Linkin Park
Living Things



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 (1623)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Simon.K CONTRIBUTOR (3)
    A big improvement....

    Mongi123 CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
    Despite boasting some impressive tracks, a good portion of the album comes off as either j...

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

    insomniac15 STAFF (2.5)
    Right now, Linkin Park should just stick to whatever direction they want to pursue and com...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    kwill15 (4)
    Hardly the next nu-metal album, but a great album nonetheless....

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

    Green Baron (2.5)
    Linkin Park's two sides combine into one....

    letsgofishing (2)
    A return to form?...

    Storm In A Teacup (1.5)
    Don't let people have you expecting a return to old Linkin Park. Living Things is a bands ...

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

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

    BlinkinBharg (3.5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 19th 2012


Album Rating: 1.5

fuck off

Digging: Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained

June 19th 2012



Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2012


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?

June 19th 2012


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

June 19th 2012


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.

June 19th 2012


fuck dis shit

June 19th 2012


oh.. keep the metal flowing

June 19th 2012


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

June 19th 2012


Album Rating: 1.0


June 19th 2012


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

June 30th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

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

July 3rd 2012


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.

September 1st 2012


Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

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

September 1st 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

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

Thanks, man, means a lot.

September 1st 2012


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.

September 1st 2012


no, you've just got shit taste vermicide

September 1st 2012


This is a terrible album from a medicore band.

September 1st 2012


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

September 1st 2012


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

September 1st 2012


yeah i did

the thing is

that was when i was 7

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