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Alternative & Indie - Released June 20, 2012 | Warner Bros.

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Linkin Park got pretty moody on 2010's A Thousand Suns, settling into a sulky electronica groove that pretty much screamed "growing pains" to anybody who listened closely. On its 2012 sequel, Living Things, Linkin Park attempts to graft guitars back onto their newly mature musical outlook, and the reintroduction of visceral force certainly helps give this album a pulse lacking on A Thousand Suns. It's hardly a step back to the old angst-ridden rap-rockers of the turn of the millennium, however. Admirably, Linkin Park revels in a near-middle-aged angst, letting their songs address adult concerns and giving their productions contours and texture; the additional noise isn't an expression of fury, it's used to enhance the drama. Generally, the songs feel sharper on Living Things -- 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 in that regard, Living Things handily trumps A Thousand Suns: it doesn't stay still, it peaks and ebbs, flowing steadily between brooding and explosions of repressed rage, a fitting soundtrack for aging rap-rockers who are comfortable in their skin but restless at heart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2010 | Warner Bros.

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Continuing their slow crawl toward middle age, Linkin Park opt for moody over metallic on A Thousand Suns, their fifth album. A clear continuation of 2007’s Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns also trades aggression for contemplation, burying the guitars under washes of chilly synthesizers -- a sound suited for a rap-metal band that no longer plays metal but hasn’t shaken off the angst, choosing to channel inward instead of outward. So few rap-metal bands have chosen to embrace their age -- they fight against it, deepening their technical chops while recycling ideas -- that it’s easy to admire Linkin Park’s decision not to shy away from it, even if their mega-success gives them the luxury to pursue musical risks. The problem is, the subdued rhythms, riffs, and raps of A Thousand Suns wind up monochromatic, an impression not erased by the brief bridges between songs, sampled speeches, and easy segues, every element retaining moodiness without offering distinction. Brooding is a better vehicle for angst than rage for a group whose members are well into their thirties, but an album created on a grayscale is less than compelling for anybody lacking the patience to squint and discern the minute details. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 14, 2007 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 29, 2002 | Warner Bros.

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The remix album -- the time-honored tradition of buying time between records. Often, these are inconsequential affairs (Limp Bizkit's New Old Songs leaps to mind, for some reason), but if a band is smart, they can use this time-buying ploy to their advantage, redefining their sound somewhat, or at least reaching out for that elusive street credibility. The latter option is especially true for bands that have a big, big chart hit on their hands but little critical respect or reputation as a hip band. Which brings us to Linkin Park's Reanimation, a generous 20-track remix record of their debut Hybrid Theory that the band has vaguely alluded to as their art project. That means the group has left the hamfisted alt-metal of their debut behind, turning this record over to rappers, remixers, DJs, and assorted producers to give it a darkly hip, electronic edge. This may not be particularly pleasing to those who loved the angst-ridden rock theatrics of the debut, but it's a damn sight more interesting than that debut, helping Linkin Park distinguish themselves from the adolescently tortured rap-rock pack. The paradox is, of course, that the band sounds more original when filtered through the likes of Kutmasta Kurt, Alchemist, Pharoahe Monch, Aceyalone, and Jonathan Davis, among others, but any change is welcome, really (well, apart from the apparent decision to leave grammar and spelling behind; every song title is an "arty" interpretation of the original title -- "Paper Cut" is "Ppr:Kut," "Cure for the Itch" is "Kyur4 th Ich," etc. -- resulting in a silly mish-mash of letters and numerals). Some of this works quite well, some of it is kind of juvenile (really, does Motion Man need to repeat "Linkin Park -- remix" over and over again on his rap?), much of it is only slightly recognizable from the original, it's too long, and compared to contemporary arty rock (Radiohead, Flaming Lips, Clinic, Trail of Dead, System of a Down, Interpol, etc.), it really isn't that arty. But, compared to what they've done before, and compared to their peers, Reanimation is arty and a welcome step in the right direction. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2003 | Warner Bros.

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Perhaps if the cut-'n'-paste remix record Reanimation hadn't appeared as a stopgap measure in the summer of 2002, Linkin Park's second record, Meteora, would merely have been seen as a continuation of their 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, instead of a retreat to familiar ground. Then again, Reanimation wasn't much more than a way to buy time (along with maybe a little credibility), so it's unfair to say that its dabbling in electronica and hip-hop truly pointed toward a new direction for the group, but it did provide a more interesting listening experience than Meteora, which is nothing more and nothing less than a Hybrid Theory part two. Which isn't to say that Linkin Park didn't put any effort into the record, since it does demonstrate that the group does stand apart from the pack by having the foresight to smash all nu-metal trademarks -- buzzing guitars, lumbering rhythms, angsty screaming, buried scratching, rapped verses -- into one accessible sound which suggests hooks instead of offering them. More importantly, the group has discipline and editing skills, keeping this record at a tight 36 minutes and 41 seconds, a move that makes it considerably more listenable than its peers and, by extension, more powerful, since they know where to focus their energy, something that many nu-metal bands simply do not. (It must be said that there will surely be consumers out there that will question paying a $19.99 retail for a 36-minute-and-41-second record, though some may prefer getting a tight, listenable record at that price instead of a meandering 70-minute mess.) So, it must be said that Meteora does deliver on the most basic level -- it gives the fans what they want, and it does so with energy and without fuss. It's also without surprises, either, which again gives the album a static feeling -- suggesting not a holding pattern for the band, but rather the limits of their chosen genre, which remains so stylistically rigid and formulaic that even with a band who follows the blueprint well, like Linkin Park, it winds up sounding a little samey and insular. Since this is only their second go-round, this is hardly a fatal flaw, but the similarity of Meteora to Hybrid Theory does not only raise the question of where do they go from here, but whether there is a place for them to go at all. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 24, 2000 | Warner Bros.

