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LIVING THINGS final thoughts


ghost
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This is going to make me sound like a lunatic, but I have to do this re-review. I've let the album sink in for nearly two weeks now, and my opinions on it have completely changed. Originally I was all over the album enjoying every single second of it, and then some songs didn't really work their magic for me anymore. Now i'm nearly over this album, and it is basically a sugar rush. Look at their last album, A Thousand Suns. It felt like a six course meal rather than a bag of candy. It was creative, different, and emotional. Sometimes the build-up didn't come right away but when you waited so long for it, it paid off. LIVING THINGS is filled with heavy choruses, bleeps and bloops of digital effects, the typical distorted guitar textures, and a production so clean you'd think it's a pop album. But that's the thing, it's a pop album.

 

Tracks like "Lost In The Echo" and "Lies Greed Misery" are electronically charged anthems that harken back to Linkin Park's older days. They are filled with big rap verses, catchy choruses, and heavy screams. They seem like re-hashes of what we've already heard in the past, that candy that fuels you. The lyrics are average at best, and in fact contradicting at times. "In My Remains" sounds like an A Thousand Suns b-side that was too generic to fit the album. It is pretty generic to say the least. "I'll Be Gone" feels like a Minutes To Midnight track that didn't make the final cut. I can see why. It's beyond generic, it's in fact hard to enjoy. The lyrical themes in this album are so similar that it frightens me. Chester sings "this time I finally let you go" in the first track, and in the fifth he sings "it's time you let me go". Uninspired writing? Check.

 

The second half of this album feels much more experimental and thoughtful. "Victimized" sounds like a mistake though. A track that was intended to be heavy to feed the fans this candy that they want. Rapping? Check. Heavy screams? Check! Saying that this track is the best on the album, or even good makes me cringe. "Skin To Bone" has a funky rhythm that caught my attention right off the bat. The lyrics seem a bit basic at times but that is what makes this track work. Crooning, hypnotic vocals that will rest in your brain for hours and hours to come. "Until It Breaks" is the most creative track the band has ever made. The beat is an electronic, seismic thump with Mike Shinoda spitting his best verses to date. Chester and Brad break the original mood of the song with soft, beautiful verses. The album ends with the worst instrumental the band has ever released and "Powerless". A pop ballad that will be echoing through your car system for time and time to come.

 

Where did Linkin Park go wrong with this album? The first half with the exception of "Castle Of Glass". Where did they go right? Mostly the second half of this album, where they showed signs of creativity and their never-ending attempts to do something fresh and exciting. In 2010, the bands mindset was to work on an album that they believed was honest artwork. A beautiful album with so many twists and turns and epic build-ups that will leave you on the edge of your seat the whole time. This time around, they go back to the catchy choruses, and screaming that the fans begged and pleaded for. I guess Linkin Park decided to conform.

 

LIVING THINGS - 2/10: This album is everything the fans wanted. I leave you all with a quote from Mike Shinoda from 2010:

 

"We asked ourselves: were we all earnestly willing, more than ever before, to abandon the precepts of commercial ambition in pursuit of what we believe to be honest art?

 

The inclination to begin writing conventional songs for a conventional album came and went. The temptation to adjust our creative vision to fulfill expectations beyond our studio walls yielded to the audacious ambition of what we hoped to achieve as a band. The two years of making 'A Thousand Suns' marked our exhilarating, surrealistic, and often challenging journey into the creative unknown."

Edited by ghost
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You have to understand that the name Linkin Park is automatically associated with rap verses, anthemic choruses, screaming and electronics. Back in the HT days, everyone went crazy for nu-metal and their sound at the time just happened to fit the nu-metal description. This time around, the band took out the nu-metal factor, and blended their signature Hybrid Theory elements with the bombastic craziness of A Thousand Suns. It could have been done in a better way perhaps, some places needed tightening and cleaning, but, all they were trying to do was keep their experimentation they began in M2M while pleasing the fans who complained they were ditching the "Linkin Park" sound. In a way, they were conforming without actually conforming. That's what's great about them, they know how to experiment on the foundation they built as well as on a blank piece of paper. I think that's what Lost In The Echo is about too.

