Album Review: Linkin Park – LIVING THINGS Track By Track

Because of Mike’s Release Day Challenge, there are still people out there who haven’t listened to the album yet and also don’t want to read spoilers, so you can only see the review after the jump!

LOST IN THE ECHO – 10/10

The opening track of LIVING THINGS definitely deserves its position in the track list! From all songs, LOST IN THE ECHO reminds me most of Linkin Park’s old rap/rock style á la Hybrid Theory, but it has an electronic backbone which refines this outdated style and makes it interesting again.

While the verses consist of Mike rapping, Chester sings a very powerful and catchy chorus. The bridge is similar to the bridge in “Blackout” with Chester’s screams getting the Mr. Hahn treatment. The first association I had when listening to the lyrics, was that LITE is a total “Survivor-Song” about getting up again and finding your own strength after you’ve been betrayed by someone you trusted.

According to stickers on the album, LOST IN THE ECHO will be a single and I can only say that this is a great decision!

IN MY REMAINS – 9/10

This extremely catchy and radio friendly rock song is very similar to Burn it Down. The lead vocals in the verses are sung by Chester. The bridge, in which Mike (later in harmony with Chester) repeats the line “Like an army falling one by one by one“ gives the song a necessary kick. As a whole, IMR is very uplifting and infectious. Another candidate for a single release.

BURN IT DOWN – 7/10

I really can’t say anything new about the first single of LIVING THINGS. It was quite surprising for me that it turned out BID is the weakest song on this album. Very catchy, uplifting and radio friendly, but there are better songs on the album. Still, it is a perfect first single and was very well received. Its chart performance was great so far.

LIES GREED MISERY – 10/10

LGM is probably most famous for its involvement in the Linkin Park Scavenger Hunt. In case you don’t know, the band gave this track to a fan to leak it, which was the reward for a worldwide scavenger hunt.

On this very experimental, heavy rap track, Linkin Park take the rap/rock mixture to the next level! The contrast of joyful sounding rap verses and aggressive lyrics works really well, especially mixed with Chester’s screams in the chorus and bridge.


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I’LL BE GONE – 8/10

In style, this track is really similar to IN MY REMAINS and BURN IT DOWN, but probably the catchiest of the three. It’s a very radio friendly typical LP track like “What I’ve Done” or “New Divide”. The chorus is again very powerful, but the song structure is a bit simple and the track a bit too repetitive for my taste. I’m afraid, I’LL BE GONE might get a bit boring after too many listens. It’s still one of the many songs on LIVING THINGS that could be a successful single.

CASTLE OF GLASS – 10/10

Awesome song! COG is an extremely catchy song with a folky melody but in an indie/rock kind of way. The verses sung by Mike’s sound haunting and dark. While it is not as electronic as some other songs on this album, there are still some electronic elements in it. This is definitely one of the most interesting songs on the album and surprised me most. Linkin Park have never done a song like this and if the stickers on the CD are any indication, this is another single, which is a great move!

VICTIMIZED – 10/10

The short VICTIMIZED starts with a distorted electronic intro. Mike’s vocals, with heavy effects on them, open the song with a melodic verse, that sounds almost nursery-rhyme-like in a “I’m gonna fuck you over with a big smile on my face”-way which is a great contrast to the aggressiveness of the song as a whole. Something I noticed right away is that the drums are absolutely epic on this song!

VICTIMIZED is a great punk rock song with heavy guitars, distorted noise, rap verses and a violent chorus screamed by Chester. The lyrics are really provocative and in-your-face: “Wanna talk about a victim / Imma put you there with ‘em”. The song is too short, but it still sounds complete, which is pretty surprising for a track that doesn’t even reach the 2 minute mark! This will get the pits moving during the upcoming live shows!

ROADS UNTRAVELED – 9/10

This beautiful rock ballad with a folky feeling to it is dominated by Mike’s vocals that really touched me from the first listen on. The lyrics are very emotional but the verses are darker and deeper than e.g. in “Iridescent”. The harmony between Mike’s and Chester’s vocals is incredible in this song, which really takes off in the second half. The bridge is super catchy and makes ROAD UNTRAVELED to a sing-a-long-song that is going to be perfect in a live setting.

