (8/10)
Castle Of Glass: Not the best song in the album but some great vocal interplay between Mike and Chester. Mike’s singing is really nice. The chorus certainly got my head swaying from side to side. (8/10)
Yellow (4 to 7 out of 10):
Roads Untraveled: A decent song, once again Mike sings and does it well. The guitar work is also pretty good. However it doesn’t really feel like a proper song when the chorus is just “Whoa!” (7/10)
I’ll Be Gone: Another pretty decent song but doesn’t really appeal to me. I like how there are guitars from the start right to the end. Not the best stuff from Chester as well. (7/10)
Skin To Bone: A pretty catchy song, which clichéd lyrics like ‘Skin to bone, steel to rust’ and ‘ash to ash dust to dust’. Once again, good vocal interplay between Mike and Chester. (7/10)
In My Remains: The main riff is pretty good and the verse and chorus are also decent, however the overall flow of the song was broken by Mike’s bridge. (6.5/10)
Until It Breaks: Great to hear Brad contribute to some lead vocals. Not Mike’s best work by far and Chester sings about some random ***. (5.5/10)
Red (below 4 out of 10):
Burn It Down: I did like this song for the two months before Living Things came out. This is a track that I’ve rather quickly forgotten. (3/10)
Tinfoil: I’ve got nothing much to say about this track because it’s just a filler. One thing I can say is that it adds a bit of suspense before the great “Powerless”. (2/10)
Lies Greed Misery: The worst song in the album and one of their worst songs ever. I really don’t have much to say about this track. It just never caught me at all. (1/10)