2012 album from the best selling Alt-Rock band. From day one, Linkin Park built the band upon the premise of fusing all of their favorite styles of music-as disparate as they might be-into one signature sound. Fast-forward 12 years to Living Things and the same six players have not only developed new tools to make that philosophy a reality, but they're finally comfortable embracing-and coalescing-every aspect of their career. With each song, they flexed their expertise with both cutting-edge and classic gear, and they infused their vocals with an honest, thrilling enthusiasm; they picked apart their own ideas of what defines a song, and what defines Linkin Park. Living Things is a personal album, centered on human emotions and relationships implied by the title. It is informed by and built upon all previous Linkin Park albums, while still pushing the band's sound into new territory. It's spirited, energetic, daring and unafraid to hybridize the past, present and future. It's absolute proof to a radical theory six musicians have devoted their lives to testing.
Linkin Park got pretty moody on 2010's A Thousand Suns, settling into a sulky electronica groove that pretty much screamed "growing pains" to anybody who listened closely. On its 2012 sequel, Living Things, Linkin Park attempts to graft guitars back onto their newly mature musical outlook, and the reintroduction of visceral force certainly helps give this album a pulse lacking on A Thousand Suns. It's hardly a step back to the old angst-ridden rap-rockers of the turn of the millennium, however. Admirably, Linkin Park revels in a near-middle-aged angst, letting their songs address adult concerns and giving their productions contours and texture; the additional noise isn't an expression of fury, it's used to enhance the drama. Generally, the songs feel sharper on Living Things -- there is definition to their structure, some of the choruses catch hold without too much effort -- but this album remains one of sustained mood, not individual moments. And in that regard, Living Things handily trumps A Thousand Suns: it doesn't stay still, it peaks and ebbs, flowing steadily between brooding and explosions of repressed rage, a fitting soundtrack for aging rap-rockers who are comfortable in their skin but restless at heart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi