Living Things (Linkin Park album)

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Living Things
Studio album by Linkin Park
Released June 20, 2012
Recorded 2011–2012 at
NRG Recording Studios
(North Hollywood, California)
Genre Alternative rock, electronic rock, rap rock
Length 36:59
Label Warner Bros., Machine Shop
Producer Rick Rubin, Mike Shinoda
Linkin Park studio album chronology
A Thousand Suns
(2010)
Living Things
(2012)
The Hunting Party
(2014)
Vinyl and Australian Tour Edition
Singles from Living Things
  1. "Burn It Down"
    Released: April 16, 2012
  2. "Lost in the Echo"
    Released: October 19, 2012
  3. "Castle of Glass"
    Released: February 1, 2013

Living Things is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Linkin Park. It was released under Warner Bros. Records and Machine Shop Recordings on June 20, 2012, in Japan, and throughout the rest of the world during the following week. Production was handled by vocalist Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin, who both co-produced the band's previous two studio albums Minutes to Midnight (2007) and A Thousand Suns (2010).

The band states that Living Things combines elements from their previous four studio albums to create a new sound. They stated they finally felt they were in "familiar territory" and "comfortable in [their] own skin" after years of experimentation that resulted in their two previous studio albums, Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns.[1][2][3] Living Things was chosen as the album's title because of the numerous personal topics on the album.[4] It is the first album since Meteora to not have a Parental Advisory label.

The lead single for the album, "Burn It Down", was sent to radio and released to digital music retailers on April 16, 2012. Living Things debuted at number one on Billboard 200 with sales of 223,000 copies in the United States in its opening week. The album has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide as of December 2013.

Background and recording[edit]

In June 2011, lead singer Chester Bennington revealed to Kerrang! that Linkin Park had begun working on new material for their fifth album. He explained, "We've been working on a new record for the past two months. The music is great and we're well ahead of where we're expecting to be. There aren't a whole lot of noises going on, but there are a lot of good songs."[5]

The band's co-lead vocalist and rapper Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin served as producers for the album. "Typically we'll have a once-a-week meeting to go listen to the songs that they're coming up with and talk about them. For so early in the project, they are much further along than they have been on the last two albums we did. On A Thousand Suns there were still a lot of irons in the fire. We knew, 'OK, we can't do this forever. Let's leave this batch and we'll come back and address it when we start up again'", Rubin said.[6] Bennington explained that Rubin "gives us spaces to just be ourselves and to work on our own...He gives us a clear and concise description of what he likes...He would like us to push ourselves into a more fresh take on that particular sound."[7] He also stated that Shinoda guides the band through the process of each song, and called the team-up of Shinoda and Rubin "our golden ticket."[7]

In July 2011, Bennington told Rolling Stone that Linkin Park aims to produce a new album every eighteen months, and that he would be shocked if a new album did not come out in 2012. The band continues to record and produce new material even while touring. Bennington commented on Linkin Park's schedule, stating, "Touring for two years is excruciating. When we would tour for two years even the most resilient person in the band, at the end of that, was fucking miserable."[8] He further elaborated on their ideas in an interview with MTV saying, "We do have a really great head start. We've got some great music, some good ideas. The creativity has continued to flow for us for the last few years, consistently."[9] He later revealed in another interview in September 2011 that the band was still in the beginning phases of the next album, saying "We just kind of began. We like to keep the creative juices flowing, so we try to keep that going all the time...we like the direction that we're going in."[10] Shinoda told Complex that they spent a year in making the album,[11] as well as elaborating on the album's sound, saying that "It doesn't lose any of the creativity of the newer stuff and it brings in the energy of the older stuff. It's kind of a comprehensive sound. I feel like we've been able to take all the stuff we've learned on the way and put it all together in each song and still keep it fresh and forward-thinking."[11] Shinoda told HitFix that the process of the album "felt like a drug trip...we were looking to redefine everything."[12]

Shinoda spoke to Co.Create about the album's art, saying that it will "blow [the fans] away...the average person is not going to be able to look at it and go, I understand that that's completely new, like not just the image but the way they made the image is totally new. So there's going to be that."[13] The band underwent 360 degree body scans for numerous lyric videos and artwork for the album.[14] On April 9, 2012, the band released a teaser video for the album on Tumblr.[15][16] The album's art was released on April 16, 2012, along with the album's first single, "Burn It Down".[17]

Composition[edit]

