The early 2000s was a strange time for music. Nu-metal had become the newest craze and the metal world had undertaken a massive transformation. Swapping guitar solos for music sampling and generally becoming one of the most hated musical genres of all time.
While most nu-metal bands around this time were busy trying to capitalize on the genre’s new-found success, Linkin Park – who whether they intended to or not, did indeed start out as a nu-metal band, make no mistake - released their debut album, Hybrid Theory. Combining angst-riddled lyrics and intoxicating anthems, it went on to sell 24 million copies worldwide and is largely considered as one of the first great American rock albums of the 00s.
It’s fair to say that Linkin Park have become a much different band since then. As nu-metal’s short-lived reign at the top of the metal world began to decline, there came a difficult transition for a lot of bands who were forced to either change their style or risk diminishing. Linkin park had to evolve in order to survive and they did. For the most part, their evolution has favoured well (Minutes to Midnight), while other times it hasn’t completely won over fans (A Thousand Suns).
The band’s fifth studio album, Living Things is another step in their evolution. Swapping angsty lyrics for a more grown up take on the world, they tackle all kinds of different subjects lyrically - from faith to relationships and politics.
Lost in the Echo is the album’s opener. It brings back the rap of LP old to deliver a dance-style track with an infectious riff and chorus while the first single, Burn It Down hones the band’s signature sound. It’s an anthemic and dark song while Lies Greed Misery and Until It Breaks are gritty tracks. Combining rap with tearing screams they both make for very noisy songs.
The two-minute Victimized starts in all out upheaval. Chaotic and edgy, it feels a lot like old LP, with front man Chester Bennington tearing out screams deep from within. But is a slight disappointment considering its shortness and that it’s over before you’ve realised. It somewhat redeems itself when it unravels to bare a softer side. It’s more of an interlude as it leads effortlessly into the brilliant Roads Untraveled, which is a ballad-style poignant song, bearing some of the more personal lyrics, ‘the love that you lost, wasn’t worth the cost and in time you’ll be glad that it’s gone.’
It’s not just LP’s lyrics that are more grown up; the music is more mature as well. The thought-provoking Castle of Glass shows this. With an upbeat yet laid-back tone to it, it’s one of the better tracks within the album. Containing a haunting riff and catchy hooks, while In My Remains is proof that LP still know how to create great rock songs.
Skin to Bone is another short yet important track. Blending Chester Bennington’s always brilliant vocals with Mike Shinoda’s, it’s a lingering and catchy song while Powerless is another ballad-style song. Lyrics, ’10,000 promises, 10,000 ways to lose’, accompanying the great musicianship to help build up to an almighty ending to the album.
It remains to be seen whether, Living Things will be another enjoyed leap forward for fans. And while it’s not a perfect album, it certainly has its moments here and there. Living Things is a great mix of electro infused and experimental tracks, meanwhile LP are careful not to abandon their rock roots. It’s clear to see that they’re not afraid to explore untapped territories; such is their developing musical diversity. Regardless, there will still be a lot of fans who believe that Linkin Park’s best days lay with Hybrid Theory. But that’s ok. Their fan base will always be present. And hey - you can’t please everyone.
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- Amy Parker