SKIN TO BONE – 9/10

This electro-rock song is very similar to ROADS UNTRAVELED, but has more electronic elements and industrial sounds that we already know from songs like “Wretches and Kings”. Again the verses are very dark while the song really takes off with the chorus. I think the difference between Mike’s and Chester’s voices has this effect, but somehow the band needed a few albums to learn how to bring this to perfection. Songs like ROADS UNTAVELED and SKIN TO BONE show that a great contrast between the two vocalists can also be achieved when both are singing, instead of the often used formula of rap/rock. One negative point is the placement of the songs in the track list. In my opinion it wasn’t really smart to put two songs that sound so similar in succession.

UNTIL IT BREAKS – 9/10

With UNTIL IT BREAKS, Linkin Park created one of their most interesting songs on this album. The heavy rap track could have fit on “A Thousand Suns” with its great vocal effects and almost ethereal atmosphere. You can hear right away that the song actually consists of shorter tracks, almost pasted together, but the single parts fit very well. Mike’s rap is really badass and the switch from Mike’s provocative rap verses, probably the best ones he’s ever written, to Chester’s ballad like verse is absolutely epic. The song takes a twist with Brad’s verse, the vocals distorted, which ends the song on a very ethereal note. The lyrics of this part are really haunting and brutal: “The body bends until it breaks/And sings again no more/’Cause time has torn the flesh away/The early morning sings no more.”

UNTIL IT BREAKS is not very radio friendly, and definitely won’t be a single, but it’s a very experimental track, which is awesome, because I love those kind of tracks!


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TINFOIL – 8/10

Nice interlude that fits perfectly to POWERLESS. I can’t really say so much about it. It has a nice melody played on the piano.

POWERLESS – 8/10

Great ballad that reminds me a lot of Breaking the Habit. It’s slower, but still has an electronic-beat similar to BTH. The lyrics are very emotional and the music is just pure bliss! This is gonna be a fan favorite on concerts.

Conclusion

LIVING THINGS is the best album Linkin Park has made. Period. The fact that they managed to create this masterpiece in 1,5 years is absolutely mind-blowing! The lyrics of the songs are really good and Linkin Park has found a way to stay faithful to their roots without neglecting necessary experimentation to create new sounds and styles.

When I listened to the songs for the first time I was really gobsmacked about how much they don’t sound like what we’re used to hear from Linkin Park.

As you can see in the rating of the songs, my favorites are LOST IN THE ECHO, LIES GREED MISERY, CASTLE OF GLASS & VICTIMIZED, closely followed by SKIN TO BONE, ROADS UNTRAVELED and UNTIL IT BREAKS. I gave all songs pretty high ratings, because I just liked them all, which is pretty weird for me, because I always have at least one track that isn’t sooo great.

Watch the Making of LIVING THINGS! It’s great!

15 thoughts on “Album Review: Linkin Park – LIVING THINGS Track By Track”

    1. I’ve written the review after I listened to the album 4 or 5 times and at that time both songs sounded very similar, probably because Mike sings the verses, and both songs have an “ahhhh” or “ohhhh” part XD. I have to say, after listening to the album some more, you’re right. Now the songs don’t sound that similar anymore.

  1. Very neat and done review. I personally didn’t like Victimized or the beginning of Until it Breaks, and here’s the reason.

    I wasn’t really ever fond with Victimized, even though it’s very much bringing back Hybrid Theory. while it was good, I think it wasn’t very catchy and “flaming” as much as Hybrid Theory’s songs; Mike’s raps were good, but Chester’s lines passed it down on the list to me. My only excuse to not hate it, is that it’s just an interlude to the other songs.

    Until it Breaks, that’s a song very similar to “When They Come for Me” from A Thousand Suns. Personally I didn’t like Mike’s lyrics or the over-heavy beat in the beginning, but once I heard Chester and finally Brad come in, I gave Linkin Park the thumbs-up on this song. They corrected the mistakes they made in When They Come for Me, threw in a bit of Minutes to Midnight and Hybrid Theory too.

    My favorites would have to be Roads Untraveled and Castle of Glass, and at the favorite spot was Lost in the Echo. They all have their ups, Mike’s raps, Mike’s soft, calm voice, Chester’s angelic voice that simply completes it all; Electronic, smooth transitions from Mr. Hahn and beats from Rob on the drums. You can also hear some guitar in the album, which is good; I don’t want Linkin Park going completely electronic.

    They corrected the mash of mistakes from Minutes to Midnight, refined Hybrid Theory to a new level, and even brought some of Meteora in. Finally, they took A thousand suns, and set that as the framework for this album.

    I loved the album whole. It’s amazing. Chester’s cool voice, burning scream, Mike’s heavy rapping, his calm verses, and I love Brad’s verse also.

