The first thing you notice when sampling the new Linkin Park album, Living Things, which was recently played for a lucky few at the group's favorite NRG studio in North Hollywood, is how little guitar there is on it and just how much electronic music it includes. Granted, Linkin Park still sounds like a rock band. Yet, with the help of Rick Rubin again, this band continues to experiment and further thwart predictability.
Perhaps the album's biggest surprise is "Until It Breaks," which begins with a dub-y, reggae beat, and then ends with a choir-y outro. "Castle Of Glass" rolls to a shuffle groove, and includes lyrical lines like, "I'm only a crack in this castle of glass." "Lies Greed Misery" draws upon the act's deep hip hop roots, while "In My Remains" is big, semi-orchestral ballad. "Lost In The Echo" appears to concern a communication breakdown, especially when the band sings, "Each word gets lost in the echo."
Almost as good as it was to hear the new music, was the opportunity to casually chat with rapper/songwriter/keyboardist Mike Shinoda. Dressed in a buttoned plaid shirt, Shinoda was relaxed among press representatives, yet fully enthusiastic about sharing Linkin Park's music.
The album is set to be released June 26. It will be fascinating to see how fans react to this genre-stretching new sonic exercise. It may not be what you expect from Linkin Park, yet when you listen to it, you realize the one band, and one band alone, could have created it.