In an interview featured in the March 21, 2012 issue of Kerrang! magazine, Bennington stated that the band has returned to more 'familiar' territory on their new record, saying "with this [new] album, we've incorporated a lot of guitar work with big choruses and the heavier electronic stuff to give it that really big wall of sound feeling without getting too metal. This will be more familiar to people than A Thousand Suns was, where we were like 'Fuck it, we're just going to go bonkers." Bennington also said that the new album's lyrics would be personal and avoid being political, adding "We've been writing a lot about relationships."[2][18] Bennington and Shinoda echoed similar statements during an interview with Spin, with the former commenting that "We now know we have the skills and the tools to take those ideas and make them into what we're actually looking for, as opposed to getting into it and discovering that it just sounds really nü-metal. That's always going to be gross to us, but we can take elements of that and reinvent the vibe, make it new and fresh."[1] The two previewed five songs from the album, as well as announced that they had collaborated with Canadian musician Owen Pallett.[1] The vocalists also stated that they have adopted numerous influences and topics for the album, particularly about people.[1]

Bennington told Live 105 that the band is "embracing everything that [they] have done in the past," taking the "best pieces" of their previous four albums and "smash[ing] them together into this new record."[7] Shinoda explained in an interview with NME that the album would not return to their nu metal sound, however they assured that the record "gets back to our roots and it's captured a feeling that we haven't gone after in many years."[19] He also spoke similar statements to Bennington about combining elements of all four albums, saying, "We've learned so much from all the albums we've done, so we've taken everything we've learned and mixed it all into one."[3] Shinoda stated that the album is more "rap-centric" compared to their previous two albums.[20] Shinoda told Musique Mag that the band wanted the album to be "more energetic [and] song-based", as opposed to their previous album, A Thousand Suns, which was more of a concept record.[21]

The band had numerous influences and inspirations for Living Things. Shinoda told Rolling Stone that "Skin to Bone" and "Roads Untraveled" contained folk music influenced by the works of Bob Dylan, as well as the inspirations of Dylan.[22] In the seventh track "Victimized", which Rolling Stone described as "the band's most aggressive track in years",[23] was influenced by punk rock bands such as Pennywise and Dirty Rotten Imbeciles.[21] Shinoda noted the minimal content of numerous punk rock songs attributed to the short length of "Victimized"; bassist Dave "Phoenix" Farrel noted that the song's working title, "Battle Axe", "which to me is..what that song is; it's just this big 'crack' and then you're out."[21] Like the band's first two albums, the penultimate track ("Tinfoil") is an instrumental.[24] Brad Delson, the band's guitarist, has vocals in the tenth track "Until It Breaks", which was Delson's idea.[21] The album explores the genres alternative rock, electronic rock and rap rock.[25][26]

Release and promotion[edit]

The band toured with Incubus and Mutemath on the 2012 Honda Civic Tour.[27] The band's concert at the Admiralspalast Theatre in Berlin, Germany was recorded and was shown in theaters on June 25, 2012 for one night only.[28] The band performed a private concert at the 2012 X Games in Los Angeles.[29] On July 23, 2012, Linkin Park announced they would be touring South Africa for the first time, performing in Johannesburg and Cape Town in November 2012.[30]

On March 28, 2012, Shinoda confirmed that the album's first single is "Burn It Down".[31] On April 11, 2012, it was confirmed that it would be sent for radio airplay and released to iTunes digital download on April 16, 2012.[17] Shinoda also confirmed they were filming a music video for the song,[32] with the band's turntablist Joe Hahn directing the video.[33] The band teamed up with the Lotus F1 team to create a musical racing iPad app titled Linkin Park GP, where players drive a Lotus E20 and interact with an environment that allows the player to create a remix of "Burn It Down", as well as zooming into individual sections of the song.[34] The music video for "Burn It Down" premiered on MTV on May 24, 2012.[35]

On April 15, 2012, Mike Shinoda posted a blog update confirming that the new album title is Living Things and that the album would be available for pre-order through their website, starting April 16.[36] Living Things was released on June 26, 2012.[37] Pre-orders for the album began in April 17, 2012; upon purchase, fans were subscribed to Living Things Remixed, remixed songs from the album.[38] In celebration of the release of Living Things, the band teamed up with music streaming website Spotify to release live compilations of each album era.[39][40]

On May 9, 2012, a worldwide interactive scavenger hunt commenced.[41] Shinoda proclaimed the near-end of the scavenger hunt in May 23, 2012, stating he would call BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe the next day to premiere a new song from Living Things, the end result of the hunt.[42] The song that premiered on BBC Radio 1 on May 24, 2012 was the album's fourth track, "Lies Greed Misery".[43]

