Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Linkin Park- RECHARGED" Album REVIEW

If you think "A Thousand Suns" was polarizing, wait 'till you hear "Recharged"...

NU METAL IS DYING, OR IT IS ALREADY  DEAD. BUT NOT LINKIN PARK. Through out the years Chester Bennington, Mike Shinoda and the crew has explored different types of music, experimented with different sounds, resulting to three records that has since been dimmed "different" from their previous works; "Minutes to Midnight" explored a more traditional sound of rock n' roll with a dash of hip-hop balanced with heavy and melodic songs you kinda didn't expect from the band, the band then went hard rock on "A Thousand Suns" but instead of using basic instruments the band decided to bombard the record with much more electronic sounds and much more aggressive and preachy lyrics resulting the creation of an electronic rock music adventure of our terrors and fears of Armageddon, then their latest effort "Living Things" which recipes included the sound of their previous records using the same utensils resulting an average, generic, half baked record you'd expect from the band if they didn't put much effort to it. This experimentation has been proven effective as the band and their music stayed relevant through out their career and manages to maintain a strong fan base. Truth be told, with "Reanimation" (a remix record of their debut masterpiece "Hybrid Theory") remixes are nothing new for the band, but "reinterpretations" are, whatever that means. As a filler for their upcoming 6th studio album, the band has released "Recharged", a remix record for their previous release Living Things. Both Reanimation and Recharged represented the modern sound of electronic music of it's time. Reanimation on one hand still retains it's identity as an alternative Hybrid Theory, in spite of all the electronic sound, the beefy influences of underground hip hop music, the record at least can still be considered "nu metal". But what about Recharged? is it still identical as a Linkin Park record?

The Review

The album kicks off with the lead single and the only original composition for the record "A Light That Never Comes", the result of a collaboration between the band and music producer Steve Aoki. Regarding the song, Mike Shinoda quoted "...right off the bat you get a taste of every thing, it's sounds like you but it sounds like us..." and the song does its job really well. This song represents what the band wants the record to sound like, an extravagant EDM adventure mixed with the modern Linkin Park sound. Unfortunately, the song isn't perfect. With the outrageous fusion of sounds electronic, rock and rap alike that is quite deafening. Nothing was ever ground breaking about this song, pretty much the same thing we've heard from both Steve Aoki and Linkin Park just deconstructed and pieced together to form just another song. Regardless of how generic the song sounds, the song is a sure party banger that could drive the crowd nuts. Expect this song to stay on their setlist for a period of time. 

The problem arises with the rest of the songs. Given the fact that Living Things isn't as momentous as Hybrid Theory, the songs could be either improved or degraded. Sadly most of them are degraded. Mike Shinoda's remixes of "Castle of Glass" and "Victimized" (under the name M. Shinoda) felt awkward as these are heavy and striking songs and you get the feeling Mike just wanted to show off his skills as a producer as he harassed them with good electronic dance beats resulting to a second-rate dance songs with their melodic powers from their original incarnations taken away from them. Mike Shinoda isn't the only one who has committed this crime as artist like KillSonik, Dirtyphonics, Rad Omen, Enferno, Toon Swoon and Dastik had their fair share of middling "reinterpretations" of the already middling songs of Linkin Park. The album also had two versions of both "I'll Be Gone" and "Until It Breaks", one is exceptionally good the other was completely unnecessary. But enough of the bad stuff, time to move on with the good material. Gladly, we get to have remixes that are as good as their original versions. Both Vice remix of "I'll Be Gone" with Pusha T and Money Mark's version of "Until It Breaks" gives you a taste of what this remix record should sound like; a group of musicians and artist a like doing their own rendition of the songs without taking away the identity of these songs that was given to us by Linkin Park. The album also closes with Rick Rubin's more conventional and stripped down mix of "A Light That Never Comes" which drifts apart from the electronic/dance singularity of the album.

Final Verdict

What should have been a record about Linkin Park gathering artist of the electronic/dance/hip-hop medium have their songs remixed under the band's supervision so that the personality of the songs stays intact inspite of the changes made. Instead, we got a record about different artist reinterpret Linkin Park's song into their own song without any boundaries having the bands sound stripped down to minimal samples resulting to a record about these artist killing off Living Things. This should have been Linkin Park feat. Steve Aoki, KillSonik, Dastik etc. not Steve Aoki, KillSonik, Dastik etc. featuring Linkin Park. Maybe "A Light That Never Comes" could have worked better as an EP, or a non-album single. 

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