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Linkin Park originally called itself Hybrid Theory, a name they retained for the title of their debut album. The "hybrid" in question is the overly familiar one of rap and metal, to which the group has little new to add. The guitars and drums lock into standard thrash patterns, over which singer Chester Bennington and rapper Mike Shinoda alternate in furious expressions of rage and frustration. "One Step Closer," the track released to radio in advance of the album's release, is a typical effort, with lyrics like "Everything you say to me/Takes me one step closer to the edge/And I'm about to break." It might be easier to believe in all this angst if the group members didn't take such pains to thank their families in the lengthy acknowledgments in the booklet, followed by an extensive list of product endorsements. But even without the fine print to undermine its sincerity, Linkin Park sounds like a Johnny-come-lately to an already overdone musical style. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 20, 2012 | Warner Bros.

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Dance - Released October 25, 2013 | Warner Bros.

Like the first Linkin Park remix album -- Reanimation, which arrived over a decade prior -- Recharged offers reworked versions of an entire LP, this time 2012's Living Things. Ten years is a long time and in 2013, it is perfectly acceptable for a hard rock band to give themselves over entirely to electronic dance music -- or, more accurately, EDM, and, in particular, its most visible variation, dubstep (in 2011, Korn did a whole new album of dubstep, in fact). There are a couple of big names here -- Pusha T shows up on "I'll Be Gone," Dirtyphonics remixes "Lies Greed Misery," Money Mark comes in for "Until It Breaks" -- but a lot of this is kept in-house, with Mike Shinoda doing a few remixes and LP producer Rick Rubin "rebooting" "A Light That Never Comes." EDM and Linkin Park isn't necessarily an awkward fit -- especially for Living Things, which often showcased their elastic, atmospheric side -- but it's also true that this is the kind of album that appeals primarily to hardcore fans looking for a new spin on the familiar; in other words, this is unlikely to convert EDM listeners to the pleasures of Linkin Park. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2003 | Warner Bros.

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Perhaps if the cut-'n'-paste remix record Reanimation hadn't appeared as a stopgap measure in the summer of 2002, Linkin Park's second record, Meteora, would merely have been seen as a continuation of their 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, instead of a retreat to familiar ground. Then again, Reanimation wasn't much more than a way to buy time (along with maybe a little credibility), so it's unfair to say that its dabbling in electronica and hip-hop truly pointed toward a new direction for the group, but it did provide a more interesting listening experience than Meteora, which is nothing more and nothing less than a Hybrid Theory part two. Which isn't to say that Linkin Park didn't put any effort into the record, since it does demonstrate that the group does stand apart from the pack by having the foresight to smash all nu-metal trademarks -- buzzing guitars, lumbering rhythms, angsty screaming, buried scratching, rapped verses -- into one accessible sound which suggests hooks instead of offering them. More importantly, the group has discipline and editing skills, keeping this record at a tight 36 minutes and 41 seconds, a move that makes it considerably more listenable than its peers and, by extension, more powerful, since they know where to focus their energy, something that many nu-metal bands simply do not. (It must be said that there will surely be consumers out there that will question paying a $19.99 retail for a 36-minute-and-41-second record, though some may prefer getting a tight, listenable record at that price instead of a meandering 70-minute mess.) So, it must be said that Meteora does deliver on the most basic level -- it gives the fans what they want, and it does so with energy and without fuss. It's also without surprises, either, which again gives the album a static feeling -- suggesting not a holding pattern for the band, but rather the limits of their chosen genre, which remains so stylistically rigid and formulaic that even with a band who follows the blueprint well, like Linkin Park, it winds up sounding a little samey and insular. Since this is only their second go-round, this is hardly a fatal flaw, but the similarity of Meteora to Hybrid Theory does not only raise the question of where do they go from here, but whether there is a place for them to go at all. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Dance - Released September 16, 2013 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2012 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 5, 2007 | Warner Bros.

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2003 | Warner Bros.

£16.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 24, 2000 | Warner Bros.

£13.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 24, 2000 | Warner Bros.

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Linkin Park in the magazine