On June 4, 2012, the official lyric video of "Lies Greed Misery" premiered.[44] On the same day, "Lies Greed Misery" was featured in a trailer for the video game Medal of Honor: Warfighter, that was revealed by Electronic Arts at E3 2012.[45][46] "Castle of Glass" was also confirmed to be featured in Medal of Honor: Warfighter.[47] "Powerless", the twelfth and closing track of the album, is featured in the closing credits to the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.[48] A performance music video of "Powerless" featuring scenes from the film was released on Yahoo!.[49] The music video was directed by Timur Bekmambetov, director of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.[50] The official lyric video for "Lost in the Echo" was released via Linkin Park's official Youtube page on June 29, 2012.[51] and the official music video was released on September 4, 2012.[52] On October 5, 2012, "Lost in the Echo" was released as the album's second single.[53] On October 10, 2012, Linkin Park released the music video for "Castle of Glass".[54] On October 31, 2012, "Powerless" was released as an iTunes-only single in Japan, although there has been neither an official statement about "Powerless" being a single nor any promotion around the release date.[55] "I'll Be Gone" was released to alternative radio as a promotional single on December 5, 2012,[56] while "Castle of Glass" was released as the album's third single on February 1, 2013[57] and impacted US radio on January 5, 2013.[58]

Reception[edit]

Commercial[edit]

Living Things debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 223,000 copies, beating out Maroon 5's Overexposed by 1,000 sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan,[59] and fell to number 5 on its second week on chart selling 64,000 copies.[60] The album has reached the top spot in seventeen countries becoming their best charting album so far and has been certified Gold in Australia for shipments of at least 35,000 copies,[61] and also attained Gold certification in Switzerland.[62] It also debuted at number one in UK Albums Chart, selling 41,000 copies beating out Maroon 5's album once again.[63] In Canada, the album also debuted at number one selling at least 20,000 copies. Living Things has sold over 636,000 units in the US as of June 2013.[64][65]

Critical[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 60/100[66]
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 2.5/5 stars[26]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[67]
The A.V. Club C[68]
Entertainment Weekly B[69]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[70]
Loudwire 4/5 stars[71]
NME 5/10[72]
The Observer 3/5 stars[73]
Popmatters 6/10[74]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[75]

Living Things received mixed reviews from music critics. According to aggregate review website Metacritic, it holds a score of 60 out of 100 based 15 collected reviews, indicating "mixed to average reviews."[66]

Chad Childers of Loudwire gave the album a 4 out of 5 stars, stating that "the album as a whole continues to expand their world-view writing like what listeners got with A Thousand Suns, but it also adds more of the anger that was prevalent in their earliest work, Hybrid Theory."[71] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album 3.5 out of 5 stars, declaring that "there is definition to their structure, some of the choruses catch hold without too much effort -- but this album remains one of sustained mood, not individual moments" and concludes that the album is "a fitting soundtrack for aging rap-rockers who are comfortable in their skin but restless at heart".[67] The Guardian gave it 3 out of 5 stars, stating that "Living Things is more personal than A Thousand Suns, with underlying themes of recovery from traumatic experiences. The exception, Burn It Down, delivers an antiwar sentiment via Depeche Mode-y electro-bounce, while the similarly standout Roads Untraveled is an eerie confessional ballad", and concluded that "Living Things would have benefited from more of such adventure, but they still sound like a band enjoying an unexpected second life".[70] Johan Wippsson of Melodic.net wrote that the album is "too little too pop-oriented and made for the charts than before. The synthesizers are a bit too intent to Coldplay mode, but assume that the band felt it was time to conquer the charts again."[76] Popmatters’ Jordan Blum gave the album 3 out of 5 stars, concluding that “Living Things is a very good entry that’s simply not as special as its precursor."[74] The Observer also gave Living Things 3 out of 5 stars in their review of the album, who comments on their refusal to play it safe and praises their boldness.[73]

Tim Grierson at About.com gave it a 2.5 out of 5 stars, saying that Living Things is "a straightforward collection that plays to their rap-rock strengths, and while it’s often musically engaging, these 12 songs don’t have enough cumulative impact. As a result, the record ends up being a diverting experience rather than an arresting one."[26] The A.V. Club gave the album a C, commenting that the band "can dial down (or turn back up) the heaviness all it wants, recruit the most Grammy-proven producers, and keep current with the latest electronic textures, but those moves can only take Linkin Park so far when its songs have all the emotional range of an MMA bout".[68] Another mixed review from NME gave the album 5 out of 10, stating that "...their foray into said genre here is restricted to the three minutes of ‘Castle of Glass’. The rest is… well, to be fair, they’ve obviously been listening to a bit of Skrillex, and thus the heavy guitar thud of yore has been replaced by a new, heavy electronic thud, but that aside it’s largely the usual semi-hilarious histrionica to which we’ve become accustomed." NME also stated that, in the sub-description of the review, the album is "A predictable earache".[72]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Linkin Park, all music composed by Linkin Park.