    Linkin Park definitely shut up the haters with this album. And I feel they’re gonna have more put on the table soon. Overall: 10/10 album.

  2. Thanks for the nice words. As I said in the review, this is truly their best album, and I really worship A Thousand Suns, so even if I expected the album to be good, I never expected it to exceed ATS.

  3. Admittedly it is 2 in the morning as I write this but listening to this for the first time, everything sounds kind of jumbled. Now thats probably the time more than anything but there you go.

    A lot of these songs seem far too eloctronic and radio like for me. I loved hybrid theory, meteora and to a lesser extent M2M because you could just go mental listening to them. I just can’t see myself doing that with this album.

    I still love linkin park, but their new stuff just isn’t doing it for me. I’m sorry to say it but so far, if it wasn’t for the fact this is a LP album, I would have spent the tenner or so it cost me on a different album. I hope further listenings of it can change my mind, I really do.

  4. This is the worst album they’ve released. I’m not sure how anybody sees it otherwise. Not a single song on this album is worth listening to.

    1. Ahem,
      I would like to kindly ask, sir, why this album is even remotely bad, let alone the worst they’ve released (Listen to Minutes to Midnight, you’ll see why).

      Sure, there are electronic songs in here. Plenty of them, really; some people love them, others absolutely loathe them.

      If you aren’t satisified with the majority of the songs, there’s a reason they made “Lies Greed Misery,” “Until it Breaks,” and “Victimized.” It gives a share of the cake to everyone: electronica, ballads, and of course part nu-metal for every Linkin Park fan to enjoy.

      Please, reconsider your comment looking back on Minutes to Midnight, which was a trainwreck in its own right.

  5. hipsters KEEP MENTIONING how some songs sound too “radio”.
    if you all have noticed, there’s like 4 songs in this album where the chorus isn’t predictable or doesn’t pop in when you expect it. these aren’t easy songs to sing along to by the time the second time the chorus drops in. and the messages too… SHEESH….there are surprises — and theyre good ones.
    if you’re hurting for more of chester’s infamous screaming, there are victimized and liesgreedmisery……….but that and mike’s heavy raps arent the only things defining their original sound (HT + M)

    what i applaud LP for in this album is GROWTH.
    there’s DEVELOPMENT and EXPERIMENTATION in ATS, but many may agree that LP veered off a bit too much off their path. if we didn’t get ATS, im sure therell be less appreciation for LT.
    I don’t think there was much growth in M. that was just a HybridTheory sequel…..and not that it was bad, but how many HT sequels can a fan tolerate?!
    MTM wasnt LP trying to get growth, but ending up with mistakes, as in a few of their songs were ughhhh. ATS was just plain trying to hard — but i applaud them for their recklessness.

    LT is my favorite album of theirs.

    1. Thank you for a thoughtful review, you help the internet one post at a time.

      As for the reply, I agree. I did like Hybrid Theory and Meteora; They both were pretty good (I preferred Meteora more, because it had songs that you could actually listen at loud volume without splitting your ears). However, Minutes to Midnight… it was great with some songs. Shadow of the Day, In Pieces, LOATR, and What I’ve Done definitely are some of my favorites and are on my iPod. It was disturbing though, seeing a mess like Given Up next to the beautiful LOATR, and leading into Bleed it Out, which wasn’t bad; Bleed it Out just didn’t belong next to LOATR.

      Enough about MTM though…

      A Thousand Suns was enjoyable. However, to listen to some of the songs to their fullest, you had to listen to the album as a whole; Not selectively. Some songs, such as Iridescent and The Catalyst, were seperable; Just not songs such as Jornada Del Muerto or The Radiance.

      I think what was hard for people to swallow, was the fact that they stuck to Hybrid Theory, imagining that if they stayed with HT-styled songs, LP would stay good.

      This is not the case; instead, people would be demanding LP to CHANGE. And then this fiasco of haters would be spun around. So yes, I love this album, and all of LP’s. Except MTM though… ugh.

      By the way, I am also the guest user Dimensionist who gave a comment on this review. I hadn’t made an account yet, so… yeah.

  6. This is something for your people on the block to
    Blackout and rock to
    Give you what you need
    Like “Papa who shot you?”
    Seperate the weak from the obsolete
    Too meek
    I creep hard on impostors
    And switch styles on the dime
    Quick-witted y’all
    Quit trippin’ I don’t have time for your crying……….:) it is like saying FUCK YOU to al haters
    but in the end haters gonna hate.LPfan4ever XD

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