Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory put the band on the map, but more than twelve years and five studio albums later, the band is hitting its peak with producer Rick Rubin at the helm. Living Things surely breathes new life into this established band and Press Pass LA was delighted to get a preview listen of the album releasing June 26th.
Hybrid Theory rated number 7 on the ‘Top 10 Selling Albums of the Decade’ with over 25,000,000 units sold worldwide since its initial release. Hybrid Theory came along when the music industry was in a difficult place and many new bands, even those with something new to offer us, found it very difficult to find there place and survive let alone create a following. Delivering a whole new sound that we’d been waiting to hear, Hybrid Theory proved to be a ground breaking album. It perfected the already popular sound of rock and rap, originally brought to us by Living Things co-producer Rick Rubin with the 80’s hit featuring Aerosmith and RUN DMC (“Walk This Way).
Now here we are more than a decade 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 what do I have to say about Living Things…continue reading and I think you’ll agree!
Living Things starts off 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. Still, it is a strong entry that has grown on me more and more with each listen. “I’ll Be Gone” has all the trademarks of a classic Linkin Park Track. While I think the track isn’t particularly inspiring or all that exciting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be released as their next single following the albums release over 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, one of the album’s two ballads (the other being “Powerless”), “Until It Breaks,” is a nice pause in the action; an evocative piece of melodic electronica that builds and cascades in an even more lush, layered production than the rest of the record. With the help of Rick Rubin, the production on this album is spot on. Listening to this album on my Shure SE535 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 speakers or headphones.
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. The album is very strong holding its ground from the dense, dark, layered vortex of keyboards to the powerful and often soaring choruses. It shows that Rubin is clearly the right fit for the band and in particular, he seems to have worked well with Shinoda in capturing the band’s classic sound. Living Things is powerful, hypnotic and thoroughly true to form. I find it a brilliant, definitive collection that represents an important band at its peak.