Ever since the release of Minutes to Midnight in 2007, the international collection of Linkin Park fans have been hoping and praying for a thrashing comeback. Two albums later and that hope is now sparse, especially after their latest release Living Things. You’ve got to sympathize with lead singer Chester Bennington, as it isn’t his fault his doctor ordered him to scream less in songs to save his voice, but that didn’t mean for the entire group to fall like a ton of bricks along with that news.
Living Things could’ve been titled ‘A Thousand Suns – The B-Sides’ or simply ‘Songs from the Cutting Room Floor.’ The heavily pop-influenced album makes the prior album release sound more appeasing, with the band taking in styles of today’s robot pop-world. Yes, auto-tune is a huge factor throughout the album. You can hear the effort the group put into making that record that, for other artists, wins back the old fans, but that effort is blatantly obvious, and makes the album seem far too false.
The introduction on the opening track ‘Lost In The Echo’ could be mistaken for a Keri Hilson song: it has ‘manufactured’ written all over it. It isn’t clear as to if this was a career move the band decided on together, or pressure from the record label, either way, they’re both losing money. Bennington features a few notes of screaming here and there throughout the song, again emphasizing that effort to remake the magic they created almost a decade ago.
Linkin Park’s Castle of Glass
Linkin Park have always been a band to have an industrial sound. They created Nu Metal, and coincidently, killed it in the end. This industrial sound has always been there, just on different terms. Their previous records have similarities to Nine Inch Nails’ hardcore Industrial Rock. But now, it’s Industrial Pop. This is clearly evident in ‘Castle of Glass’ where T-Pain style auto-tuning has been taken on.
They only consistency that the band hold on to in the album is the hugely talented rapper, Mike Shinoda. If Shinoda were to leave, Linkin Park would be entirely incomplete. One can’t flaw him on any track of the album, but he does shine through during ‘Until it Breaks.’ Unfortunately, the only rock song that might make you in anyway reminiscent on what was Linkin Park is ‘Victimized’ where even the drum intro sounds like a My Chemical Romance rip-off.
All in all, Living Things is a very ‘slapped together’ album, with incomplete consistency in sound, ranging from hard rock in ‘Victimized’ to industrial pop in ‘Castle of Glass.’ This new album is far from a comfort zone for Linkin Park, and that’s not comparing to their greatest albums. You can almost hear the tension and insecurity in the tracks. The album sounds like an indie group who want to be just like Crystal Castles, but have more ‘meaning’ in their lyrics. Maybe the boys are stuck in finding their lost magic? As they say, Linkin Park: it’s better to have had it and lost it than to never have had it at all.
Written by Sarah Keary
OurVinyl | Contributor