As many are aware, Linkin Park is a band of evolution. In other words, their sound has changed a bit over time, and sometimes that can cause dispute amongst listeners. Living Things is Linkin Park's latest album to date, and I was quite excited to hear it since their last album, A Thousand Suns, left me vastly impressed.
The opening track is called "Lost in the Echo," and it begins with a rather quiet electronic melody which quickly explodes into a huge sound. Mike Shinoda raps in the verses while Chester Bennington sings the chorus, creating a sound that is what I'd like to think of as signature Linkin Park.
"In My Remains" comes next, sounding even more electronically brilliant at first before the guitars come in, creating a very lush sound, and blow the listener away. The verses are mellow, creating a great contrast between them and the chorus. By the time the song ends, it has watered down to a slower pace and slowly fades out to silence. Even lyrically, I especially liked this track.
Following "In My Remains" comes the exceptional lead single of Living Things, entitled "Burn it Down." Like nearly all Linkin Park songs, this song has a great blend of rock and sonic elements - all of which mesh with Chester's voice perfectly. Shinoda raps a bit in the bridge but that's all we hear of him in this song. All in all, I liked this track as much as the previous two.
Though the first three tracks give a very similar vibe, "Lies Greed Misery" is a bit different musically. Mike Shinoda has the verses while Chester sings/yells/screams the chorus and the bridge. It all gets quite rash sounding by the end, as it is an angry song. However, despite its differences from the other songs so far, it's not a favorite of mine.
The fifth track is called "I'll Be Gone," and the beginning sounds extra awesome to me for whatever reason. When Chester begins to sing the first verse, he sounds a bit different, almost slightly nasally. However, this doesn't continue throughout the entire song; his voice sounds as expected in the chorus. My favorite part of the whole thing was the bridge, both musically and lyrically. Those lyrics are relatable and great, and the music continues from the chorus in perhaps the smoothest possible transition. I suppose one could say the song ended with a bang with the way Chester sang the last "I'll be gone," for it was so powerful.
One of my favorites from the album is called "Castle of Glass." The entire song is sung by Mike Shinoda, for a change. Though I do love Chester's voice, Mike does a fine job as well. His voice flowed with the music perfectly as the song gradually crescendos. But, that's not all the song has to offer. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful, a seamless match with the music, which sounds almost adventurous to me. Really, this song kind of makes me think of dreams, of movies and books that are set up in otherworldly places. "Castle of Glass" is a wonderful track.
In case you fell asleep during that song's slow tempo, Linkin Park will make sure you wake up to hear "Victimized" with the opening guitars. Mike quietly sings the first verse (and sounds absolutely great), but Chester comes in and screams the chorus. Out of his singing phase, Mike also raps in the second verse. Don't walk out of the room to get a sandwich when listening to this song, because you might miss it. Seriously, it's not even two minutes long. Personally, I only enjoyed the first verse, but it doesn't matter because the song itself is so short. At least the lyrics have a nice determined, vengeful message ("never again victimized!")
Completely unlike the last song, the beginning effects remind me a little of "Crystalline" by Bjork. Soon enough, the piano comes in and Mike starts singing, and it is clearly a Linkin Park song. This track, "Roads Untraveled," is another of my favorite tracks. The harmonies of this song are chill-worthy, just like the lyrics. Unfortunately, the song ends sort of abruptly... I wish I could have more of this amazing song.
The next song, "Skin to Bone," nearly gives me a mad-scientist feel musically (don't ask; it was the best way to describe it, okay?), and yet again, Mike Shinoda is singing some awesome lyrics. Right away, I can tell that this song is a electric masterpiece. Is the song repetitive? Yes, but do I really care when it's something as cool as this? No.
"Until it Breaks" is a break from any norm the band has created in this album. Though the electronic vibe is still there, it's the closest thing on Living Things to actual rap/hip-hop (though it isn't the first time he's rapped on the album). Chester sings in the chorus, which is broken down beautifully - just Chester and piano. The ending sector demands the listener to sing along and reminds me a bit of indie music - but only a little.
"Tinfoil" is an electronic instrumental track with bits of piano layered in. It's a very small instrumental, in both length and sound, but that doesn't mean it isn't powerful - which is kind of punny since it leads into the final track, "Powerless." Right away, "Powerless" impressed me. The piano is potent in this song, and Chester's vocals are spectacular. Even if he wasn't singing, the melodies of this song would be wonderful, but his voice makes it even better. By the time the second verse comes, the electronic element begins to shine along with the piano. Even so, the song crescendos more and more as it goes on before fading out a bit and ending almost abruptly. As far as an album-closer, "Powerless" was a good choice, not to mention one of my three favorites from this album.
Although Linkin Park has evolved with time, they definitely remained the same band. Honestly, between this album and A Thousand Suns, I think their changes have been for the better. They have evolved into a better band, their music has matured into something bigger than they've been before.
That being said, Living Things is a great album. After listening to it, I am insured that Linkin Park has a lot to offer listeners with their general musicianship, wonderful lyrics, and genre variation.