Where do Linkin Park stand right now? Who are they making music for in this ever changing modern world?
Do they still have their core ‘Nu-Metal’ fans? Are there people listening to Linkin Park now who weren’t listening when Hybrid Theory exploded worldwide into everyone’s ears twelve years ago?
Don’t ask me.
I do know there are still millions who adore them and on new record Living Things it sounds like they’ve been listening to a bit of Skrillex, as electronic grid beats have largely replaced the soaring guitar lines heard rife throughout 2007’s ‘Minutes to Midnight.’
As a result it sits much closer to 2010’s concept album ‘A Thousand Suns’ than anything else the band have produced to date. This is all fine, of course, because Skrillex is the coolest thing on the planet (for now) judging by what people are ‘sharing’ over that Facebook thing. But wait, there are also undertones of Europop, which is not cool at all. Not even in mainland Europe.
‘Lost in the Echo’ is hinged upon giddy electro-lines which draw from the aforementioned Skrillex and Shinoda’s rapped verses will be welcome to many fans, although others may think he’s old for those shenanigans these days. There is a powerful chorus, but it’s hard not to think Chester Bennington could belt it about a bit more convincingly.
Lead single ‘Burn it Down’ (below) needs no introduction and why it may not be a classic like ‘In the End’ or ‘Numb’ it’s catchy synth line will have the more musical individuals tapping it out on their keyboards nonetheless. ‘I’ll Be Gone’ is arguably the simplest song on the album in terms of structure, but take nothing away from the band for that. It has MASSIVE single potential.
It is quite easy to point the finger at Linkin Park and label them as a ‘novelty’, but you only need to look at their turn of the century nu-metal compatriots to realise they are far more than that. Limp Bizkit’s last effort ‘Gold Cobra’ was a horribly ignored affair, and well Korn they needed Skrillex’s assistance first hand to market an album at all.
While ‘Living Things’ is closer to ‘A Thousand Suns’ than any of the bands other work it is also more stripped back, and as result sounds far more cohesive than their 2010 effort, Tracks like ‘Castle of Glass’ and ‘Powerless’ are fine examples of what the band can achieve when they put their minds to it.
Maybe the biggest problem for Linkin Park is that having dipped their fingers in so many different musical pots to date we still really have no idea what they are supposed to sound like. But after Living Things maybe we should just let them get on with it.