Linkin Park’s new release disappoints, again

Linkin Park may have lost their way, but they appear to be trying to get back on track with their newest album, “Living Things.” Trying, but not necessarily succeeding.

“A Thousand Suns” is the album that Linkin Park fans try to forget about; it’s the album where the band sold its soul and gritty edge for overly-synthesized music and mellow vocals that created a massive disconnect with fans who, after the natural and intense sound of “Minutes to Midnight,” were happily anticipating another raw and emotionally charged release.

And, while “Living Things” sticks to heavy synthetics as far as music goes, the album returns to the rapping/singing/shouting combination of vocals that first drew fans in.

While this is sure to please some, Linkin Park still has a long way to go before they’ve redeemed themselves. As hard as “Living Things” is compared to “A Thousand Suns,” it’s still mellow and (dare it be) mainstream. That’s right, mainstream. The lyrics are whiny instead of angry, and the vocals are held back, half as powerful as they could be; it’s almost as if Chester Bennington and crew don’t really believe in what they’re doing here.

Probably the best mix of old Linkin Park and their new electronic-esque sound is the album’s first single, “Burn It Down,” which feels similar to “Numb” from “Meteora.” The vocals are as genuine and emotionally charged as fans could hope for, but the music itself is more upbeat and almost – almost – club-like. Somehow, the combination works well. Unfortunately, this is the only really well-conceived track on the album. It lures fans in for a closer look, but then, despite returning to what we love about them in leaps and bounds, they fall just short enough to make the album dissatisfying.

Linkin Park, here is your challenge: “Nobody’s Listening” to this new music, so you should be “Breaking the Habit” of making yourselves into a band that you’re not. We haven’t “Given Up” on you, because “The Little Things Give You Away” and we know you’re trying to get back to your musical roots. Just take “One Step Closer,” because “In The End,” we’re still “With You.”

Trust your fans boys, and don’t get “Lost in the Echo” of your former glory.

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To the rest of you, steer clear of this album unless you want to hear a relatively sad attempt at redemption by a once great band.