Firstly, Happy Canada Day to all fellow canucks!
Now, onto the album. I waited a good deal of time to review this album, just so I could digest and process it. I have been hasty in the past when assigning my reviews to things, such as the classic example of A Thousand Suns. I hated A Thousand Suns when I first listened to it on the bus, coming home from college in 2010. I was thinking the whole time, “this isn’t Linkin Park!” Even Minutes to Midnight, which had a decidedly softer tone, still had their trademark sounds. But I couldn’t put it down. And now I consider it to be the best album I’ve ever heard. A Thousand Suns, among other things, taught me the lesson of patience. Sometimes you need a shift in perspective.
The Hunting Party came out on June 17, and I’ve been listening to it in pieces ever since. It’s very much a revival of their nu-metal sounds, just with the electronic elements stripped away and buried in the background. If this album had come out after Meteora, it would have felt like a natural evolution. Unfortunately, Linkin Park has been on a strange journey these past few years. After A Thousand Suns, considered by many to be their greatest work, they then squandered that good will with Living Things, which is, by all accounts, their worst album. Oddly, Mike Shinoda’s scalding remarks on the state of rock music that he hoped this album would combat were represented in Living Things itself. I can’t discern whether or not that is a sign of self-reflection, or pure ignorance. Or maybe both.
Anyways, here’s a track by track review of the album.
There’s an interesting discussion going on on the Linkin Park Association forums, specifically concerning the revealing of LP’s new album title and art. After what can only be described as a pop-infused electronic-rock album that was Living Things, Linkin Park has apparently claimed that the very type of music they were known for making for the better part of three years is now not the kind of music they want to hear. Which, as an artistic statement, I can respect. I love Linkin Park for a lot of reasons, most of them being pretty much a cookie-cutter explanation of once being an angsty teenager, and finding their music to be of the same mentality. But then I grew up (at least a little bit!) and they, too, changed their music, as they matured as artists. Which led to Minutes to Midnight, which is a bit of a misnomer, since the album had basically nothing to do with the doomsday clock. But I digress.
In 2010 they dropped what I consider to be the best album I’ve ever heard. 4 years later, it’s still my favourite album. A Thousand Suns, their only real concept album to date, was a stark achievement for them. I could probably write a whole post about that album, but smarter and more musically inclined folk already have, so I’ll skip it. It was incredibly divisive, however, which is a quality I find inspiring in a piece of art, since it essentially shows which “fans” are willing to experiment and broaden their tastes, and which really like a certain kind of music and want to stick with it. Nothing wrong with either approach, but I prefer the former, myself. After that, LP dropped what I consider to be their worst album to date, Living Things. I personally felt that Living Things was too pop-ish, too designed for the radio, and lacked the creative spark that was present on all of their previous albums. I still like it, of course, and both the official remix album, Recharged, and the fan remix, Reliving Things, were great listens.
Which leads to now, and their new album which drops on June 17th, called The Hunting Party. Linkin Park has promised a harsher, more aggressive, more “rock” album, as opposed to their decidedly “electronic” previous records. They dropped the album art, which looks like this:
Less than 24 hours until my favourite new show concludes.
I could probably write an essay (or five) about how layered, symbolically, and thematically brilliant True Detective is, but I don’t have to. The show speaks for itself. If anything, Nic Pizzolatto has catapulted himself into my favourite authors list, alongside Mark Z. Danielewski, Grant Morrison, Dan Simmons, and James S.A. Corey.
Now the wait for the Blu-Ray begins.
[Note: This post contains spoilers regarding basically everything about “Batman: Arkham Origins.”]
If I could express my thoughts and feelings on “Batman: Arkham Origins” in one sentence, it would be that “Arkham Origins” is a game of false advertising and empty promises. Quite literally nothing the developers, WB Games Montreal, said about the game was accurate or factual, leading many people, myself included, to buying a very different game than what was advertised. Everything from the gameplay, to the story, to the multiplayer, was misrepresented in some way, either erroneously or on purpose, to create the idea of a product that simply does not exist. And while I certainly believe in the concept of not giving the audience what they expect, this game is akin to paying to see “The Dark Knight” in theatres and instead being shown “Batman Returns.”
To say that I was excited for “Arkham Origins” was an understatement. Despite the bad press of WB Games Montreal essentially creating their own spin on Rocksteady’s fantastic Arkham franchise, and the fact that a single player experience was going to have multiplayer jammed in, I remained hopeful. WB Games Montreal assured us that yes, we are getting slammed for not being Rocksteady, but we’ll earn your trust. I wanted it to be good. And while I’ll cover my disappointment in the following paragraphs, I want to speak to WB Games Montreal directly: you may have created a competent product, but it is a soulless husk of a great franchise. You robbed it of everything that made it great in favour of your own suspect idea of art. You have lost my trust irrevocably.