"Linkin Park can be as lyrically or sonically adventurous as we want," the band's Mike Shinoda said in these pages last year, after their fourth album A Thousand Suns marked an unlikely metamorphosis from blockbusting nu metal to left-field, electronic, political pop. Such motivations explain the follow-up's opener, Lost in the Echo, which crams Europop, hip-hop and a big screaming chorus into just over three minutes. However, Living Things feels more like consolidation than advancement, perhaps in an attempt to pacify fans alienated by the new direction, while keeping new converts interested, too. Thus, the scream-heavy, anguished guitar anthems of their first two albums nestle alongside Victimised's more brutal rap-metal, dewy electro and Kasabian-like stomp. Living Things is more personal than A Thousand Suns, with underlying themes of recovery from traumatic experiences. The exception, Burn It Down, delivers an antiwar sentiment via Depeche Mode-y electro-bounce, while the similarly standout Roads Untraveled is an eerie confessional ballad. Living Things would have benefited from more of such adventure, but they still sound like a band enjoying an unexpected second life.
Linkin Park: Living Things – review
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author