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Toonari Post continues an in-depth review of Linkin Park’s new album ‘Living Things’, going into the less fortunate tracks on the otherwise great album. While these last few tracks are good, they do not match the expectation. On the other hand, the second half features one of the best songs on the entire album and Linkin Park lead guitarist Brad Delson sings for the first time on this studio album so fans definitely have something to look forward to.
While blessedly short, “Victimized” is an odd one out since Bennington screams six lines of the song, two of which are in the chorus. The rest of the song, if you can call it that, is rapped by Shinoda. With a title like “Victimized” the most straight forward interpretation is the subordinate rising up against the leader. This song made very little sense in its arrangement on the album and seems like track filling. A sad mark against an otherwise great album.
“Roads Untraveled” may have ended up like a slow version of “New Divide” but is instead a deep and meaningful version of “In The End.” While both songs are good in their own right, “Roads Untraveled” has its own expression of hope while maintaining its sad, melancholy tinged vibe.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about “Skin to Bone” is rapper Mike Shinoda’s vocal singing. In fine form, the rapper sings well with Bennington in a deeper vocal range that is seldom seen from Shinoda. A song with lyrics as dark in emotional concept as they are in visual imagery, “Skin to Bone” is hair raising where “Roads Untraveled” is enlightening. “Skin to Bone” celebrates the ending of a relationship, treading the edge of gleeful satisfaction.
“Until it breaks” is a song that requires patience since the rap style in the first minute is hard hitting like on “Victimized.” After this unfortunate rap inclusion though, the dichotomy of Chester Bennington and Brad Delson is a welcome reprieve. This happens often throughout the song in a battle of sorts between the three vocalists, with rap vocals winning out a majority of the time. Feeling disjointed, this song joins “Victimized” as an odd addition for this album. It is not a bad song, but is fails to carry the Linkin Park sentiment to full capacity, seeming partly good and partly misplaced. This is the first time Delson sings on a studio recording.
“Tinfoil” is one minute and 12 seconds of instrumentation that sounds like old school Linkin Park. It is unfortunate that this is just an instrumental song instead of a full-fledged vocal track but it does serve as a good lead into “Powerless” despite looking like a track filler.
“Powerless” is the wrath of disappointment embodied in a song. Sounding as ripped out of early Linkin Park albums with its excellent piano work and electro sounds, this song features in the new movie ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’. The music video is filled with scenes from the movie and accentuates the sense that momentary powerlessness does not mean you should live in fear forever. It could be about addiction but is definitely about struggle, where the observer powerless to help the situation.
The pacing of the beats in concert with the vocals on “Powerless” will be familiar to ‘Hydrid Theory’ alumni with the drum, bass, guitar and piano bringing back memories from days long past. This is the song that “What I’ve done” and “New Divide” from the previous albums should have become. It is the quality of emotional connection in this song that Linkin Park should strive for continuously. Bennington’s vocal holds several notes in every verse that stretches to emphasize the raw depth of inability to change the situation.
Overall, this is a very solid effort from Linkin Park. What the album lacks in quantity of album length and three very odd song choices, it makes up for in sheer quality of emotional connection and lyrical excellence. The majority of the songs on this album reflect many real life relationships. Combined with the singing from three vocalists on this album and fantastic musical instrumentation, Linkin Park has found a way to perfectly mesh together their recent mainstream melodies and original rap-rock vibe from their ‘Hybrid Theory’ album. Inspiring yet another generation of listeners across multiple genres, Linkin Park has managed to recreate itself yet again to hopefully provide another decade of great music.
Rating: 4.5/5 for a rocking good time with strong anthems and ballads that emotionally connect on a meaningful level, despite a few odd song choices being included.