Two minutes after a job interview email confirmation, one came through to get a sneak peek of Linkin Park’s new album LIVING THINGS. It’s safe to say I quickly rearranged the interview date so I could hear what was in store when the album officially drops on June 26th.
If sitting in NRG Studios where all but Minutes to Midnight were recorded wasn’t intimidation enough, having Mike Shinoda be the perfect host was. It felt almost like Vh1 Storytellers as he went in about outselling Britney Spears, how he got into music and being good at math jokingly. But we weren’t there for a meet & greet, we were there for the love of music.
Only half a dozen were shared with eight people in the room the music was created in. “LOST IN THE ECHO” and “IN MY REMAINS” both had incredible build ups that lead the listener to an explosion of a relay of lyrics that seemed to showcase opposing ideas. One declared “I won’t back up. I won’t back down” while the other succumbed to “wash away the worst of me.”
Next came the single “BURN IT DOWN” and my nominees for future singles, “LIES GREED MISERY” and “UNTIL IT BREAKS.” Everyone was tapping along to the single as it was familiar, but it was the other two I wanted to be played maybe one or two times more.
“LIES GREED MISERY” started off with an indie rock vibe but then as the hip hop sound LP’s synonymous for hit, they hit hard. Mike said earlier that they never wanted to fall into the niche market critics put their first two albums in, but I felt this track was a progressive look back at where they started and where they are now. Where the pissed motif in their earlier work was like an out of control teen, the anger displayed in “LIES GREED MISERY” is a mad adult who channels their anger into art.
As “UNTIL IT BREAKS” started, I thought how fitting we’re remembering 20 years since the LA Riots this week. This song reminded me of a time where rap was about something and not so called “bling bling.” The construction of the song made it sound as if it were escaping from a police radio at times. The 90’s feel is definitely something to highlight and celebrate on this portion of LIVING THINGS. Let’s hope more of that’s on the rest of the record.
Much of the record was expected and then “CASTLE OF GLASS” ended our session. Looking over my scribbled text, I can make out “Americana” and “Bayou.” Think of it as what you love about LP and throw in a pinch of folk. With Chester’s horror movie past, we might hear this one in a spooky scene soon. As it played I could imagine youths terrified and running to the pace of the song as “…take me down to the river bend” filtered through their doom; it gave off an eerie feel.
That’s only half of LIVING THINGS and I’ll be waiting anxiously to hear what the other half consists of when it makes its debut June 26th. And it seems like every time Linkin Park does an album try embark on a tour that delights the masses and well duh, they’ll be doing that on this year’s installment of The Honda Civic Tour with…Incubus! Of that’s not middle schooler from 2001’s dream, I’m clueless as to what is.