Yo! I’m gonna be deadly honest: never was a Linkin Park fan, even further, I kind of consider them the (more or less) Rock version of New Kids On The Block, or any other prefabricated boy band. Now, Rick Florino of Artistdirect called it the band’s “best record and a landmark for rock as a whole”, which, we have to admit, set our expectations probably excessively high. And once again, it’s not the case. Don’t have to be a musicologist to figure it out, Linkin Park are not Faith No More, NIN, Ministry, Nirvana or name any other genre founder and envelope pusher, edge cutter band, but a smartly managed and marketed and generally pretty over-produced band. Don’t misunderstand me, the famous Rick Rubin and vocalist Mike Shinoda on their third collaboration of co-producing a Linkin Park album were done – again – an excellent job, but the sharp production and the bombastic sound can not cover the mediocrity and shapelessness beneath the surface. And once again, Linkin Park collected a million different sounds and musical approaches and blended them into their own spiced “thing”, but that still do not actually make it their own. Linkin Park might be the perfect prototype of a fully functional machine without its own soul which each time borrowing one. Imagine Mona Lisa (La Gioconda or La Joconde) without her mouth – and mysterious smile.
When I got halfway through, I was already absolutely bored. Living things? Rather…. born (again) dead. If their 2000’s debut album, “Hybrid Theory” was filled with actual songs and definitively it was from the category of “must listen” (perhaps “must have”), in the following years and through the following three albums, Linkin Park burned out everything and if they ever had any original ideas, it’s seems they have been eaten up everything already.
The new album – as whole – is absolutely chaotic and eclectic. From almost Death Metal like grindings merged into raw garage sound (“Victimized”) to boring ballads (“Roads Untraveled” ) and Hip Hop/Rap spoiled Alternative Rock anthem attempts, the record have no spine, have no consistence, no identity. For instance, songs like “Skin To Bone” could be placed on a Lady Gaga album or any other Pop diva’s album.
It’s like (at least) 24 songwriters had wrote 12 tracks for 12 different artists and all ended up on one band’s album, band which tried too make them sound as their own.
01 – Lost In The Echo
02 – In My Remains
03 – Burn It Down
04 – Lies Greed Misery
05 – I’ll Be Gone
06 – Castle Of Glass
07 – Victimized
08 – Roads Untraveled
09 – Skin To Bone
10 – Until It Breaks
11 – Tinfoil
12 – Powerless
“Lost In The Echo” is a Power-Pop track with unavoidable Dubstep contortions and a few Alternative Rock guitar riffs, the song have a good and pounding pulse, but somehow after the hurricane of the noises is gone, you are left with nothing. “In My Remains” could be part of any recent Coldplay release, have the same vibe and build-up as their anthems, only the sound is a little bit heavier and with a different balance between Rock and Electronic elements. “Burn It Down” opening with a simple and sick synth line, sick not as in the hip lingo, like dope, but sick like twisted or strange, unusual. It’s “nice”, but the song although it’s pretty simple and empty, the chorus is quite addictive, but the rapping of Mike Shinoda ruined everything in one second, it’s totally pointless and tasteless. Strangely, “Lies Greed Misery” is probably one of the best tracks of the album, it’s like a Pop-Punk anthem, but it works – reminded me of an excellent, but obviously under-rated band: Jaguar Love.
“I’ll Be Gone” supposed to be a Power-Rock ballad, the chorus is heavy and powerful, eventually addictive, but the song is – again – empty, expressionless. “Castle Of Glass” is build upon some more interesting samplers and electronic layers, it’s like a Celtic song twisted into Electronic Pop, very melodious, sneakingly sweet, lollipop for teenagers, food for mp3 players. I already mentioned “Victimized”, sounds like a live recording – with your telephone – at a gig, it’s an unfortunate combination of raw Garage Rock and Death Metal, not even a good joke. Love the percussion from the beginning of “Roads Untraveled”, even that piano theme is a nice one, but it’s still not enough – for me – and the song grow intro a boring radio-friendly ballad. As I said, “Skin To Bone” might be placed on a Lady Gaga album as well, is that kind of “weirdo” Power Pop possible hit single. Bizzare, but reminded me of two Turkish bands, both 1000 better then Linkin Park: maNga and Duman.
“Until It Breaks” it’s the second more interesting moment of the album. It’s an experimental Hip Hop/Rap track with lot of noises in it, but it’s make more sense then the fake and plastic taste like other tracks where they try to convince us that they are men and not boys, tuff Rock Stars or something.
After the nicely pulsing “Tinfoil” intermezzo, “Powerless” close the album with another ballad leaving dust and a gray taste behind…
But with two Grammy Awards in their pockets, selling over 50 million albums worldwide, and having behind them not only the Warner Bros, but an extensive media machinery, Linkin Park might even believe that they are at least half-Gods and one hell of a revolutionary band, but they are not. They are only some lucky, spoiled sons of some bitches selling fake, plastic products to the kids, they are criminals just like some drug dealers at the corner of the school. In any normal world it should be illegal.
So, there is definitively a plot against common sense…
Unfortunately there are a million plus one extremely creative and talented bands out there and nobody will ever even heard of them, and well, even I waste a few hours of my fucking life to write crap about a band which without massive media and marketing support definitively would be nothing… But I think that’s why God created Pirate Bay and file sharing sites and services…. 😆
… and something 101 times groovier, but less popular:
or definitively this if we’re looking for “landmarks for rock as a whole”:
…. and just as I said, there are 1,000,001 fabulous, innovative and under-rated bands.