Best selling, chart topping alternative rock band Linkin Park’s Living Things has within 3 weeks since release hit No. #1 on Billboard Charts all around the world, already achieving Gold Certification in places like Australia and Japan where fans have held steadfast. This achievement comes barely 2 years after the multiple successes of A Thousand Suns (2010) that featured major hits like ‘ The Catalyst’ and ‘Iridescent’.
However, reviews of Living Things are mixed. While newer fans appreciate the more recent forays into other genres such as electronic rock and rap rock, long-standing fans from the days of Meteora (2003) have largely balked at the band’s risky ventures into fusing other genres with the traditional alternative rock style that defines the vintage.
Regardless, Linkin Park which has kept a consistent band line-up since 1998 has earned its place among the musical greats of the 21st Century. Years on after hit singles like ‘Numb’ and ‘What I’ve Done’, Linkin Park singles are still hitting charts in online stores such as iTunes. Moreover, their every album from 2000 to 2010 has hit US Platinum Certification as well as in many other music markets around the world.
But lately its shift in musical direction has shaken up the foundations of Linkin Park’s massive fan base around the world. The band’s recent shifts into electronic rock has been key in causing volatility in its fan base, especially when most of its fans have a strict preference for its unique and original take on alternative rock. Despite having several songs produced in the likeness of the traditional LP setup from its pre-2009 days featured in media blockbusters such as the Transformers trilogy and the video game Medal of Honour, many reviews have largely criticised Linkin Park for “not doing what they do best”.
It’s been 3 weeks since the release of Living Things album but, unlike the band’s previous near-instant successes, market reception this time around has not yet lifted it to the prestigious US Gold Certification. As such, online critics are starting to predict that Living Things may not live up to its commercial expectations. Perhaps the “totally new” style of rock has not been well received because the market wants Chester Bennington and co. to return to Meteora days. Fans from the Meteora Era would agree that Linkin Park has evolved into yet another “Hit-And-Run” band with “Hit-And-Run” songs, deviating quite drastically from the traditional LP brand of consistently pleasant rock music.
While Linkin Park has promised to release an album every 18 months, this commitment appears to have compromised the overall quality of its later albums, and its popularity in the music market all the more so. Maybe 18 months an album isn’t such a good idea after all.