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True. You made some good points. I just feel the band spoiled us with A Thousand Suns. They made such a unique album that anything with them returning back to form makes me cringe sometimes. I don't get why either.

If you listen to Korn, you can basically consider this the Untouchables of their career, whereas A Thousand Suns was Issues. They'll definitely be back with something along the ATS lines at some point in their careers. If they stick around long enough.

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You ripped on the first half of the album for the sole reason that "this sounds too much like Linkin Park" which is ridiculous. And the fact that you've acknowledged characteristics from albums past in these new songs means the band's toolbox conception was fulfilled. How many times have they said now that this album was a fusion of all their previous sounds? About as many times as you said these songs sound familiar.

 

Saying Victimized was a mistake is foolish. The song was created from Mike and Brad's fondness for short, in-your-face punk music. If it was any longer you'd just attack it again for sounding "too Linkin Park".

 

Then you go on to saying how you love the second half of the album, and yet you come to the conclusion that the album is a 2/10. Then you say this was everything the fans wanted, yet clearly you're disappointed. Contradictions much.

 

Nowhere did Linkin Park ever state that this album would be A Thousand Suns part 2. So while that quote is nice, it serves as little firepower to gunning down Living Things.

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- I gave it two points for "Skin To Bone" and "Until It Breaks", and for some of "Castle Of Glass". This album is everything the nu-metal fans wanted is what I meant to say.

 

- This album didn't have to be A Thousand Suns Two, but it's crazy to see how much their mindset has dumbed down within a year and a half. That's why I quoted Mike.

Alright, that's fair. Although saying you like those songs but not Roads Untraveled is odd. It's just as experimental I'd say.

 

I can't agree with the nu-metal fans part though. Being an active member both here and at LPA I know for a fact that nu-metal fans are still not pleased with Living Things, although they're literally unappeasable at this point. Go on YouTube and you will still find that for every fan that acknowledges and loves the experimental shift the band has taken, there's a fan dissing the band for "not being the old Linkin Park" they "know and love".

 

I wouldn't say the band's mindset has dumbed down. They've acknowledged time and time again that A Thousand Suns is the peak of their experimentation. I think they are perfectly aware that they will be returning to this boundary expanding in the future, but for now they're content with fusing all of the sounds in their repertoire to create something that is purely Linkin Park.

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I forgot about Roads Untraveled! It's actually one of my favorites as well.

 

You made some pretty decent points about their fusion too. I don't hate this album just because it isn't experimental, but for the fact that it so pop and in-your-face that it feels like candy. It gets old and stale so quickly. It leaves you wanting more, and most of it doesn't deliver.

Fair enough, I just don't understand the 2/10.

 

Even A Thousand Suns was considered pop. It may have been more thoughtful or artsy, but it was still pop. And the following songs were nothing "new":

 

Burning In The Skies: old Linkin Park with Mike singing verses instead of usual rapping over a What I've Done re-skin.

Waiting for the End: a regularly structured pop song with a little more experimentation and a rap over the intro.

Iridescent: Shadow of the Day II ft. gang vocals.

Wretches And Kings: Hybrid Theory with a speech over the intro/outro and a distorted guitar that barely sounded like one.

 

While the remaining songs were indeed a bold new direction(minus The Messenger, although it was new for the band), the above could just as easily be defined as regular Linkin Park pop with a new coat of paint. The interludes were nothing more than artistic filler, like those meals from expensive restaurants that are all look and no substance.

 

This leaves us with 4 experimental songs from A Thousand Suns, and 4 experimental songs from Living Things. Suddenly the albums aren't so drastically different.

Edited by Faint!ntoPieces
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