Linkin Park, ‘Living Things’ – Album Review
Linkin Park are once again in a state of transition, but their latest jump between albums is much less of a leap than some of their past attempts to break the mold. As they declare in their new single ‘Burn It Down,’ they’re building it all to break it back down, and if anything, the group has taken some of those broken mold pieces and repositioned them into a more modern sound in their latest effort ‘Living Things.’
The album as a whole continues to expand their world-view writing like what listeners got with ‘A Thousand Suns,’ but it also adds more of the anger that was prevalent in their earliest work, ‘Hybrid Theory.’ Tracks like ‘Lies Greed Misery’ and ‘Victimized’ go down like bitter pills, with Mike Shinoda spitting some hard hitting rhymes in the former and Chester Bennington giving his most unhinged screams on the latter.
On a musical level, one thing that is evident with ‘Living Things’ is the continued emergence of Joe Hahn within the musical scheme. Tracks like the album opener ‘Lost in the Echo,’ the radio hit ‘Burn it Down,’ and the darker cut ‘Castle of Glass’ all feature very different electronic elements and unique sounding samples that the band have added to their musical palette. Drummer Rob Bourdon is also an unsung hero on this disc, with a solid breakdown during ‘In My Remains’ and a thorough bashing to open ‘Victimized.’
Lyrically, heartbreak and loss play prominently throughout the record and the theme of broken promises turns up in several songs. In the album closer, ‘Powerless,’ the group makes the observation, “10,000 promises, 10,000 ways to lose / You held it all, but you were careless to let it fall / I was by your side, powerless.”
‘In My Remains’ offers the sing-along, “Like an army falling one by one by one,” and ‘Roads Untraveled’ serves up a fresh dose of personal pain in the harsh line, “The love that you lost isn’t worth what it cost and in time you’ll be glad that it’s gone.”
The group also shines on the cut ‘I’ll Be Gone,’ which shows a duality in the lyrics that could be applied both to a personal relationship or our own imprint on the world we leave after we’ve left this mortal coil. With lyrics like “Let the sun fade out and another one rise, I’ll be gone,” are Linkin Park getting their darkest before the next day dawns? If so, we as living things might want to take a closer look at what they’re laying down before their post-apocalyptic vision comes to fruition.