Review Summary: Most underrated Linkin Park album (even more than A Thousand Suns!) Sorry if I spent too much time on some songs and not on others. I tried to make this as unbiased as possible.
I generally like to compare this album to 2010's A Thousand Suns, numerous things make them similar. This is the first album that I would say demonstrates their overall departure from Nu-Metal, and into more electronic-focused sounds. They are both pretty big albums, at least for Linkin Park's size (15-20 tracks.) Both of them contain "filler" and "intermission" tracks, both of them almost tell a story in how the arranged the order of the songs. Also, I don't listen to much hip-hop, so sorry if I dont formulate an opinion about most of the guest artists. Anyways, lets break down the album song-by-song.
Note: I'm not going to write the special names for the tracks, mainly so people can understand what I'm typing if you didn't already know the names.
Opening: Beautiful orchestrated piece, great beginning to the album and shows a lot softer side of Linkin Park no one has seen before (except for maybe My December at the time.) PS: I really wish someone would mix a 10 minute version of this or something.
Points of Authority: Great remix to start off with, the same song with a background electronic sound. Best little bit IMO is how the repeat Mike's "won't last" part.
In The End: VERY different change of pace, as we are now going to a more hip-hop remixed side, guest artists are Kutmasta Kurt and Motion Man. Alright track, I just prefer the original (and even more, the demo named The Untitled.)
[Chali]: First intermission track, just a phone call from Chali 2na, who appears on the next song.
Forgotten: One of my favorite tracks out of the whole album. It has a very low and soft hip-hop tone to it, and Mike really sounds great when they emphasize his rap more in this one than the original. Something I should say, a lot of these songs feature different lyrics as well. Chali is not as bad as well, I have fun challenging my other LP fans to rap Chali's part. :)
Pushing Me Away: Very nice remix, couldn't decide whether the original or remix was better.
Place for my Head: The ending to this song blew me out of the water. Besides Forgotten, this is the second song that my mouth drops to hearing. I didn't like the rapper though. About the ending, it does something similar IMO to (don't hate me) a bass drop, leading to Chester yelling "TRY TO TAKE THE BEST OF ME, GO AWAY!" and fades with a scream while ambiance and piano plays out the track. Excellently executed and sends chills down my spine.
X-Ecutioner Style: One of the original tracks on the album, just shy of 2 minutes, it scoops up lyrics from mulitple songs and puts them into a short rap. Not bad but nothing too special.
High Voltage: The most rap-like song on the album. If you listen to ONLY the piano, it will get annoying. Go ahead, try it.
[Riff Raff]: Another intermission track.
With You: Another one of my favorites out of the album. Sounds the most similar to its' original out of all the tracks. Not much is changed. Has the best guest rapper part on the album IMO.
Ntr/Mission: Intermission track, this time demonstration Mike's beautiful use of piano (that man loves to incoperate it in his songs.) Great lead into Papercut.
Papercut: Another really good remix. Ending plays out well.
Runaway: I don't know, it's good but not the best. Rapper one of the worst on the whole album.
My December: Really good remix, if not better than the original.
[Stef]: The last phone call track.
By Myself: Very nicely done remix, I prefer this way over the original. It has the same sense of paranoia that Papercut, and the same screaming at the end like the Place for my Head remix. Ending is another Chester scream-fest.
Cure for the Itch: Meh, really good on its own right, but the original is better IMO.
One Step Closer: Ah, yes. Linkin Park ceases to amaze me. Taking one of their beloved 2 and a half minute tracks, prolong it to over 5 minutes, add Jonathan Davis, make it have more progression, and you have this! The way this track starts out with silence mixed with Chester's lyrics echoing. And by the end, Jonathan Davis and Chester are trading off lines and ends with quite literally an explosive ending: IN THE SAME SONG. Jonathan Davis's lyric part really sounds like a part of the album, unlike most of the hip-hop artists. Easily my favorite song on the whole album.
Crawling: It starts out by sounding similar to the beginning of "Opening." Then begins echoing Mike and Chester's parts. Aaron Lewis suits the song so well, if not better than Chester in some regards. An excellent way to the end an already amazing album.