When Linkin Park began the process of making LIVING THINGS, they weren’t sure where the journey would take them … after all, the last time they headed down this path — on 2010’s A Thousand Suns — their voyage ended up in decidedly dystopian territory: It was, for all intents and purposes, an album that sounded like a sonic apocalypse, and dealt with similarly dark themes.
But to be honest, that didn’t dissuade them. Because, as they’ve discovered over their 15-year career, creative uncertainty is practically par for the course. It truly seems that Linkin Park don’t know what kind of album they’re making until it’s done. And even then, sometimes they’re still not sure.
“When we’re writing a record, there’s a misconception [that] maybe [we’re] thinking of something, and planning a goal, trying to imagine a song and then making a song,” Mike Shinoda told MTV News during “MTV First: Linkin Park.” “That’s not how we work. We basically sit down with instruments and try to pull it down out of the air. You go into it without thinking, and then you see what comes out. And in the process of making the last record, a lot of what was popping out was about nuclear war, stuff like that. I think, having gotten that out of our system, this record, when we sat down to write songs, it was always personal, and it kept happening.”
And while most of the advance press about LIVING THINGS (in stores Tuesday) seemed to focus on LP ditching the political for the personal, that may not actually be the case. Because Linkin Park keep coming back to the idea of uncertainty … to them, the songs on their new album are meant to be taken however their fans choose to take them. Sure, they may be drawing from the personal, but they’re meant for the masses. Pure and simple. And though they’ve changed plenty over the years, that aspect of their music remains steadfastly, immutably unaltered.
“You can look at a song like ’CASTLE OF GLASS,’ which for me, has one of the most interesting opposing points of view,” Chester Bennington said. “When Mike was talking about the lyrics, at one point he had said, ’You know, it’s kind of like finding yourself as this broken part of this big machine, and feeling like you’re not part of that, or trying to find your place in the bigger scheme of things.’ And that can mean a solider coming home from war, and trying to fit back into society, or a person getting out of prison, or whatever.
“And here I am, envisioning this big, beautiful glass castle on a hill, and, like, unicorns. I’m thinking like ’Yeah, if you zoom in, I’m this little broken part of this castle that no one knows about, and I may seem like flawed and not important, but when you back up and look at the big picture, you’re part of this really beautiful thing that keeps you together,” he continued. “And it was a really interesting twist; I think a lot of our lyrics can be taken from multiple perspectives, depending on what you want the song to be about … they can be felt on so many different levels.”
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