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[Album Review] Linkin Park ‘Living Things’

I remember when Linkin Park released Hybrid Theory. I was in high school and the band was beginning to hit that point where their songs were everywhere. Seriously, look up the definition of the word “ubiquitous” and there will be an entry about Linkin Park and that album. But that didn’t change the fact that it was one hell of an album. It was fresh. It was unique. It was something that captured an audience that hasn’t wavered. Rather, this audience has only grown as the years have passed.

So here we are twelve years later with the release of their fifth studio album, Living Things. It is an album that many are eyeing with a great deal of caution, considering how polarizing their last album, A Thousand Suns, was for listeners and critics alike. So how does this album fare? Find out below.

The album beings strong with “Lost In The Echo” and “In The Remains”, both heavier tracks that, while having strong atmospheric electronic backdrops, sound huge. They provide an exciting beginning to the album, which is only helped by the third track, “Burn It Down”, which is also their current single.

The fourth track, “Lies Greed Misery”, is perhaps the biggest departure of the album being much more hip-hop than any other track. It also has a much more upbeat melody, one that I could almost say sounds “happy”. Still, it is a strong entry that grows on me more and more with each listen.

“I’ll Be Gone” has all the trademarks of a Linkin Park single. While I think the track isn’t anything inspiring or all that exciting, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it on the radio in the next few months.

“Victimized”, while being the shortest track on the album, is also the heaviest. It has a very aggressive punk attitude with a passage near the beginning that sounds almost like recent Green Day material.

While the previously mentioned tracks are an evolution of the heavier side of Linkin Park, it is the other half of the album that holds it back from true greatness. The vast majority of the remaining tracks are rather forgettable with the exception of “Roads Untraveled”, which has a melody strikingly similar to Eric Burdon & The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun”.

The production on this album is spot on. Listening to this album on my Grado SR-60i headphones, I could hear the vast amount of layering that was mixed to near perfection. This is an album that will never have its potential realized by those that will listen to it using generic earbuds. If you can, play this on a real sound system or get some quality headphones. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

The Final Word: Linkin Park’s Living Things is an extremely polished album, one that sounds fantastic with a wealth of tones and sonic offerings. However, half of the album is extremely strong while the other half suffers from being little more than filler tracks.

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