Linkin Park goes back to its roots

Aug 6 2012 - 9:28am

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Linkin Park's newest album "Living Things," released earlier this summer, combines elements from the band's four previous albums, and the overall sound is a result of years of experimentation. The musicians consider this to be their most personal album.

The band's master of ceremonies Mike Shinoda spoke about the album's sound, explaining "It doesn't lose any of the creativity of the newer stuff and it brings in the energy of the older stuff. It's kind of a comprehensive sound. I feel like we've been able to take all the stuff we've learned on the way and put it all together in each song and still keep it fresh and forward-thinking."

In an interview with "New Musical Express," Shinoda said that the album would not be returning to Linkin Park's nu metal sound but instead that it "gets back to our roots and it's captured a feeling that we haven't gone after in many years."

Vocalist Chester Bennington, in a "Kerrang! Magazine" interview, said, "With this new album, we've incorporated a lot of guitar work with big choruses and the heavier electronic stuff to give it that really big wall of sound feeling without getting too metal. This will be more familiar to people than 'A Thousand Suns' was."

He went on to say in another interview that the band is "embracing everything that they have done in the past." They're taking the "best pieces" of their previous four albums and are "smashing them together into this new record."

As opposed to their previous album "A Thousand Suns," which had six filler tracks (purely instrumental songs that averaged about a minute in duration) and were, in my opinion, disappointing, "Living Things" only has one filler track, titled "Tinfoil," leaving 11 full songs. These emanate the sound of Linkin Park's best work, mixed with the electronic sounds of "A Thousand Suns."

My two least favorite songs on the album are "Skin to Bone" and "Until it Breaks." This is probably because the two songs don't sound like they belong on this record, and feel more like "A Thousand Suns" in the way that they drift from the band's traditional sound. Nevertheless these songs do have interesting elements to them.

The next three songs I think are much better, but are not in my favorites category:

* "Roads Untraveled": This song reminds me of "When they Come For Me," one of my favorite songs from "A Thousand Suns." The choruses in both songs have impressive vocalizations from Chester Bennington, but with no lyrics.

* "Victimized": This is the hardest song the band has done in years; however, if the song was longer it would have been better in my opinion.

* "Powerless": The overall feel of this song to me is almost a cross between "Shadow of the Day" and "Breaking the Habit" from the band's previous albums.

Now my favorite songs on "Living Things":

* "Lost in the Echo": This song truly sounds like a traditional Linkin Park song. Mike raps, Chester sings the chorus, Mike raps some more, Chester screams a little bit, and there's pretty much everything that a true fan would come to expect from these guys.

* "In My Remains": This is another great song, although a little bit softer, but this song has a hard-hitting chorus that shares a similar energy to "New Divide."

* "Burn it Down": The album's single, released in April 2012, is a great song with very impressive soaring vocals from Bennington in the chorus.

* "Lies Greed Misery": This one combines the "A Thousand Suns" feel with older, harder material which definitely gives it that really big wall of sound feeling Bennington used to explain the album.

* "I'll Be Gone": One of my favorites, this song has powerful vocals from Chester throughout, with a very powerful Linkin Park chorus.

* "Castle Of Glass": This ballad is one of the best songs on "Living Things," like a softer version of "What I've Done." The vocals are really soft, but the guitar is very catchy.

Overall, I think that the first half of the album is much better than the second half, but this is certainly the band's best effort since their 2003 release of "Meteora." Congratulations to Linkin Park for their fifth consecutive No. 1-selling album.

Alex Esplin recently graduated from Dorius Academy. He enjoys writing short stories and is working on a novel. Email him at fish_head_o7@comcast.net.

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