I was one of the seemingly few people who stuck up for Linkin Park when they released their 3rd album in 2007, "Minutes To Midnight." I could admit that "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora" had been much better albums, but I was glad to see the band try new things; something they would have to do lest their fans become bored with a fading genre. However, in 2010 I completely rejected "A Thousand Suns," not because it was different (I wanted them to take some risks) but because it seemed like a mess. The songs didn't flow together, and a lot of moments just seemed like noise. After my expectations were gone, I eventually grew to appreciate several tracks from that album, in fact I'd say it was some of their smartest material yet. It was enough to make me bite for one more album, which brings us to "Living Things."
It's funny, back in 2009 the band released a song called "New Divide" for the Transformers sequel. At that time they were working on "A Thousand Suns" and they stressed several times that "New Divide" was not any kind of indication of how their upcoming album would sound. The reason that's funny to me is become I think it was a very big indication of how THIS album sounds. In fact the first single, "Burn It Down," is almost like the same song. The format of the song is pretty basic, but I think it has a strong chorus that people at concerts could sing along to. I would very much describe "Living Things" as the missing link between "Minutes To Midnight" and "A Thousand Suns." It's sort of a mix of everything they've done so far. So while it may not show Linkin Park evolving in any specific direction, it does offer a variety to keep things interesting. "Lost In The Echo" sets the tone for the album and isn't unlike what you would expect after hearing the first single, but it is catchy. "Lies Greed Misery" has some great rapping from Mike Shinoda and a wicked chorus from Chester Bennington. I love when these guys trade vocals back and forth rather than handling it solo. "Castle Of Glass" is likely to be a single, it's a melodic tune that isn't bad but I also didn't find it very memorable after my first 2 listens so far. "Victimized" is very short but it's fast and more raw than anything the band has done in many years. "Until It Breaks" is fun because the song makes several unexpected yet welcome changes. Overall, this is a strong album from LP, and I think fans stuck in the the "Hybrid Theory" days will like this one at least a tiny bit more than their last 2 albums. I denied this album a 5th star because there's still some filler material on here, but probably less than the last 2 albums had. Nice job, Linkin Park.