No. Title Length
1. "Lost in the Echo"   3:25
2. "In My Remains"   3:20
3. "Burn It Down"   3:50
4. "Lies Greed Misery"   2:27
5. "I'll Be Gone"   3:31
6. "Castle of Glass"   3:25
7. "Victimized"   1:46
8. "Roads Untraveled"   3:49
9. "Skin to Bone"   2:48
10. "Until It Breaks"   3:43
11. "Tinfoil" (Instrumental) 1:11
12. "Powerless"   3:44
Total length:
36:59

Personnel[edit]

Source: Allmusic[79] and Living Things booklet.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2012) Position
Australian Albums Chart[124] 49
Austrian Albums Chart[125] 21
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[126] 84
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[126] 44
Canadian Albums Chart[127] 44
Dutch Albums Chart[128] 73
Finnish Albums Chart[129] 40
German Albums Chart[130] 10
Hungarian Albums Chart[131] 62
Italian Albums Chart[132] 46
New Zealand Albums Chart[133] 29
Russian Albums Chart[101] 12
Swiss Albums Chart[134] 14
UK Albums Chart 92
US Billboard 200[135] 40
US Alternative Albums[136] 9
US Rock Albums[137] 9
US Hard Rock Albums[138] 2
US Digital Albums[138] 25
Chart (2013) Position
Swiss Albums Chart[139] 98

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions
US
[140]
US
Rock

[141]
US
Alt.

[142]
JAP
[143]
GER
[144]
CAN
[145]
UK
[146]
UK
Rock

[147]
AUS
[148]
NZL
[149]
AUT
[150]
BEL
(FL)

[151]
BEL
(WA)

[152]
DEN
[153]
FRA
[154]
ITA
[155]
IRL
[156]
NLD
[157]
POL
[158]
POR
[159]
SWI
[160]
2012 "Burn It Down" (Platinum) 30 1 1 7 2 33 27 1 41 13 10 56 20 37 47 12 43 59 1 7 12
"Lost in the Echo" 95 10 12 68 175 4 133 150
2013 "Castle of Glass" 32 16 10 17 2 68 166 20 8 17

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions
US
[140]
US
Rock

[141]
US
Alt.

[142]
JAP
[143]
GER
[144]
CAN
[145]
UK
[146]
UK
Rock

[147]
AUS
[148]
NZL
[149]
AUT
[150]
BEL
(FL)

[151]
BEL
(WA)

[152]
DEN
[153]
FRA
[154]
ITA
[155]
IRL
[156]
NLD
[157]
POL
[158]
POR
[159]
SWI
[160]
2012 "In My Remains" 83 10 151
"I'll Be Gone" 26
"Lies Greed Misery" 37
"Powerless" 40

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Japan[77] June 20, 2012 Warner Bros. CD WPCR-14496
Russia[161] June 21, 2012 CD 4690355004127
Ukraine CD
Belarus CD
Kazakhstan CD
Australia[162] June 22, 2012 CD, digital 9362495048
Austria[163] CD, digital 9362495048
Belgium[164] CD, digital 9362495048
Croatia CD, digital 9362495048
Germany[165] CD, digital 9362495048
Greece CD, digital 9362495048
India CD 9362495048
Ireland[166] CD, digital 9362495048
Italy[167] CD, digital 9362495048
Netherlands[168] CD, digital 9362495048
New Zealand[169] CD, digital 9362495048
Norway[170] CD, digital 9362495048
Singapore[171] CD 495048TS
Slovakia 9362495048
Switzerland[172] CD, digital 9362495048
Malaysia June 24, 2012 CD, digital 9362495048
Denmark[173] June 25, 2012 CD, digital 9362495048
France[174] CD, digital 9362495048
Poland[175] CD, digital 9362495048
Portugal[176] CD, digital 9362495048
United Kingdom[176] CD, digital 9362495007
Brazil[177] June 26, 2012 CD, digital
Canada[178] CD, digital 9362495048
Chile CD 9362495048
Mexico[179] CD, digital 93624950486
Turkey[180] CD, digital 9362495048
United States[37] CD, digital 9362495048
Argentina June 27, 2012 CD
Finland[181] CD, digital 9362495048
Israel[182] July 4, 2012 CD 9362495048

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